You want to tone up and flatten your stomach? Here are 10 abdominal exercises to help you get a flat belly.
Men and women often have different concerns about which parts of their body they’d like to tone up. For men, they usually want big arms, and nice pecs.
For women, it’s usually the legs and butt that are focused on.
The universal muscle group that both can agree on…. the abdominals!
If you want to tone up and flatten your stomach, you have to burn fat. A cardio and weight training workout plan is the best way to do that. Keeping your core muscles strong should be a priority, especially when putting together a workout routine.
Always include core exercises, mainly at the end of your workout. In other words, these abdominal/core exercises should be added to a full workout program, including cardio and weights.
Do not rely on these exercises alone. With that being said, let’s get started!
The plank is one of the best core exercises you can do. It not only activates your abdominals and oblique, it also is great to strengthen your lower back and your arms.
Simply lay flat on the floor or a soft mat, and bring yourself into a push up position, leaning on your forearms. Once you are in the proper plank position, only your toes and forearms should be touching the ground.
Focus on not letting your lower back arch, and keeping your abdominals tight. Start with 3 sets of 20 seconds, holding this position.
This particular core move is considered quite tough. Start by laying on your floor or mat, and extending your arms and legs straight out.
Using your whole body, pull your legs and your arms up and together, so that only your butt is on the floor. Then slowly extend your body back down to a lying position.
This move will activate all of your core muscles, not just your abs. Begin with 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
This core exercise will not only activate your abdominals and your oblique, but it will also work on your core stability and balance. Sitting on your floor, sit upright and bend your knees.
Using a medicine ball, twist your upper body to one side and touch the ball to the ground next to your butt. Then, pull the medicine ball across your body and touch it to the opposite side. Repeat this in a fluent motion, focusing on your core and oblique.
žTo make the move more challenging, lift your feet off the ground and try balancing on your butt while you twist!
If you don’t have a medicine ball, no sweat. This move can be done with no resistance. Begin with 3 sets of 20 twists.
This is a great move to strengthen the oblique, and a fantastic move for beginners. Lying flat on the floor with your hands flat to your side, bend your knees and bring your feet off the ground.
From that position, twist your knees toward the ground on your left side, keeping your hands and back as flat as possible on the floor. Now, pull your knees across your body and toward the ground on the right side of your body, again keeping your hands and back flat on the floor.
The intensity of this exercise can easily be progressed as well. Just hold a medicine ball in between your knees as you twist back and forth. Start with 3 sets of 20 twists.
Most people don’t realize that the key to a strong core, is to strengthen the entire core! Not just the abdominals! This exercise is a great way to strengthen your lower back.
A lot of lower back pain stems from weakness, so this move is vital to a strong core. Start by lying on the floor on your stomach, with your arms extended over your head and your palms on the ground.
Your legs should be straight out and relaxed. From this position, slowly lift your arms and legs off the ground, keeping them extended. This will create a safe arch in your back, as the ground will support your abs.
Repeat this motion, holding your arms and legs up with each repetition for about 2 seconds. Start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
A great move to not only strengthen your core, but your arms as well. Start in a push up or plank position, depending on your level of fitness.
Begin to bend your knee on one leg and pull it in toward the opposite elbow, holding your push up position tight and keeping your abs activated and lower back straight.
Alternate each knee, back and forth, pulling in toward the elbow. Do this for 3 sets of 20 repetitions.
This move will target your basic abdominal muscles. Lying on your back on the floor, lift your legs and bend your knees at a 90 degree angle. Interlock your fingers behind your head and point your elbows toward your knees.
Using your abs, pull your upper body up so that you are attempting to touch your elbows to your knees. This is a great basic abdominal crunch, and should leave you burning up. Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
This move is great because it’s another one that requires balance and core stability as well. Sitting on your butt, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground.
Place your hands on your hips, and begin to pull your knees in toward your chest. Pull your knees in as far as possible, leaving only your butt on the floor to balance you.
Slowly extend your knees back out, attempting to keep your feet off the ground. Do this exercise for 3 sets of 10 repetitons.
Now this is one of those exercises that seems to work everything! Start in a regular push up position. Begin to bring one arm onto the forearm, then bring the other arm down as well.
You are now in a plank position. From there, bring one arm back to the push up position, followed by the other arm. You are now in a push up position. Repeat this for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
This is another great move for beginners, but can work on anyone at any level. It will activate the main core muscles, as well as the legs and glutes. Lying flat on the ground, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
Lift your butt up high toward the ceiling, ( or sky if you are exercising outsideJ) and concentrate on squeezing your glutes and your abs. bring your butt to the ground and repeat the motion for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Give these exercises a try. Always remember, there is no such thing as “spot reducing”, so know exercise will burn fat in one specific area. Use these exercises as part of your workout routine.
Cover photo: thepickdrop.com
Bryan is a personal trainer and fitness professional, who has been in the industry for 8 years. He is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Dowling College, and prestigious Hofstra University, where he studied human anatomy and personal fitness training.
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