Ab-Centric Exercises To Tone Up Your Midriff

For many people, toning up the stomach is the most difficult and time-consuming bodily area when you’ve lost weight. This problem doesn’t have to be one you suffer with though, with these exercises being ideal for toning and strengthening your abdominal muscles.

Abdominal Hold

This is an awkward looking exercise, but the results are well worth it. All you need is a chair and your body weight, making it ideal for doing whenever you catch a spare five minutes. Begin by sitting on the edge of a sturdy chair with your back kept straight, and place your hands on the edge with your fingers pointing towards your knees. Tighten your abs and bring your toes two to four inches off the floor, lifting your bum off the chair. Hold this position for as long as you can, aiming for a minimum of five to ten seconds, then lower yourself down and repeat. You should repeat this exercise for one minute.

Side Crunch

This is a deceptively difficult move, testing your oblique muscles and your hips. Kneel on the floor and lean all the way over to your right side, placing your right palm on the floor. Keep your weight balanced and slowly extend your left leg, pointing your toes. Place your left hand behind your head, pointing your elbow toward the ceiling. Next, you need to slowly lift your leg to hip height as you extend your arm above your leg with your palm facing forward. Look out over your hand while you bring the left side of your rib cage towards your hip, then lower to the starting position and repeat 6 to 8 times. You need to do two sets of six to eight reps, then switch sides.

The Hundred

A machine-free Pilates move that will leave you amazed at the results, this exercise begins with you sitting tall on a mat with your knees bent by your chest and your hands by your sides. The lie down with your knees bent and your palms facing down, before exhaling and raising your head and shoulders off the mat. Vigorously pump your arms six inches up and down, reaching with your fingertips. Inhale for five pumps then exhale for five pumps; be sure to curl your chin in towards your chest when you’re doing this. Do 100 pumps or ten full breaths. Try to keep your lower back pressed in towards the floor and your lower abs pulled in towards your spine. You should keep your abs engaged throughout the workout.

Opposite Arm and Leg Raise

This builds strong core muscles and really improves your balance. Begin on all fours and align your knees under your hips, with your wrists under your shoulders. Raise your left arm to shoulder height and your left leg to hip height, holding for two counts before reaching forward with your fingers and back with your heels. Repeat this exercise on the opposite side, doing 15 to 20 reps on alternate sides. If you want to up the challenge, touch your opposite elbow to your knee as you pull your arm and leg in.



The Prone Plank    

This is a great move that you can do anywhere as it’s so simple. Get into a full push-up position with your palms on the floor beneath your shoulders. Hold here for 30 seconds with your abs tight, and your arms and legs extended. Be sure to keep your head aligned with your spine during this part. As you build strength, you’ll be able to hold this position for even longer, up to one minute.

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