Exercises to flatten your tummy

February 22, 2008 4:56:46 PM PST
Julie Ann McCarthy shows us some abdominal exercises that will help get your tummy flat and fantastic while improving your body's core strength!


The Abdominal Brace: Targets deep abdominal (Multifidi and Transversus abdominals) that help protect your back because they are attached to your spine. By contracting them when you are standing, sitting, driving or lifting you can really learn abdominal brace through all your activities of daily living.

  1. Find neutral spine
  2. Bring belly button to spine
  3. Tighten up your abdominals. Sometimes it helps to create a contraction by pretending that you are blowing out a candle with a quick strong breath.

The Super Man: Middle layer (Tranversus abdominals). These muscles are also attached to your spine also and what many people refer to as the core.

  1. Lie flat on your back arms and legs straight out, bring hands together
  2. Find neutral spine
  3. Lifting your entire torso in one plane while keeping your hips on the floor

The Bicycle: Superficial layer (Rectus abdominals, internal and external oblique)

  1. Lie flat on the floor and find neutral spine, cradle head with hands.
  2. Bring knees up to about a 45 deg. Angle and slowly go through the bicycle pedal motion.
  3. Think about bringing your shoulder and opposite knee together keeping elbows wide.

Abdominals can be broken into three different layers. Deep, middle and superficial Deep, also known as Multifidi, are really important because they are attached to your spine. They are the hardest to contract but functionally the most important.

Middle, also known as Transverse abdominals, run up and down your entire torso. These muscles are often referred to as "the core" they are important to strengthen for walking, standing, running, biking, and swimming.

Superficial layer: Rectus abdomens and external/internal oblique-these muscles we like to work for the "six pack look" or "abs of steel" however they are not attached to the spine so functionally don't do tons but they look good!

About Julie Ann Mccarthy PT, DPT:
Julie Ann McCarthy is a native to the Bay. She grew up in Menlo Park, CA. and holds a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California and a B.A. from University of California, Berkeley. Currently is a physical therapist at Presidio Sport and Medicine in San Francisco. Julie is a movement specialist who has been teaching fitness over the last 10 years. As a physical therapist she has a unique ability to instruct exercises to a wide variety of fitness levels from the high end athlete at to an individual just starting to exercise or recovering from an injury or disability. She has been featured on Fit TV and currently teaches at Crunch, Bay Club of San Francisco, Club One and Presidio Sport and Medicine. She teaches kickboxing, spin, abs, boot camp and weight training.

As a physical therapist she promotes health, fitness and wellness to the community. She volunteers through local races and lectures at the YMCA on Healthy Living and Aquatic Training. She is an officer of the executive committee for the Golden Gate District of Physical therapy which helps promote wellness in the community. When she is not teaching she is staying physically and mentally fit herself as a local triathalete and road runner.

Presidio Sport and Medicine
Physical Address:
1162 B Gorgas Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94129

Mailing Address:
PO Box 470607
San Francisco, CA 94147
Phone: (415) 561-6655