Getting a flat stomach may help you feel sexier, and may be an indication of your overall health. There are many exercises designed to help you tone your midsection. Some ab exercises will require the use of exercise equipment. In other cases, you'll be able to perform the exercises from the comfort of your own home.
Stretching helps create limber muscles and increase dexterity. You should make it a habit to stretch before undertaking any type of workout routine. Side twists are good stretches that help loosen up your lower back and abdominal muscles. In the starting position, your legs should be shoulder-width apart. Hands should be placed on your hip, and eyes focused straight ahead. Twist your upper body to the left. Follow through by twisting your back and head. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Repeat on the right side.
Overhead arm stretches help loosen up your middle and lower back as well as your abs. Lie on your back with your legs flat on the floor. The small of your back should be against the floor. Your arms should be placed straight over your chest, with your palms facing the ceiling. Lower your arms over your head. Attempt to press your arms flat on the floor. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Release the stretch slowly, bringing your arms back to the starting position.
Side bends are a good stretch for your back and side abdominal muscles. Your feet should be flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Slightly bend your knees. Put your left hand on your left hip. Extend your right arm straight up, with your palm facing the ceiling. Reach your right hand over your head, bending your waist to the left. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Repeat on the right side.
Crunches are a great way to flatten your stomach and give definition to your abs. Lie flat on your back, and extend your legs so that they are pressed against the floor. Your hands should be cupped behind your ears, with your elbows extended out. Keep your lower back in contact with the floor as you raise your upper torso three inches from the ground. Hold for one second before returning to the starting position. Complete three sets with 10 reps. You can increase the number of sets or reps as your tolerance increases.
Straight leg raises are good for developing your lower abs. Lie on your back, with your hands under your hips. Your lower back should be pressed firmly against the floor. Your head should be up, with your chin into your chest. Shoulder blades should be off the floor. Your legs should be extended. Keep your feet flexed, with your heels two inches from the floor. Raise your legs until they are perpendicular in the air. Lower your legs slowly, making sure to stay in control. Complete three sets with 10 reps.
Hanging knee raises work all your abdominal muscles, plus your hips, shoulders and back. Hang from a bar with your legs extended. Bend your knees. Raise your knees as high as possible, making sure to control all movement. Complete three sets of 10 reps.
Cross-training exercises are a good way to burn calories. Boxing, running, skiing, swimming and cycling are all good ways to flatten your stomach. As your exercise tolerance increases, you can increase the intensity of the exercises. High-intensity exercises allow you to burn more calories faster.
Interval training is a good way to burn a significant amount of calories. Interval training combines high-intensity and low-intensity periods in your workout. For example, if you're running, a portion of your workout will consist of all-out sprints, while the other portion may be light jogging. A 20-minute session may be divided by alternating high-intensity and low-intensity every two minutes.
The key is to stay active, doing physical activities you enjoy. Whether playing basketball or racquetball or doing some other physical activity, aerobic exercise plays a huge role in flattening your stomach. You should try to exercise at least three times a week. Take a day off in between workouts to allow your ab muscles to recover.
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