8 Flat Stomach Exercises

8 Flat Stomach Exercises

“Spare tire,” “muffin top,” “love handles,” and “beer belly”: That midsection pooch has plenty of less-than-lovable nicknames. But bad rep aside, it’s not just aesthetic reasons that should make you work to take it down. Holding extra weight in your abdominal area is also bad for your long-term health.

Research published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that a larger waist circumference raises risk of high blood pressure, regardless of total body fat. Other studies have found visceral stomach fat (versus the subcutaneous fat that you can pinch) is linked to higher total cholesterol, insulin resistance, and diabetes.

Now, the good news: You can definitely do something about it.

In addition to focusing on a healthy diet — full of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats (like avocado and olive oil) — and getting at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day, incorporating exercises specifically geared toward your abs only adds to the power of good nutrition and consistent workouts. Not only will you be lowering health risks, but also, a strong core can improve your posture and make you less prone to injury.

With that in mind, here are some of our favorite exercises for a flat stomach.

 

8 Exercises to Tone Your Stomach

1. Sprints

hiit training treadmill- woman on treadmill

Sprinting is an anaerobic activity that targets almost every muscle in your body, including your core.

  • Warm up with at least 5 to 10 minutes of easy-pace jogging.
  • Go full-out in a sprint, driving up your knees to get more power.
  • Go back to slow jogging to recover before sprinting again.
  • Start with short sprints of just a few seconds and work your way up gradually.

 

2. Training Camps

This is an oblique killer and will help you create those little “fingerlike” muscles on your sides.

  • Start in a seated position on the floor with legs straight, heels on the ground, and toes facing up.
  • Lean back until you feel your abdominals engage.
  • Twist toward your right side, lean back, and touch your right elbow to the ground.
  • Sit up and repeat the move on the other side.

 

3. Scissors

people on exercise mats doing scissor kicks

This move hurts so good and is one of the better core strength exercises.

  • Lie flat on your back with one straight leg extended so it is perpendicular to the floor. The other straight leg should hover just off the ground.
  • Switch legs every few seconds and don’t let either leg touch the ground.
  • If you find that your back is coming up off the ground or if it starts to hurt, place your hands underneath your lower back.

 

4. Stability Ball Roll-Outs

Exercise Ball Workouts - Stability Ball Rollout

This is a real core burner!

  • Place your hands on a stability ball and kneel with your knees hip-width apart and your toes on the floor for stability.
  • Keeping your back flat and core braced, and without moving your knees, slowly roll forward so the ball comes to your forearms, until your body forms a straight line from your head to your knees.
  • Pause, then roll back to the starting position.
  • If your back starts to sway or if your butt drops, you’ve gone too far. Slowly roll back in.

 

5. Tuck Jumps

This exercise gets your heart rate up, works your entire body, and tones abs all in one. As with sprinting, you’ll want to be fully warmed up first.

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart, and arms raised fully extended at chest height, palms down.
  • To gain momentum, bend your knees in a quarter squat and then jump, bringing your knees up to your palms.
  • Land softly with feet hip-width apart and knees softly bent.

 

6. Stability Ball Jackknife

Exercise Ball Workouts - Jackknife

This is another great move using the stability ball.

  • Start in a high-plank position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your shins on top of a stability ball.
  • Brace your core to keep your body in a straight line from head to toes. This is your starting position.
  • While squeezing your core, bend your knees, rolling the stability ball toward your hands until only your toes are resting on the ball. Keep your hips down as you do so.
  • Pause, then slowly straighten your legs back behind you, returning to the starting position.

7. Planks

forearm plank - woman - mat - on white

This is a one-stop-shop for your abdominals, since planks engage every muscle in your core.

  • Start with forearms on the ground, body straight, and feet together behind you. Elbows should be in line underneath your shoulders.
  • Squeeze your butt and brace your core to keep your hips from sagging.
  • Hold that straight body line. Once you can hold this basic plank for 45 to 60 seconds, you can start adding variations.

 

8. Russian Twists

russian twist exercise - rough around the edges - corinne degroot

Get those obliques working with this one, and you can progress by increasing the weight over several training sessions.

  • Sit on the floor holding a medicine ball, kettlebell, or a pair of dumbbells in front of your chest.
  • Bend your knees and lean back slightly, bringing your feet off the floor, balancing on your butt.
  • Keeping your back flat and abs braced, rotate to the right and lower the weight toward the floor on that side.
  • Return to starting position and repeat on left. Continue alternating sides.
Elizabeth Millard

About

Elizabeth Millard has written for Men's Health, SELF, Prevention, Runner's World, and several other health and wellness publications. Based in Northern Minnesota (yes, it's just as cold as you've heard), she's also a rock climber, obstacle course enthusiast, and registered yoga teacher. Follow her on Twitter.

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