Abdominal toning consistently tops the list of exercises most desired by women. We all know the number 1 exercise for a flat stomach: sit-ups. But, if you’re tired of sit-ups, what are some other options for abdominal toning? Try these moves:
1. Side Bends
Stand with feet shoulder width apart, holding a dumbbell in your left hand. Putting your right hand behind your head, bend sideways to your left, lowering the dumbbell to your knee. Return to upright and repeat; then switch sides.
This exercise works the obliques, or sides of the abdomen.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart, arms extended out at shoulder height. Step backward 3 feet with your right foot, keeping your right heel off the floor. Bend your left knee, keeping it above your left ankle. Keep your tailbone tucked. Slowly lower your torso until your right knee almost touches the floor, then rise to the starting position and repeat; then change sides.
3. Sit Backs
Sick of sit-ups? Try sit backs as a tummy toning variation. Sit with your knees bent; feet flat, hip-width apart. Hands should be on the floor with your palms near your hips. Exhale as you contract your abdminal muscles and roll slowly back, dragging your hands alongside you. Hold the position as you focus on rolling down, one bit at a time.
Lie on the floor, fingers laced behind your head. Bring your knees to your chest and raise your head. Extend your left leg parallel to the floor while touching your right elbow to the knee. Then switch sides, “pedaling” from one side to the other. Be careful not to stress your neck.
This exercise is effective in creating “six pack” abs and great obliques.
5. Vertical Leg Crunch
Lie on the floor and extend your legs straight up, crossed at the knees. Contract your abs and use them to raise your shoulders off the floor (focus on trying to lift your chest to your feet). Imagine trying to bring your belly button towards your spine at the height of the movement. Lower your shoulders and repeat.
6. Reverse Crunch
Here’s one specifically for those stubborn lower abs:
Lie on the floor, hands behind head. Bring your knees to your chest, feet together. Contract your abs to curl your hips off the floor, reaching your legs towards the ceiling. Lower legs and repeat. Focus on using your abs to lift your hips rather than the momentum of a rocking movement – keep it slow.
Lie facedown, resting on forearms, palms flat on floor. Push off the floor, resting on your elbows and raising up onto your toes. Keep your back flat, creating a straight line from head to feet. Tilt your pelvis and pull in your abs to prevent your bottom from sticking up. Hold as long as you can, then lower and repeat.
Use these exercises to create an abdominal toning routine that works for you!