What are Butterfly Belly Busters?
You’ve heard of the butterfly effect, right? The theory that a butterfly flaps its wings and causes a hurricane on the other end of the world? Well, it’s a little unlikely, agreed. However, when the “butterfly effect” is applied in the context of an ab workout, it is a far less farfetched idea; and results are reached way faster, more comfortably, and more effectively! Now, this won’t cause a hurricane in your living room but will give you a great core workout with low risk of back strain, and without needing someone to anchor your feet to the ground.
Butterfly sit-ups are killers on the abs, but in a positive way. By using this technique, you only use your upper third of your body to complete the range of movement needed in a sit-up., which is the most efficient part. Meaning you will increase the work done on your abs, and decrease the use of the lower part connecting to the quadriceps and glutes (which is unnecessary in today’s day and age because we are forever using these muscles with our sedentary lifestyles). This is also a great way of targeting the core muscles without having to strain your neck or back as it allows for less stress on the spine than a regular sit-up. One can even increase flexibility even more by placing a soft cushion underneath your lower back, allowing for an overextension of the back. If you are working out at home this can be in the form of a small pillow, or you can roll up a towel to about 4-5 inches.
How do I do it?
You can start off by laying with your back flat on the floor with your legs straight, like with a regular sit up. Bring up your knees to a comfortable height, keeping your feet together. Then proceed to drop your knees outward to the sides (they needn’t touch the ground, this is just to “switch off” the muscles connecting to your quadriceps and glutes), all the while keeping the soles of your feet together. This is the part that reminds me of a butterfly. This will take some getting used to, and once you start the movement you will quickly see what is most comfortable for you. The closer your feet are brought up towards your body, the more effective the movement, and you will see the stronger your core gets, and the more flexible you become, the closer you will be able bring your feet.
You will then extend your arms backwards touching the ground. Some people prefer to cross their arms across their chest touching their shoulders, which isn’t wrong, but extending backwards increases the range of movement, helps with flexibility, and gives your spine and back muscles a great stretch.
Then, with your legs all the while staying in the butterfly position, bring your arms up and use the momentum to do the sit-up all the way up and forward, and touch the ground in front of your feet. It is best practice also to control your breathing – exhaling on the “up” movement, and inhaling as you go backwards.
You should aim for as many repetitions as you feel comfortable with, or you can use this technique in a circuit.
Take Away Message
Sit-ups in general seem daunting, especially if you aren’t as fit as you wish to be, which is why this is an incredible technique for beginners. You don’t need anyone standing on your feet, requires no great deal of flexibility, and it’s easy to maintain the correct form.
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