Whether you want to get a flat stomach as a sign of abdominal strength or purely for its aesthetic appeal, you can rest assured that it’s attainable. But the reality is, it will only happen with the right amount of dedication and discipline. Fortunately, there are hundreds of exercises that you can do to strengthen your abdominal muscles, build muscle, burn fat and define your abs. Here are some of the exercises that you can do to get a flat stomach.
If you are serious about getting a flat stomach, then planks should be part of your workouts. Apart from helping you to get a flat stomach, planks will also enhance your posture, stability as well as spinal alignment. Also, planks tend to burn more calories, compared to other exercises like crunches or sit-ups, since they recruit muscles in the arms, rear, and legs. In short, it’s the go-to exercise when it comes to body toning. However, to get the most out of this workout, it’s important to learn how to do it well.
If possible, you should hold at least 3 planks for approximately 60 seconds each. But if you are new to this exercise, then you should start slow, so that you can avoid injuries. Just like any other exercise, maintain proper form throughout your workout sessions will help to minimize the risk of injuries. For instance, if you allow your hips to drop too much when you are performing planks, then you are putting yourself at risk of injuries like hypertension of the spine. Therefore, always ensure that your spine maintains a straight line all through when you are doing this exercise.
Your hands should be firmly placed on the ground, with the elbows forming a 90-degree angle. Try to keep your legs and feet together, as you tighten your abs and squeeze your glutes. Your neck should assume a natural position as much as possible. If you cannot maintain this position for 60 seconds, then you can start with shorter sessions of 10 seconds, 20 seconds and 30 seconds. On the other hand, if holding a plank for 60 seconds is too easy for you, then you can add some variations to make the exercise more challenging.
Similar to planks, push-ups or sit-ups, you can do this exercise anywhere. However, if you are doing it for the first time, it’s highly advisable to have someone guide you. Also known as running planks, mountain climbers work the shoulders, legs and most importantly the abs. Therefore, if you are trying to shed excess fat in your belly, then this exercise is highly recommended. Regardless of the length or intensity of your training session, make sure you maintain proper form when you are doing this exercise. Maintaining proper form will ensure you are working the right muscles while helping to minimize the risk of injuries. Depending on fitness levels, you can begin with 10 to 15 exercises per set, and then increase the intensity with time. To ensure maximum workout for your abs, you should bring your knees close to the chest, and then hold that position for some seconds. Your back should remain straight at all times.
Medicine Ball Slam
The medicine ball is one of the most versatile and effective implements in the gym. You can add them to any exercise and then train with them to add endurance, power, and speed to your workouts. When it comes to working the abs, the medicine ball slam is more effective than most of the other ab workouts. Medicine ball slams will help you to shed excess fat in your belly while helping your abs to grow more. To perform this workout, you will need some space and of course a medicine ball. You can use any medicine ball available in your gym. After that, you need to stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, and the hips and knees slightly bent. You then need to hold the medicine all using both hands and then engage your core, while drawing your abdominal muscles towards your spine. You can do different variations of this exercise, depending on the ab muscles that you want to target.
It’s advisable to start with a medicine ball of lower weight, and then add some more weight after mastering proper form. Also, don’t do too many sets at once. Instead, you should limit your sets to a maximum of 3 to 5 with up to 8 repetitions. Make sure you have adequate rest in between the sets. And if overhead slams appear too easy for you, then you can make this exercise more challenging by incorporating some burpees. Individuals with a weak core, shoulder pain or low back pain should approach this workout with moderation such as limiting the range of motion or starting with a lighter medicine ball.
According to the results of a study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise, bicycle crunches are one of the most effective exercises for the abdominal muscles. This exercise activates the front, upper and lower ab muscles, muscles at the side of your waist as well as intercostal muscles, which are found between the ribs. As much as this exercise appears easy, you will notice how challenging it is, to complete a single set. To perform this exercise, you first need to lie on a mat, facing the ceiling. Your hands should be behind your head. Once you’ve attained that position, you should then bring your knees close to the chest and then lift the shoulder blades slightly off the floor. You then need to rotate to the left while bringing your right elbow towards your left knee while straightening the other leg. Repeat this movement for up to 3 sets, with each set taking at least 12 to 16 reps. Make sure you switch sides to ensure all the abdominal muscles are involved.
Getting a flat stomach is not all about working the abdominal muscles only, you need to tone the whole body. The good news is that you have numerous approaches that you can use to tone your body and shed excess belly fat. First, make sure you incorporate daily walks into your routine. Instead of driving every day to work, you can instead take a cab halfway and then walk the remaining part of the journey. Aim to walk at least 30 to 60 minutes per day. Second, ensure you sleep enough. Getting adequate, high-quality sleep will help your body to fully relax and rejuvenate. Third, make sure you drink enough water. Drinking enough water will help to flush out toxins from the body. It will also help you to feel full for longer periods, thus helping you to avoid unhealthy snacks.
Getting a flat stomach is attainable for anyone, with the right combination of exercise and diet. However, the time it will take to achieve the results is different for everyone. It will depend on the amount of time you spend working out, your body fat percentage, your lifestyle as well as your diet. You may start seeing the results within a few weeks or even after several months. But as much as getting a flat stomach is your goal, don’t over-train or starve yourself, in an attempt to shed excess belly fat. As long as you are training well and you are not consuming more calories than you are burning, then you will eventually attain your goal.