Everyone wants a six-pack. The idea that a flat stomach is the epitome of physical fitness has been encouraged by the media and fashion magazines over the last few decades. Getting a flat stomach is not as easy as you might think, since it requires consistent hard work and dedication to your food and diet. Here are five exercises that can help you get that toned stomach you had always wanted.
This is probably the most popular exercise for toning the stomach area. Lie on your back and cross your hands under your head. Your knees should be bent and the feet must be placed firmly on the ground. Initially you will contract your you abdominal muscles while lifting your shoulders and head towards the ceiling. Lift your chin straight up to avoid neck strain. Keep your abdominals contracted through the entire exercise, and hold this position for a second before slowly releasing and returning your head and shoulders to the floor. Do this 10 times, for a total of three sets, every other day.
2. Scissor Leg Crunches
Lie on the mat and place your hands underneath your head while bending your knees. Lift your head up slightly, twist, and bring your knee in until you can touch the right knee with the elbow of the left hand and vice-versa. You will find yourself crunching upwards and twisting while alternatively pulling each leg inwards. Do this movement very slowly to get the maximum benefit. Do three sets with 10-15 repetitions.
3. Raising Your Legs
This is a simple yet highly effective exercise. Lie straight on your back and then lift your legs up in the air. Initially lift one leg and then the other leg ten times. Then lift both the legs simultaneously in the air such that a ninety degree angle is formed. Count till ten and then allow your legs to descend back to the floor. Repeat this five times when you initially start and increase the number as you gain stamina. Keep your abdominal muscles contracted when you lift your legs.
Another excellent exercise for your core and abdomen is the plank. Lie down on your stomach on the mat with your legs straight. Lift your head up, and balance yourself on your hands or elbows like you are about to do a push-up. Your body should form a straight line from your head till your feet. Hold this position for 10-30 seconds to begin with, but build up-to 90 seconds. Do sets of three with a small break between each. Keep your abdominals contracted during the entire time you are in the plank position.
5. 90-degree Leg Crunches
This exercise will help tone the excess fat on the upper abs. Lie straight on your back on the mat and lift your legs up in a ninety degree position. Now try to reach the ceiling by straightening your arms and curling the shoulders. Remain in this position for a second and then slowly lower your body back to the floor. You will keep your legs in a 90-degree angle during the entire exercise, with your abdominals contracted. Repeat 10-15 times, for three sets.