Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to start thinking about getting in shape for the summer days on the beach and, if you overindulged a little bit too much over the festive season, then toning your tummy could well be high on your workout agenda. Standard abdominal exercises, like crunches and sit ups will work, but if you want to mix things up a bit, here are ten different exercises for tightening your abs.
1. Side crunches
Side crunches can be quite tricky to master, but they are a great way to work on your abs, and your hips too. Kneel down on the floor and then, lean over to the right hand side, so that you have your right palm on the floor and your right knee down too. Holding your left hand behind your head, raise your leg towards the ceiling and slowly extend your arm towards your leg. Return to where you started and repeat, and then do the same on the other side.
2. Abdominal hold
This move needs balance; so it’s another one you might need to practice. Sit with your back straight in a sturdy chair and plant your hands down, on the chair, at your sides. Tighten your tummy and lift your legs a few inches off the floor and then lift yourself out of the chair with your arms. Hold that position for about ten seconds and then rest and repeat the move.
3. The one hundred
This one hundred is a kind of Pilates move, but without the need for any equipment. Lay flat on your back on the floor with your arms by your sides. With your legs straight, raise then about six inches and then raise your shoulders as far as you can as well. Now, raise your outstretched arms off the floor and pump them up and down as many times as you can. Go for hundred pumps, if you can, exhaling and inhaling between each five.
Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Take a deep breath and contract your tummy muscles and then, draw your knees up toward your chest. Then, raise your legs up so that they are pointing towards the ceiling, exhaling as you do it. Now, circle your legs clockwise as many times as you can, keeping your legs out straight. Then rest, and repeat the exercise, but this time, circle your legs anti-clockwise.
5. Arm and leg raise
This is an exercise that will help your balance and poise, as well as tone your abs. Kneel down on all fours. Raise your left arm, keeping it straight, until it reaches shoulder height. Next, raise your right leg, straightening it as you go, until it is level your hip. Hold that potion for a count of two and then lower and repeat, but with the opposite leg and arm.
6. Squat with a twist
You need to be careful with this exercise because it may wrench your back, so start off slow and see how you get on. Start by standing with your feet spread apart and your arms extended out in front of you. Lower yourself down to the squat position, twist your torso to the left, then stand, repeat and twist your torso to the right. When you squat, your knees should be bent to a 90 degree angle.
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7. Prone plank
This is one of the easiest exercises for flat abs there is and it takes hardly any effort at all to do. Lower yourself down into the push-up position, contract your abs, and hold that position, with your head held out straight in front of you, for 30 seconds. As you get more used to doing this exercise, you will be able to hold the position for longer.
8. Mountain climber
This is another twist on the standard push-up. Start off in the push-up position with legs extended behind you and your palms flat on the floor. Bend your right leg underneath you, toward your chest and then straighten it out again. Then repeat the move with your left leg. Continue repeating the moves for about a minute.
9. Leg lift
This exercise will work your lower abs and your waist. Lie flat on your back and place your hands, palms down, under your hips. Lift both your legs off the floor, bending one knee slightly and keep the foot of the bent leg touching the calf your other leg. In that position, lower both your legs together and then raise them again and repeat that as many times as you can for 30 seconds. Then, reverse the potions of each leg and repeat the exercise.
10. Torso twist
This exercise will tone your abs and it will work on your thighs and shoulders as well. Stand with your legs spread about one foot apart and lift up your arms and place your hands next to your ears. Then, lift your right knee up towards your left elbow. Drop your right leg down again and raise your left knee up to your right elbow and continue alternating sides for about 60 seconds.
What are your favourite abs exercises?
Stay happy and healthy!