Tone Your Tummy

Seven exercises to tighten your abs.

Abdominal fat can be some of the hardest to lose. When fat cells congregate around your middle, they think they’re there to stay. But with hard work and dedication, they’ll finally get the point and go away.

Unfortunately, you can’t target what body fat you want to lose, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cut away your belly fat. With diet and exercise, you’ll lose weight. Tack on some tummy-toning and you’ll gradually get the stomach you want.

When it comes to toning your tummy there are a host of exercises you can do. If you’re tired of doing a plain old crunch and need some variety, try one of the following exercises.

Leg Lifts

Target your lower abs with leg lifts. Lie on your back and place you hands behind your head. Tighten you abs and butt muscles and slowly lift your legs. Keep them straight or slightly bent. Lower toward the floor then lift again. Repeat.

A variation of the leg lift can be done using the pull-up bar. Hang from the bar with your back straight, then lift your knees toward your chest. For increased intensity, keep your legs straight and lift them until they’re at a 90-degree angle with your body. Hold for three seconds and then lower. Repeat.

Arm and Leg Raises

Strengthen your entire core with opposite arm and leg raises. Get on the floor on all fours. Your knees should be under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Simultaneously raise your left arm in front of you to shoulder height and your right leg behind you to hip height. Hold for three seconds and lower. Next, alternate by raising your right arm and your left leg.

Chair Lifts

Sit on the edge of a chair and place your hands on the front edge of the chair. Lift your feet several inches off the floor and your butt up off the chair. Hold for at least five seconds. Lower yourself back down to the chair. Repeat.

The Plank

A simple, but highly effective abdominal exercise is the plank. Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders like you’re about to do a pushup. Align your head with your spine to keep your body straight. Hold this position for as long as you can. As you get stronger, hold the plank for longer.

If you need an easier version, hold yourself up on your elbows and toes.

Twisting Side Plank

A variation of the plank, the twisting side plank targets your obliques and tests and improves your balance. Rest on your left elbow with your legs straight, one leg on top of the other. Your left hand should be palm down on the floor. Place your right arm up behind your head. Slowly rotate your right side and right elbow down toward the floor in front of you. Raise back up and repeat. Switch sides.

Seated Twist

Sit on the floor and bend your knees. Lean back slightly while keeping your back straight. Hold your hands together in front of you then twist your upper body to the left and then to the right. Repeat. Increase the intensity of the seated twist by holding a small dumbbell or exercise ball in front of you while you twist.

The Bicycle

Another great exercise that targets your middle is the bicycle. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head for support. Raise your knees toward your chest and slightly lift your shoulder blades. Now rotate your body and bring your right elbow toward your left knee while straightening your right leg. Next, bring your left elbow toward your right knee and straighten your left leg. Continue alternating sides in a pedaling motion.

Why Trim Your Middle

Too much fat around your middle increases your risk of Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, heart disease, stroke, and migraines.

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