Ab Exercises That Actually Work to Flatten and Tone

Ab Exercises That Actually Work to Flatten and Tone

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A flat, trim stomach means building core strength.

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While you can't spot reduce fat in your abdominal region, resistance exercises - combined with cardio workouts - can help you slim down overall while toning and building muscle, giving your tummy a leaner, flatter appearance. Regular cardio can help you lose body fat by burning calories to help create a daily calorie deficit. Meanwhile, a range of abdominal exercises will build core strength, so that your lean, toned muscles show through after you lose the extra fat in the area.

Cardio Exercises

In order to get a flatter stomach, you need to lose fat overall. To burn fat, you need to create a daily calorie deficit. To create a calorie deficit, you need to burn more calories than you consume. Regular cardio exercise helps you burn calories, helping you lose weight and make your tummy area appear slimmer. You need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of body weight, according to Columbia University. The American Heart Association recommends that you do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio five days a week to maintain a healthy fitness level. To lose weight, you may need to do more cardio than that. For some that means between 45 to 60 minutes, five days a week. But the amount of calories you need to burn per day to create a calorie deficit, depends on how much you eat.

Plank With Leg Lift

Resistance training is essential to build lean muscle for a toned and flatter stomach. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of two days of moderate to high-intensity weight training. Try a variation on the basic plank, increasing the difficulty by adding leg raises to the position. Lying face down on the floor, place your hands under your shoulders, palms down, and keep your feet together as you place your toes and the balls of your feet on the floor. Pushing up with your hands, fully extend your arms so that you create a straight line from your head to your toes. Hold the position - the basic plank - for five counts before you slowly raise your right foot off the ground by 2 to 6 inches, holding the raised foot for five to 10 counts. Keep your body and legs straight as you do this. Slowly lower your right foot to the ground and lift your left foot up by 2 to 6 inches for five to 10 counts. Repeat eight times for each leg before resting for 15 seconds and repeating the full exercise.

The Rolling Pike

The rolling pike is a challenging exercise that works your core muscles - particularly your lower and side abdominal muscles - as well as your upper-body muscles and your gluteals. Place a stability ball under the top of your thighs as you support yourself on your hands, shoulder-width apart, stomach facing the floor, with your arms fully extended; you will essentially be in a plank position with the stability ball under the top of your thighs. Slowly lift your hips towards the ceiling, keeping your torso and legs straight, letting the ball roll towards your shins. Raise your hips as high as you can, hold the position for five counts and then return to plank position on the ball. Repeat eight to 10 times for two sets.

Pilates for a Tight Core

Pilates is a series of exercises known for building core strength while stretching muscles. Pilates can help engage and strengthen even your deepest abdominal muscles, helping you achieve a lean, sleek, flat abdomen. A strong core also improves your overall posture and balance, giving you a more slender appearance. Hundreds, side planks and the superman are all common Pilates exercises that strengthen your core. For optimum results, include Pilates training in your workout three times a week.


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