Bikini season has arrived and with it comes the pressure to have a beach-ready body. When you think of getting in shape for the summer, your mind probably goes straight to your abs. Even people who maintain an active lifestyle and eat healthily can still have trouble with getting those rock hard abs we all dream about.
While you may be dealing with stubborn belly fat, know that there are simple solutions to targeting this trouble area. Let’s take a look at 9 simple ways you can tone your waistline.
1. Keep good posture
Okay, let’s kick this off with the easiest “exercise” yet. According to an article from WebMD, one of the biggest ab killers is slouching. Your body starts to concave naturally which creates the dreaded “pooch”.
Proper posture sounds easy (and it is!) but for many people, it can feel unnatural at first. Stand up straight with your eyes gazing out. Avoid dropping or rounding your shoulders. Pull your stomach in and maintain this position during standing and walking. Over time, you will train your body to hold this flattering position naturally.
A simple, yet very effective solution is stretching. Not only will you prep your body for a great workout, but stretching also targets the abs for toning.
Sit up straight on your exercise mat with your legs slightly spread. Extend your arms out and away from your body. Rotate your body forward trying to touch your right hand to your left foot. Alternate between hand and foot 30 times.
To really active those lower abs, the corkscrew is the exercise for you. The key to this move is to make sure that you take on each step slowly and fully engage in each move. If you fail to do this, then you are not fully engaging the abdominal muscles.
Lie on your back and lift your legs straight up. Do not bend the knees as you bring your legs forward to just over your head. Keep your arms at your side; your spine pulled in and your abs tight as you lean your legs slowly from one side of your body to the other. As a bonus, pause between each movement for a more intense workout.
The twist is another option for working out upper and lower abs. This simple exercise is sure to get fast results.
Sit up on your exercise mat with your feet on the ground. Twist to one side of your body while keeping your abs pulled in. For added difficulty, add weight to the movement. Repeat 30 times for each side.
5. Air swimming
To really get those abs on fire, try out this recommended exercise. Air swimming not only works the abs but the back and shoulders as well.
Lie on your stomach with your legs together and your arms extended out. Lift your arms and legs out, holding the position. Alternate lifting right arm/left leg for each rep. Complete 10 reps for best results.
6. Standing oblique crunch
To really target those love handles, incorporate the standing oblique crunch into your ab workout. To get an even better workout, you should avoid putting your entire weight on your foot as you do this exercise. Instead, focus on just tapping the balls of your feet on the ground.
Start off by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. With a 5-pound dumbbell in hand, pull your left knee up and your elbow down into a side crunch. Do 12-15 reps on each side of the body. For beginners, you can skip the dumbbell and just go through the motions of the exercise.
7. Basic crunch
Don’t underestimate the power of the basic crunch. A go-to exercise for many athletes the crunch engages the core and works the stubborn lower abs.
Lay down on the exercise mat. With your hands behind your head, bring your knees and elbows toward each other. Do not allow your feet to touch the ground. Start out with 10-15 reps increasing the number over time.
8. Pike and extend
According to Fitness Magazine, the pike and extend maneuver not only works the abs but the legs as well.
Lie down with your back on the mat. Extend your legs up as you reach up in a basic crunch. Lay back with your arms over your head while keeping your left leg extended above you. Alternate between each leg for 20 reps.
9. Side bend
Work those thighs and ab muscles with a side bend. This exercise is easy to do, but definitely gets those results you are looking for.
Begin in a side-seated position. Next, extend your body upward so that your hip is off the mat. Lift your arm out, creating an arc in your torso. Slowly bring down to complete the exercise. Repeat 10-15 times.