TOP 5 EXERCISES FOR TONED ABS
These are our favourite stomach-crunching exercises – they can help flatten your tum, burn fat and build your core muscle strength. Say goodbye to love handles and hello to looking svelte.
1 THE PLANK
How to do a plank
Start on your hands and knees and move your legs back so you are balancing on the balls of your feet.
Go down onto your elbows so you are resting on your forearms with either your fists flat to the ground or your fingers interlocked.
Keep your body in a straight line – no bums in the air or tums touching the floor please! If it’s too hard, you can let your knees touch the ground.
Try to hold a plank for at least a minute. Come on, you can do it – after all, the world record for a plank is a stonking four hours and 26 minutes – ouch!
2 THE SIDE PLANK
How to do a side plank
Lie on your side with your legs stretched out and your knees straight. Lift up your upper body so you are propped up on your elbow and forearm. Your elbow should in line with your shoulder.
Contract your stomach muscles and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your feet to your shoulders.
Hold this position for 30 seconds making sure your hips and knees don’t touch the floor. Slowly lower to the floor and swap sides.
If it’s too hard, you can start by keeping your knees on the floor.
As well as helping you get awesome abs, this exercise is great for strengthening your back too.
3 THE ABDOMINAL HOLD
How to do an abdominal hold
This is certainly not the most glamorous move, but it’s a killer workout that will work wonders for your abdominals.
Sit on the edge of a good strong chair or step and hold on to the edge with your hands – your fingers should be facing forward.
Brace your stomach muscles and lift your feet off the floor – your toes should be about 10cm above the ground.
Then lift your bottom off the chair.
Hold this position for as long as you can – it will probably be for a few seconds but aim for at least five to 10 seconds.
Lower your body down and repeat five times.
4 THE HUNDRED
How to do the hundred
This superb abs move is taken from pilates and is designed to build your core strength. It got its name as you’re supposed to hold the exercise for 100 beats.
Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor and in line with your hips.
Breathe in and when you exhale brace your stomach muscles and lift your feet off the floor until both legs are elevated and straight in the air – you’re looking for a 45-degree angle.
Beat your arms up and down in small motions at the side of your body.
The more you lower your legs towards the floor, the harder the exercise will become.
5 OPPOSITE ARM AND LEG RAISES
How to do opposite arm and leg raises
Get positioned on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips.
Extend your right arm forward and out straight and at the same time extend your left leg backwards and out straight.
Both your arm and leg will be parallel to the floor and your body level.
Hold for 10 seconds before returning to all fours. Repeat the exercise with your left arm and your right leg. Keep alternating until you have done this move five times on each side.
As well as working your stomach muscles, this also works your bum too.
Remember… with all these abdominal exercises it is important to focus on using your core muscles and avoid straining the muscles in your neck and shoulders.
If you start to find exercises too easy, you can add gradually increase the number of repetitions or hold positions for longer.