The question of bellydance and whether or not it can gift you with a flat stomach is one that teachers like me have been asked since we started. The goal of many women is to have a flat stomach and coming across something like bellydance where belly is in the name would naturally cause you to ask that question. There is no simple answer. I can say that bellydance has kept my stomach flat but I can’t say that if I didn’t bellydance that I wouldn’t have one. I think that a lot more goes into it than bellydance alone but I do think that it helps with my overall strength and flexibility and ok, being able to do some cool belly tricks doesn’t hurt.
I think that a few things go into bellydance and it’s ability to give you a flat stomach. Diet , Shape (where you carry weight), and Practice.
Diet. For me personally, sodium is the killer. I could bellydance for 40 hours and lift weights but if I ingest too much sodium, that’s it. Water, bloating, no flat stomach to be seen here. So, yes diet is a part of it. And I do not mean diet as in starve yourself. I only mean it as being aware of what you eat and what it may cause your body to do.
Shape. Every shape is different. It could be that the way your body is built, the curves don’t allow for a flat stomach. For instance, I will never have stick thin legs. No matter what my weight is or workout, my legs are muscular and large. And there is nothing wrong with that! In addition, not having a flat stomach does not mean that you are not healthy in any way. If you look at body builders who are women, there stomachs are not flat. They are muscular and muscles stick out, abs stick out, they are not flat and smooth, they are bumpy. (This photo is not my abs, it is from http://www.ab-core-and-stomach-exercises.com/killer-abs.html I had pringles today so mine are not in shape to show off as an example)
Practice. Practice dance, running, crunching, cardio, whatever it is, do it. Abs get bored. If you keep it varied, they don’t have a chance to get used to what you are doing and you will see them react a lot more. THAT is where bellydance comes in! It isn’t boring and the exercises are varied. Bellydance focuses not just on the strength of your abs but their flexibility as well. You use your abs not only to drive movements but also to stretch them and allow them to occur in the first place.
In conclusion, you do not need to have flat abs. Your shape is your shape and it is amazing. But if it is something that you desire, bellydance is an exercise that can help you work on your abs and keep them from getting bored on your quest to make them as strong and as flexible as they can be.