Here are six moves to help you work your way towards flatter, more toned abs.
Russian Twists: Begin in a “sit-up” position with your knees bent and your feet together flat on the floor. Your body should be aligned at about a 45-degree angle. Maintain a straight back and keep your gaze to the ceiling. Stretch your arms out keeping your hands flat. Squeeze your core and angle your shoulders to the opposite sides of the room. Return to the beginning position and rotate to the opposite side. Complete 20 reps.
Intensity Alert: The slower your motion, the higher the intensity. It takes more control of the body to move slowly.
Toe Touches: Lay flat on your back with your legs extended up towards the ceiling. Stretch your arms and reach for your toes or ankles – depending on your flexibility – as you bring your shoulders off the floor. Make sure you squeeze those abdominals to fold at the waist. Complete 20 reps.
V-up: This move is similar to the toe touch. The difference here, is that you begin by laying with your back flat on the floor. Arms and legs are extended in opposite directions. Keep your feet together and point your toes toward the ceiling as you squeeze the core to bring your upper body off the floor to meet your toes. After your hands and toes meet, return to the starting position with your body flat on the floor. Complete 20 reps.
Intensity Alert: To make the exercise more difficult, don’t let your hands or your feet touch the floor. Instead keep your arms and legs no less than six inches of the floor.
Side plank: Lie on your side in a straight line, your shoulder stacked on top of the elbow with the elbow on the floor. Your feet should also be stacked on top of each other. Engage your core to lift the hip from the floor. Pretend there is a rope that ties the hip to the ceiling to maintain form. Keep your hips square and your neck should stay in line with your spine. Hold for 20-40 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Modification Alert: If stacking the feet on top of each other is a bit challenging, try extending only the top leg, and bend the bottom leg keping the knee on the floor.
Ballerina Twists: Begin in the side plank position and extend your free arm up toward the ceiling. Look at your palm then fold that arm down under your body. Complete 20 reps. Repeat on the opposite side.
Oblique Crunches: Begin this exercise also in the side plank position. Place your hand lightly on your ear and engage your core to help lift your legs. Bring your elbow to meet the knees. Be sure to only use your bottom arm for stability. Do not use your arm to push into the floor to lift the legs.
Modification Alert:If lifting both legs is a bit of a challenge, lift only a single leg.