Whether it’s springtime in the world, when the beaches beckon, you want to be in swimsuit shape. If you’re feeling a little flabby around the middle, or just want to do a little toning up, let these tips be your guide.
Do aerobic exercises daily
Sure, you can do 100 crunches a day, but if you’ve got a layer of belly fat covering up your ab work then what’s the point? You need to burn the top layer of stomach fat to see the changes. Cardio exercises will heat up your core temperature and improve circulation, both of which will aid in acquiring a flat stomach. Strive for at least 30 minutes a day minimum, but include 1-2 days of rest each week.
- Activities such as dancing, running, swimming, cycling, and walking at a good pace will all provide a great aerobic workout. In fact, anything that brings your heart rate up will do the trick! Boxing provides an excellent cardio workout, while the muscles involved in throwing punches will help to flatten your stomach.
- Try interval cardio training, such as alternating between sprinting and power walking. You can try sprinting for as long as you can. When you become too tired, you should walk. When you feel that you’ve caught your breath, sprint again. Do these alterations for a total of 20 minutes at a time.
Plyometrics are exercises that require “explosive power”. They combine cardio with strength training. Plyometric exercises are more suitable for experienced athletes than for the less experienced athlete or the older athlete, as there is risk of injury (falls, contusions, tendon injury and sprains). Some great plyometric exercises you can do at home include:
- Modified jumping jacks. Start standing, then jump up with hands and feet spread apart, creating an “X” in the air with your body, then land back in standing. Repeat as many times as you can.
- Squat-thrust push-ups. Start in push-up position, do one push-up, then push off with your feet and pull your knees up to your chest so your feet land between your hands (still on the ground in push-up position), then jump as high as you can, arms over head. Squat back down with your hands on the floor, then jump back to push-up position again. Do as many as you can do well with good form.
Incorporate strength training to build muscle
Having more muscle will increase your metabolism, so you’ll burn calories faster over time. Note that abdominal exercises will increase the muscle mass in that area, leading to a larger look unless you simultaneously follow the previous steps to shed body fat.
- Crunches work the upper abdomen, leg raises work the lower abdomen, and side bends work the obliques. About 15-25 reps each day should be enough. If you can do more than that, try adding a weights to your routine. Note that doing crunches will only build muscle underneath your existing belly fat, but will not burn that fat directly.
- Try using an exercise ball to work your tummy muscles. One great exercise is called the ball exchange. Lie flat on your back, with your arms extended over your head, holding the exercise ball. Lift the ball above your chest, simultaneously raising your legs (keeping them completely straight) off the ground. Place the ball between your ankles, then lower your arms and legs to the floor. Repeat the exchange, this time passing the ball from your ankles to your hands. Do 10-12 repetitions.
- Try compound exercises like deadlifts with heavier weights.
Do the simple three-step crunch
You will have a flat stomach in no time!
- Lie down on the floor with your hands on your side and your knees bent.
- Keep your feet on the ground and sit up.
- Repeat 10 times and increase the amount you do daily.