On newsstands this week is the latest list of the worst celebrity beach bodies, and rather than being grossed out, you’re comparing their less-than-perfect bods with your own, paying special attention to the abs. But, sweetie, rather than wallowing in muffin-top regret, like Deena Cortese, why not find new ways to tone your stomach, and get back to fit from flab? I can help… really! Here are 20 great ways to tone your stomach. So put down that trashy tabloid and let’s go!
This is simple, but so many people don’t know this! It is impossible to tone one part of your body. That’s right! There is no exercise you can do or food you can eat (or not eat) to tone your stomach. Your only option, then, is to make changes to your diet and add exercises to your routine that will alter your body all over… luckily, though, many exercises to tone your core are also ways to tone your stomach. If any product promises to “bust belly fat,” it’s a scam. Keep going with this list instead, and you’ll see what I mean.
If you’re going to be fit and healthy, you need the right fuel to keep you going. According to the USDA, my own personal trainer, and my fitness and nutrition professor, 5 servings per day of that fuel ought to be fresh fruits and veggies. They provide loads of fiber and antioxidants, and they also give you a slow-burning energy. Can sweets or chips do that? Nope. So one of the best ways to tone your stomach is actually to feed it properly… fantastic!
Now that you’re filling up on fresh fruits and veggies, you won’t have room for the empty calories in sodas, candies, chips, fast food, and other junk foods. Hooray!
Running is such a good cardio workout, and it’ll give you such gorgeous legs, but did you know it’s also excellent exercise to tone your stomach? It’s true. Watch the runners in this summer’s Olympic Games in London… notice that every one of those girls has toned, perfect abs. If you can’t run, then jog… or even just walk fast!
Jumping jacks, windmills, and more — calisthenics aren’t just kid stuff anymore! These at-home exercises get your blood pumping and are marvelous ways to tone your stomach. Add a round of them to your regimen and reap the benefits while still having some fun. Bonus: you can do them with your kids.
You already knew yoga was an excellent stress reliever, and that it made you more flexible, but did you know it’s another way to tone your stomach? In fact, the various poses and stretches tone our entire body, from tip to toe. Sign up for a class at your gym, find a local studio, or try a few at-home DVDs… but be sure to give yoga a try!
You had to see this coming, because really, there’s no way to tone your stomach without doing crunches. Use a decline bench to keep your form perfect, and keep your arms folded across your chest, at your sides, or loosely folded behind your head. Otherwise, you risk straining your neck, rather than working your abs. Do 2 sets of 12.
There’s a machine at the gym for this that will help you perfect your form. Keeping your hands behind your head, bend at the waist, then “fly” back up. The trick is to NOT lean back… when you return to your upright position, keep the line of your head, back, and legs as straight as possible, trying your best NOT to lean back. Do 2 sets of 12, then, over time, work up to 2 sets of 20.
What the heck is a sit-back, you ask? It’s like a crunch, only backwards. Rather than starting in a lying-down position, sit up at the top of the decline bench, then slowly lower yourself down to a crunch position… then come back up. Tricky, huh? Repeat so you’ve done 2 sets of 12. Who knew sitting back could be as effective a way to tone your stomach as sitting up?
Want those nice lines that run vertically along your abs? Try these oblique crunches. Sit on a decline bench as though you were going to do a regular crunch, but with a twist, literally. As you complete the crunch motion, twist so your left elbow touches your right knee, and then, on the next crunch, tough your right elbow to your left knee. Do two sets of 12.
Yay, another crunch! This one is nearly identical to a regular crunch, only with a light-weight dumbbell in each hand. Crunch up from the decline bench like your normally would, but as you come up to the crunch position, raise your dumbbells to “punch” the sky. Aim for 2 sets of 12.
As if a regular set of crunches weren’t strenuous enough, right? This is the best, though, and it’ll definitely end up being one of the best ways to tone your stomach. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet up on a bench. Holding an 8 or 10 pound kettle ball in both hands, above your head, sit up, bringing the ball up with you, touching your shins. Lie back, bringing the ball above your head… but don’t let your back touch the ground before you sit up again… and bring that ball with you again… do 2 sets of 12.
Planking can be fun… and I don’t mean the fad, either! Lie on the floor face down, with your body straight. Balance on your elbows (keep them together) and your toes (legs together, too). Holding your body as straight as possible (don’t poke your butt in the air!), keep the plank position for as long as you can, aiming for at least a minute.
Remember these from gym class when you were a kid? Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, and stand up straight and tall. Then bend at the waist, twisting to touch your right fingers to your left toes… then stand up again, and bend to touch your left fingers to your right toes! This simple motion is one of the best exercises for a toned tummy… who knew?
Combine just about any exercise with the BOSU ball or an exercise ball, and you’ve found another way to tone your stomach. How? The effort of staying on balance works your core, which also, n turn tones your abs. Marvelous!
This sounds odd, but it works! Lie flat on your back, with your hands behind you head and your knees bent, like you’re about to do a crunch. Cycle your legs in the air, and crunch and twist to touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee.
If you’re looking for ways to tone your stomach, why would you try leg raises? Try these and see what I mean — they’re a great ab workout! Sit on a bench with your hands behind you for support, then slowly raise your legs, bending at the knee, til your thighs almost touch your chest. Make sure to keep your back as straight as possible, even if it means leaning back a little. Lower your legs, straightening them as you go, but don’t let your feet touch the floor before you bring them back up again. Repeat for 2 sets of 12 to 15. See? Excellent ab exercise!
This other type of leg raises can be another great way to tone your stomach. Lie flat on your back on the floor with your legs together and your hands at your sides. Raise your legs about ten inches off the floor, keeping your legs together and your knees straight. Leave them up for as long as you can, aiming for a minute. Wow… that burns!
Start in the same position as you did for the leg raises on your back, but this time, rather than just lying there with your legs in the air, make small kicks, then lower them back to the ground. This burns too, doesn’t it? That means it’s another great exercise to tone your stomach!
My trainer once told me that, if executed properly, the pushup is the perfect exercise. While I thought they just toned your arms, I was wrong — they tone your stomach, core, shoulders, back, legs… the list goes on! The trick is to keep your back straight, and not to poke your butt in the air.
Wow, there are so many ways to tone your stomach! And while some are difficult, and will certainly make you sweaty and sore if you do them right, and often enough, some are fun… and all of them will give you the toned abs you want. Which of these exercises do you think you’ll like best, and which do you think will be the hardest? Do tell!
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