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To get a toned midsection, you need a workout that burns fat and builds muscle.
Circuit workouts can be performed with little to no equipment and work well for those that don't have a lot of free time to exercise. By completing an ab workout back to back with little rest in between, you will burn fat while building strong core muscles -- two essential ingredients for a six-pack. Beginners usually see results fast, which is motivation to stick with it. Complete this ab circuit workout for beginners two to three times a week on non-consecutive days, alternating with your cardio workouts for maximum results.
For this ab circuit workout, you will complete all five exercises without a break between sets. Take a one-minute break and repeat all exercises a second time. Continue this pattern for at least 15 minutes as a beginner. According to Shape, the shorter your circuit workout, the more intense it should be. So give the workout all you got for 15 minutes. Aim to make this a 30-minute workout after a few weeks of consistency. Be sure to stay completely hydrated before, during and after this workout. Drink at least 8 to 12 oz. of water at least one hour before the workout. Drink another 8 to 12 oz. after the workout.
Start with Planks
If you have been working out for any length of time, you have most likely attempted a plank, or at least heard of them. Planks are a popular core exercise because they work to strengthen your entire core with a burn that you can feel pretty quickly. Start with a basic straight arm plank by getting into pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders and toes on the floor. Hold this pose for 20 seconds to complete the exercise. From here, move on to side planks by raising one arm straight up and twisting your body so that your belly button is facing the wall. Stack your legs one on top of the other. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Switch sides with the opposite arm in the air and opposite leg on top. Hold for 10 seconds.
Bear crawls target your lower abs with the added benefit of continuing the burn you felt on your arms from the planks. Get on all fours, tighten your abs while lifting your hips. Your knees should be slightly off the floor. Take a step forward with your right hand and right foot. Then go forward with your left hand and left foot. Keeping your abs tight, continue "crawling" in this fashion for 45 seconds. If you run out of space, crawl backwards.
Single Leg Crunches
The single leg press crunch will hit your abs in a way that traditional crunches won't. Lie on the floor face-up, legs extended, and your left leg crossed over your right. Hold your upper body up on your elbows. Lift your left leg up as you lift your upper body by extending your arms. Repeat for 10 reps and switch legs. Complete another 10 reps, lifting your right leg.
Weighted Side Crunches
Weighted one sided-crunches will target your obliques -- the ab muscles on your sides. Grab a light dumbbell -- two to five pounds to start. Lie down on your back with bent knees and feet flat on the floor. Holding the dumbbell with two hands near your right shoulder, curl your upper body up and twist to the left. Slowly lower your torso back to the ground to complete one rep. Do 10 reps before moving the weight to your left shoulder to switch sides.