Exercises to reveal your abs & tighten your tummy
Whether you have excess weight (fat) around the tummy or even if you aren’t overweight at all, one of the main reasons you don’t have a tight tummy is because your abdominal muscles are weak. To trim down and tone up, you’ve got to work all the muscles in your mid-section.
Workout your core
The below core workout moves pair well with 30 to 60 minutes of cardio and can be done up to six times a week. The core is the central portion of the body from which all movements extend. You’ll need to engage your mid-section by targeting it from multiple angles (crunches alone simply won’t do the trick).
These core exercises work other areas of your body and muscle groups (arms, legs, lower back, buttocks and thighs) too, to give you a great toned result for just about your whole body.
Within a matter of weeks, you’ll be able to say hello to your abs and start seeing some real change to your mid-section.
- Hip dip plank: Begin in a basic plank position (place your forearms on the ground with elbows aligned below your shoulders. Your arms will need to be parallel to your body at about shoulder-width distance. The rest of your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles). Now, tuck your right knee into your chest and rotate your waist so that the outer side of your right hip and thigh are facing the ground. Lower your body so that you are ‘sitting on your right hip’. Now lift your body back into a plank position, and raise and extend your right leg. Return to the starting position. Repeat on either side for 30 to 40 reps.
- Diagonal pike legs: Lie down on your back, face-up with your legs together and extended. Rotate your hips slightly to the left, placing them on a left diagonal. Now, place your left lightly behind the back of your head and extend your right arm out to the side with your palm facing down. Crunch up your mid-section and lift your legs, maintaining the diagonal position. Lower your legs back to the floor (slowly) and repeat on the other side. Do 30 to 40 reps. The exercise works best if your mid-section is engaged from the beginning (helping you to maintain balance throughout the exercise too).
- Inner thigh crunch lift: Staying on your back lying face up, extend your legs into a wide split. Point your toes upwards and place your hands at the back of your head. Lift and rotate your right leg, dropping the toe to face outwards. Using your inner thigh, lower your leg slowly to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Do 30 to 40 reps.
- Weighted pike: This is where some weights (dumbbells) come in. Remain on your back, facing upwards, place your legs together and extend outwards. Holding a [kilograms:1 to 2] weight, put your right hand beneath your head and extend your left arm straight back overhead. Now, bring your legs up to 90 degrees, crunching the upper and lower body at the same time as you lift your left arm up over your head and lowering it forwards (in line with your torso). Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Try to keep your head neutral (not strained) throughout. Do 30 – 40 reps.
- Pike and extend: Place your weights aside and lie back down, face up with your legs extended and arms overhead. Now, crunch up and reach your hands towards your toes (bringing your arms and legs up to meet in the middle). Slowly lower your upper back down, place your arms back overhead and lower your right leg only towards the floor. As you lift your leg back up again, crunch up and reach for your toes. Repeat and do 20 reps, alternating sides.
- Chest flye and leg extension: Lie back down and bend your knees over your hips at a 90-degree angle. Hold a weight in each hand with your arms extended over your chest (palms facing inwards). Keeping your right knee bent, straighten your left leg towards the floor at the same time as your lower your arms out to the sides (towards the floor). Hold for 1 count and return to the starting position. Do 10 reps, alternating your legs.
- Knee-up with overhead press: Now, sit up and place your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Hold your weights near your shoulders with your elbows at your sides, palms facing inwards. Lean back slightly and extend your arms overhead while lifting your feet a few inches off the floor, and bringing them towards your chest. Hold the position for 1 to 3 counts and return to the starting position. Do 15 reps.
- The canoe twist: Now, stand up with your feet slightly apart. Lock your fingers to create a solid grip. Breathe in and as you exhale, move your hands, arms, shoulders and chest to the right in a sweeping motion (as if you were rowing a canoe). At the same time, lift your right knee upwards and to the left. Take a deep breath and return to the starting position. Switch sides and do 20 reps.
- The cat kick: Stand upright again and place your feet together. Place your arms outwards like aeroplane wings and take a deep breath. As you exhale, lift your right leg forwards and extend your arms in the same direction, in line with your shoulders. Round your spine slightly like that of a cat. Take in a deep breath and return to the starting position. Switch legs and do 20 reps.
- Pilates zip up: Stand upright and place your heels together with your toes slightly turned out. Join your fingers on each hand and bring your arms up just below your chin. Breathe in and press your arms downwards as you exhale. Keep your arms close to the sides of your body as you lift your heels slightly off the ground (onto your tiptoes) at the same time. Hold for 2 counts and return to the starting position. You will feel your abs move inwards and upwards as your arms extend downwards. Do 20 reps.