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The Adonis belt – sometimes called Apollo’s belt – refers to two V-shaped muscular grooves on the abdominal muscles alongside the hips.
This feature of the abdominal muscles takes its name from Adonis, the legendary god of fertility, youth, and beauty.
The grooves of the Adonis belt are, in fact, ligaments, not muscles. This means that cultivating an Adonis belt requires the loss of fat, not the creation of muscle.
Fast facts on the Adonis belt:
- The Adonis belt is not a muscle at all. It is formed by the inguinal ligament.
- No special supplement can improve the chances of developing an Adonis belt, though protein shakes may help with feelings of fullness and muscle development.
- A visible Adonis belt doesn’t necessarily indicate physical fitness or health.
- Everyone has abdominal muscles and an inguinal ligament.
The Adonis belt is a thick band of connective tissue that runs through the external oblique abdominal muscles, across the groin, and into the front portion of the iliac spine.
People who are relatively physically weak may have a visible inguinal ligament, while powerful and fit people might not. Instead, the Adonis belt is associated with body fat.
People with less body fat are more likely to have a visible Adonis belt.
This means a person could spend several hours each day on abdominal exercises and still not develop an Adonis belt or any other visible sign of abdominal strength.
For a person to have visible abdominal muscles, their percentage of body fat needs to be below 15 percent. For the Adonis belt to make an appearance, body fat might need to be as low as 6-13 percent.
To get an Adonis belt, one might think it makes sense to exercise the abdominal and hip muscles.
The problem is that this strategy does not work. The notion that it is possible to reduce fat in a particular area of the body with targeted exercises is a myth.
Strengthening a muscle to increase its size will not make it visible under the fat. Both diet and exercise play a role in reducing body fat.
Because genetics can affect body fat percentage, it is easier for some people to develop an Adonis belt than others.
Dieting for an Adonis belt
Some foods also require more energy to burn than others. Protein is one such food. It can also promote feelings of fullness, making it an ideal choice for people trying to avoid overeating.
And because protein is vital for muscle development, increasing protein intake can support healthy, visible abdominal muscles.
Exercises for reducing body fat
Activities that involve large groups of muscles and which get the heart pumping burn more fat than targeted exercises such as crunches and sit-ups.
Try intensive cardiovascular exercises such as:
- jumping rope
- punching-bag workouts
- cardio-heavy sports, such as football, tennis, or other athletics
The longer the exercise is performed and the more exhausting it feels, the more calories – and therefore the more fat – it will burn.
Building muscle can help the body burn more calories, and therefore shed more fat. Strengthening the muscles surrounding the inguinal ligament can help the area look more defined, and support fat burning. Try the following:
Planks strengthen and stabilize the back and abdominal muscles. Lie on the stomach with the elbows bent and forearms flat on the ground. Elevate the trunk off the ground while tensing the abdominal muscles. Hold for 5 seconds, gradually building to longer holds.
Next, try a side plank. Lie on one side with the legs positioned one on top of the other. Rest on a bent elbow. Then engage the abs by tightening them and raise the trunk and hips off the ground. Hold for 5 seconds, building gradually to a hold of 30 seconds or longer.
Stand up straight and take a deep breath into the stomach. Then exhale all the air from the lungs, drawing the stomach in. Envision the belly button moving toward the spine, sucking the stomach in as far as possible. Hold for 5-10 seconds, and repeat for several breaths. Once the stomach vacuum exercise is mastered, it is possible to perform while lying or sitting.
Lateral heel touches
Lateral heel touches target the obliques, which complement the appearance of an Adonis belt. Lie on the back with the knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep the arms extended out and parallel with the floor. While engaging the abdominal muscles, lift the head, neck, and upper back off the ground. Bend right to touch the right heel, then left to touch the left heel. Repeat for 5-10 repetitions.
Exercise ball crunches
Exercise ball crunches more effectively engage the abs than traditional crunches. Lie on an exercise ball such that the ball is positioned at the small of the back.
With the abs engaged and feet flat on the ground, perform a crunch by lifting the head, neck, and upper torso. The arms can be across the chest, behind the head, or extended straight, but should not be used to make it easier to crunch up. Repeat 5-10 times for 3-5 sets.
In a culture fixated on thinness, it is easy to see body fat as bad. Fat, however, plays a protective role. Everyone needs some fat to be healthy. Women are especially vulnerable to health problems when they shed too much body fat, because they have higher body fat percentages than men. Women with very low body fat may not menstruate, which can undermine or prevent fertility.
Women with body fat percentages below 15 percent are at risk of several health problems. This means that it may be difficult, and perhaps even impossible, for women to develop an Adonis belt and remain healthy. For men, health tends to decline when body fat dips below 8 percent, so most men can safely develop an Adonis belt.