A flat, chiseled tummy is high on everyone’s fitness wish list. And while it’s perfectly possible to be healthy without a six-pack, there is no denying someone with rock-hard abs has worked hard for them.
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We all want a toned tummy, but if you think doing endless crunches is going to get you there, think again. The network of muscles that create your midsection work together in a variety of ways, which means you have to execute different movements to hit all the areas. (In fact, some exercises that aren’t even meant to specifically target the abs end up working them harder than those that were designed to!)
Here, we outline 10 must-do moves for a flat belly that will sculpt your midsection in no time. Keep in mind, however, that diet is extremely important when it comes to shrinking belly fat — you won’t see results unless you eat properly, too.
Also Read: Flat Belly Made Easier
Combine a healthy diet free of processed carbohydrates and sugars with two two sets of the following workout twice a week, and you’ll see results in no time.
Position yourself on your forearms and toes, with your forearms flat on the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your feet together. Make sure your body keeps a straight line from your head to your heels (no high butts in the air!). Hold this position for 30 seconds, working up to a minute. To increase difficulty, lift an arm or leg off the ground.
2. Maison Twists
Sit on the floor with your legs bent at the knees. Keep your chest up and your back flat. Lift your feet off the ground so your shins run parallel to the ground, balancing on your butt. Hold a small medicine ball or kettlebell to your chest with your elbows out wide.
To begin: Rotate through the waist to the left, bringing the weight of the medicine ball to the left side and touching it to the ground. Rotate back to centre, bringing the weight back to your chest and then rotate, repeating to the right side, and back to center. That’s one rep. Be sure you rotate through your trunk and core, and not just through your arms. Repeat, alternating sides. Do 10 reps.
3. Reverse Crunch
Lie down on the floor facing the cieling, arms by your sides, palms flat on the floor. Lift your legs into the air, keeping a slight bend in your knees. Rock your hips back and pull your belly button in towards your stomach so your lower back is pressed against the floor.
To begin: Roll your pelvis backward and press your heels toward the ceiling, using your lower abs to lift the hips off the floor. Keep the movement slow and controlled. Do not use momentum or swing your legs. Do 15 reps.
4. Side Planks With Hip Lifts
Lie on your right side and prop yourself up on your right elbow. Your elbow should be directly underneath your shoulder, with your forearm and hand flat on the ground. Your legs should be stacked directly on top of each other. Place your left hand on your left hip. Slowly raise your hips off the ground by engaging your core and pushing against the floor with your feet and your forearm until your body forms a straight line.
To begin: Contract through the right obliques to lift the hips as high as you can from a horizontal position. Then drop the hips back to horizontal and repeat. Continue lifting the hips, doing 10 reps, then switch sides.
5. Bicycle Crunches
Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Place your hands lightly behind your head and engage your abs, and gently lift your shoulders off the ground. Then, bend both knees and bring both feet off the ground so your shins are parallel to the ground.
To begin: Rotate through the abs to bring your left elbow to your right knee, while extending the left leg. Pause, then rotate the opposite direction, bringing your right elbow to your left knee, while extending the right leg out straight. That’s one rep. Continue alternating, never letting your shoulders or feet come in contact with the ground the entire set. Do 10 reps.
Start by lying face down on the ground with your arms and legs completely extended.
To begin: Squeeze through your glutes and your back to arch, and lift both your arms and legs as high off of the ground as you can. You should look like Superman flying through the air. Squeeze and hold for 10 seconds. Then, keeping your hands and feet lifted off the ground, use your core and abs to roll over onto your back. Keep your belly button pulled in and your lower back in contact with the ground at all times so that your body is nice and hollow. Your hands and feet should be just a few inches off the ground. (You should resemble a banana). Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat.
7. Mountain Climbers
Start in plank position on your hands. You should be propped up on your hands and your toes, with your hands directly underneath your shoulders.
To begin: Keep your hips down (don’t bend at the waist) and bring your right knee into your chest. Explosively reverse the position of your legs in one quick movement, extending the right leg back, supported by the toe, and bringing the left knee up into your chest. Continue alternating for 30 seconds, keeping the movements quick and continuous.
Begin in a squat position with both hands on the floor in front of you. Hop your feet backwards, into a pushup position. Immediately return your feet to the squat position. Explode through the legs and reach your arms up to jump as high as you can into the air. Land lightly on your feet and immediately lower down into a squat to repeat. Do 10.
9. Medicine Ball Slam
Hold a medicine ball in both hands above your head with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slam the ball onto the floor as hard as you can. Catch it on the rebound or squat down and pick it up (some bounce better than others) and repeat 10 times.
10. Decline Crunches
Hook your feet at the end of a decline bench and lie down. Place your hands lightly behind your head. Pull your belly button in to press the lower back into the bench.
To begin: Contract the abs to bring the shoulders off the bench. Keep your gaze up towards the ceiling instead of curling inwards toward your feet. Pause, then slowly lower yourself until your shoulders are back on the bench. Do 10 reps.