Standard stomach crunches only work the muscles on the front and sides of your abdomen. For real results, you need to target the deeper core muscles – and up the intensity of cardio workouts to blast away belly fat. Follow these moves and get a toned tummy, fast…
BUY A FITNESS BALL
Doing hundreds of crunches with no results? Invest in a fitness ball. Because the core has to work harder to stabilise the body on a ball, you’ll work the deeper core and side abdominal muscles that don’t get used when doing standard crunches.
To target the deep muscles and sides of your stomach, hold a medicine ball, dumbbell, or weight plate and sit on the floor with your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees, feet off the floor. Hold the weight straight out in front of you and keep your back straight (your body should be at about 45 degrees to the floor). Twist your body as far as you can to the left and then to the right and repeat.
DO THE PLANK
The plank is great for working the deep corset muscles that keep your back and abdominal muscles strong. Lie in a press-up position with your hands under your shoulders and feet. Hold for two minutes, keeping your body in a straight line.
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and lift both feet off the floor at a 45-degree angle. Bend your left knee to touch your right elbow with your right leg hovering off the ground. Now switch sides and speed up. Keep your shoulders off the ground.
Lie on your right side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder and legs on top of each other. Brace your stomach and lift your hips off the floor until you’re balancing on your forearm and feet so that your body forms a diagonal line. Hold for 30 seconds, longer if you can, then switch sides.
To work the lower abdominals, try the reverse curl. Lie on your back, with your arms by your sides and hands on the floor. Extend both legs upwards and use your abdominal muscles to lift your hips off the floor, reaching towards the ceiling. Lower back down. The slower and controlled the movement, the more intense the workout.
It’s no good having toned abs if you can’t see them! To show off your defined tummy muscles, up the intensity of your cardio exercise to burn fat. Run for 35 to 45 minutes, four days a week. Two of those days, do a steady-paced run, on the other two, do sprints. Don’t like running? Any sweat-inducing exercise is fine – like rowing, swimming, or cycling.