Flatten Your Tummy!

Muffin top, love handles, belly bulge, beer gut, spare tire…almost everyone seems to have a pet name for their midsection that not only reveals how unhappy most of us feel about this major focal point on our bodies, but also how common this problem area seems to be for most people.

There’s a good reason for this: it’s because most of us lead a sedentary lifestyle, that involves more hours spent sitting – at our office desks, behind the wheel, at home on the couch, etc. – than performing any other type of physical activity. This leaves our main core muscles lax most of the day and typically exerts a lot of strain on the back and neck. The typical American diet is also composed of “foods” that disrupt the normal balance and functioning of key hormones, including ones that control our appetites, insulin sensitivity, the body’s ability to fight disease, and the body’s ability to burn and store fat.

The result? A tummy that is high in fat cells and low in muscle tone.

And the problem isn’t only that a bulgy belly doesn’t look good; studies show that abdominal fat is by far the most dangerous kind of fat, disrupting the functioning of our major organs and linked to a wide variety of life-threatening risks and health problems. In fact, researchers now believe that the size of one’s waist is an even better predictor of future health problems and early death than the total amount of fat in one’s entire body!

The Hundreds-of-Sit-Ups formula obviously isn’t working! And layering spanks and sucking your breath in all evening only gets you so far. It’s time to tap into a fail-proof method of reducing belly fat that actually works, and that will keep your tummy trim and flat in the long run.

The first step is reducing the total amount of fat in your body by eating the right diet, sticking to a total-body exercise program every week, and incorporating a high-quality weight loss supplement for women in your routine that helps to boost a sluggish metabolism, control your appetite and balance your hormones.

In addition, performing effective tummy tightening exercises that tap into all of the muscles of your torso – your transverse abdominals, your rectus abdominals, your oblique abdominals and the muscles in your back – allows you to slim out your waistline and flatten your mid-section faster and more successfully.

These 3 abdominal exercise circuits can be performed in your home in as little as twenty minutes. Always allow at least one day of rest between abdominal exercise workouts, to allow your core muscles to recover and rebuild before you challenge them again.

My ab circuit workouts will involve only 1 piece of equipment, and that’s a stability ball. A stability ball is a terrific tool that gets you far more out of every rep, and can also help to support your back in a safer position (if you use the ball correctly). It only costs about $15 or $20 dollars from any sports store, but a stability ball is so versatile that you can use it to work every part of your body more effectively, taking your results to the next level.

EXPERT TIP FOR BETTER RESULTS: Before beginning any type of abdominal exercise, start by “bracing” your tummy muscles. Imagine that you are about to cough, or about to be punched in the stomach. That contraction that occurs in your stomach is your abdominal muscles engaging – hold this contraction throughout the entire abdominal exercise, continuing to inhale and exhale deeply throughout.

3 Abdominal Routines to Flatten Your Tummy

 

Ab Circuit #1

Repeat this circuit 3 times for 1 complete workout.

photo credit: wiki-fitness.com

photo credit: wiki-fitness.com

  1. 5 minute Warm-Up (jumping jacks, skipping rope, jogging on the spot, stationary bike, etc.). Then Rest 1 minutes.
  2. Ab Crunches on the stability ball. Rest the ball in the small of your back and use your hands to support your head and avoid straining your neck.

Perform 1 set, 8-20 reps. Rest 30 seconds.

 

 

 

 

Plank photo credit: womenshealthmag.com

3.  Plank. for beginners bend your knees for support.

Perform 1 plank, 30 seconds – 1 minute. Then Rest 30 seconds.

 

 

 

  1. Reverse Crunches with the stability ball.

    Reverse crunches photo credit: munfitnessblog.com

    Reverse crunches photo credit: munfitnessblog.com

Perform 1 set, 15-20 reps. Then rest 30 seconds.

 

 

 

  1. Back Extension on the stability ball.

    Back extensions photo credit: womenshealthmag.com

    Back extensions photo credit: womenshealthmag.com

Perform 1 set, 15-20 reps. Then Rest 30 seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Bicycle Crunches. 1 set, 24 reps (12 each side).

Bicycle crunches photo credit: cairogyms.com

Bicycle crunches photo credit: cairogyms.com

 

Rest 1 minutes. Then start the ab circuit again from the beginning. Repeat this ab circuit 2 to 3 times to completion.

 

 

 

 

Ab Circuit #2

Repeat this circuit 3 times for 1 complete workout.

Crunches with legs on ball photo credit: bodybuilding.com

Crunches with legs on ball photo credit: bodybuilding.com

  1. 5 minute Warm-Up (jumping jacks, skipping rope, jogging on the spot, stationary bike, etc.). Than Rest 1 minutes.

 

  1. Crunches with legs on the stability ball.

Perform 1 set, 15-20 reps. Rest 30 seconds.

 

 

 

  1.  Advanced Challenge Decline Plank on the stability ball
     Advanced Challenge Decline Plank photo credit: leanitup.com

    Advanced Challenge Decline Plank photo credit: leanitup.com

    (you can substitute either plank from ab circuit 1 here).

Perform 1 plank 30 seconds – 1 minute. Than Rest 30 seconds.

 

 

 

  1. Lower Ab Pulses.

    lower ab pulses

    Lower ab pulses photo credit: leanitup.com

Lie on your back, with your hands under your tailbone. Stretch your legs up towards the ceiling, reaching your heels up towards the ceiling while maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Contract your lower abdominals by bracing your abs and curling your hip bones towards your belly button. At the same time, slightly push your heels upwards to “touch” the ceiling (very small movement, you don’t have to lift up very much). Then release.

Perform 1 set, 10 – 20 reps. Than Rest 30 seconds.

 

OR Advanced Challenge: Ball Leg Lifts. 1 set, 8 – 20 reps. Rest 30 seconds.

 

 

  1. Bird-Dog on the stability ball.

    Birddog photo credit: kimrussell.com

    Birddog photo credit: kimrussell.com

Begin with your tummy resting on the ball, with your arms straight and your hands on the floor in front of the ball, and your legs straight back behind you, balls of your feet resting on the floor. As you exhale, simultaneously extend one arm forward and the opposite leg straight up behind you, and hold for 5 seconds. Come back to the beginning position, and then switch arm/leg.

Perform 1 set, 10 – 20 reps (5 – 10 reps each side). Than Rest 30 seconds.

 

 

 

  1. Oblique Twists.

    Oblique twists photo credit: sheknows.com

    Oblique twists photo credit: sheknows.com

Perform 1 set, 10 – 20 reps (5 – 10 reps each side). Than Rest 30 seconds.

 

Rest 1 minute. Then begin ab circuit again from the beginning. Repeat this ab circuit 3 times to complete one workout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ab Circuit #3

Repeat this circuit 3 times for 1 complete workout.

Pilates hundreds photo credit: womenshealthmag.com

Pilates hundreds photo credit: womenshealthmag.com

  1. 5 minute Warm-Up (jumping jacks, skipping rope, jogging on the spot, stationary bike, etc.). Rest 1 minutes.
  2. Pilates Hundred with a stability ball.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on top of the stability ball, your arms resting parallel to your sides, palms on the floor. Contract your abdominals by squeezing your rib cage down towards your hips. At the same time, slide your palms forward and lift them off the ground, while raising your shoulders slightly off the ground. Keeping your abdominals contracted, your arms reaching out long, your shoulders off the floor and your eyes looking at your feet on top of the stability ball, hold this position for as long as you can, working up to 100 seconds. As you count each second that you hold this position, pump your hands lightly down for each count, continuing to rhythmically pump your hands to track each second. Then lay back down and rest for 30 seconds.

Plank photo credit: womenshealthmag.com

 

  1. Perform 1 plank of your choice for 30 seconds – 1 minutes.
  2. Than Rest for 30 seconds.

 

 

 

  1. Scissor Kicks.

    Scissor kicks photo credit: justbbeautiful.com

    Scissor kicks photo credit: justbbeautiful.com

Lie on your back on a mat, with your hands under your tailbone. Contract your abdominals and stretch your legs towards the ceiling, maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Keeping your right leg pointed up, slightly lower your left leg. Then switch legs, continuing to alternate. Do not allow your body to rock or wiggle as you scissor kick.

Perform as many as you can in 30 seconds – 1 minute. Than rest 30 seconds.

 

 

Advanced flutter kicks photo credit: justbbeautiful.com

Advanced flutter kicks photo credit: justbbeautiful.com

OR Advanced Challenge: Alternating Flutter Kicks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supermans photo credit: libertyspinecare.com

Supermans photo credit: libertyspinecare.com

  1. Superman’s. 1 set, 8 – 15 reps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Oblique Crunches on the stability ball.

    Oblique crunches photo credit: sportsmedicine.about.com

    Oblique crunches photo credit: sportsmedicine.about.com

  2. Perform a crunch on the stability ball; when you are at the most intense part of the crunch, twist your shoulder and reach it towards your opposite hip. Then release the crunch. Repeat again for the opposite side, continuing to alternate. 1 set, 10 -20 reps (5 – 10 reps each side).

 

Rest 1 minute. Then begin ab circuit again from the beginning. Repeat this ab circuit 3 times to complete one workout.

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