Tone Your Abs With These 10 Super Moves

May 31, 2017
Do you want to get your waist back? Having a gym membership isn't the only way. Here are the best tried and true moves that will help you tone your abs!

Summer is right around the corner, are you feeling ready? For most people, body image is an issue in the warmer months of the year. If you’re looking to tone your abs, check out these moves. Every muscle in your core will feel sore!

As a plus, none of these moves require special equipment: you can do them in the comfort of your own home, without fancy tools. So move the couch and get working!

Want to tone your abs? Here are the basics

Humans usually carry excess weight around the belly. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s a common idea that belly fat is associated with aging as well as menopause in women. Diminished muscle mass caused by aging can be an important factor in the appearance of excess belly fat. On the other hand, estrogen decrease due to menopause or hormonal imbalances could also be the main culprit behind a flabby tummy, even if you’re not putting on extra weight.

If excess belly fat were just an aesthetic issue, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Nevertheless, belly fat includes not only fat just below the skin (subcutaneous fat) but also visceral fat. Visceral fat is the kind associated with chronic inflammation, which in turn can make you more prone to other kinds of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer or autoimmune disorders. In order to keep your health, it’s important to keep visceral fat to a minimum.

In fact, if you carry extra weight in your midsection, it’s very likely you suffer from visceral fat obesity. This makes you more likely to suffer from heart disease, as well as develop insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.

Your flat-belly action plan

As a first measure, before doing any physical activity it is essential to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Regardless of its location, excess belly fat is just excess fat: this means your calorie intake is greater than your metabolism.

Abs are just muscle. Thus, in order to tone your abs, it’s key to get rid of the layer of excess fat that is covering them.

To do this, you should consume less sugar and carbohydrates as well as do regular exercise (at least 3 times a week). Exercising more will help you tone your abs in two ways: first, it will jumpstart your metabolism and make you burn more calories; second, it will strengthen your abs muscles making them more prominent and helping you have a better posture.

Nevertheless, going to the gym isn’t your only option in order to tone your abs. Whether you don’t have the time or energy to actually move yourself to the gym, no worries! Here’s an ideal routine to do at home.

At-home moves to tone the abs

Routine 1

Leg Lifts

Leg lifts are the best move to tone your abs

  • Lie on your back on a mat.
  • Next, put your hands under your buttocks and stretch out your legs.
  • Then, lift them up together, with the tops of your feet aligned with your knees (so that your toes are pointing to the roof).
  • Your legs should be perpendicular to the floor.
  • Bring them back down without touching the floor with your heels. Do 20 repetitions.

We recommend reading: Swollen Legs: Causes and Cures

Leg and pelvis lifts

The initial position of this exercise starts where the previous exercise left off.

  • This means that you start with your legs up, perpendicular to the floor.
  • Then, lift them over backward, so that your feet go beyond the level of your head. Your pelvis will also lift up.
  • Do 30 repetitions.

Hands to ankles

This exercise requires coordination and flexibility (which you will improve with practice, don’t worry!).

  • Lie on your back on a mat and stretch your legs up as in the previous exercises. Remember to flatten your spine in order to protect your back from injury.
  • Leave them stretched up, because this time, you’re going to work on your torso.
  • Then, try to touch your ankles with your hands (at first you will reach your knees).
  • Your arms and abs will provide the impulse to reach up. Repeat 30 times.

Leg circles

  • Lying on the mat, stretch out your legs and position your arms beside your body.
  • Open both of your legs outwards at the same time, and move them like you’re “drawing” circles with them.
  • Do 20 repetitions and then repeat, but moving in the opposite direction.

Plank and sides

Plank

The exercise known as the plank is very efficient for burning belly fat. Although it’s very difficult and somewhat painful, the results are worthwhile.

Of course, there are many variations, such as including moving the body to the sides.

  • The points of support are the toes, the elbows, the forearms, and the hands.
  • Then, the rest of the body must swing from right to left without touching the floor.
  • Do as many movements as you can in 1 minute.

Exercise routine 2 to slim the belly

To make sure that you don’t get bored and that you can really work well on this challenging part of the body, here’s another series of exercises to say goodbye to belly fat:

Side Plank

  • First, start by lying on the mat on your right side, with your legs stretched out.
  • You can support the soles of your feet against a wall or a piece of furniture until you get used to the exercise.
  • Now, position your right elbow and forearm on the floor and lift up your hips.
  • To balance the body, lift your left arm over your head.
  • Then, hold this position for a few seconds and then swap sides.
  • Finally, try to do 5 lifts on each side.

Oblique abdominals

Oblique abdominals

  • First, lie on your back and bend your knees (supporting the soles of your feet on the floor).
  • Next, cross your right ankle over your left thigh.
  • Then, put your left hand behind your head and lift your torso to touch the raised knee.
  • Do 20 repetitions and repeat on the other side.

Vertical scissors

This is an exercise which is commonly used in Pilates and serves to strengthen the internal and lower muscles of the abdomen.

  • To start, lie on your back on the mat, stretching out your legs and putting your hands under your thighs.
  • Then, lift up your right leg as high as you can and, as you bring it down, lift up the left leg.
  • The movement is like a pair of scissors (hence the name) or a seesaw.
  • Do 20 lifts for each leg.

Bridge

  • First, lying on your back on the mat, you should put your arms beside your body.
  • Next, bend your knees and support the soles of your feet.
  • Then, lift your pelvis so that your torso rises off the floor.
  • The points of contact with the floor are the head, the shoulders, the arms, and the feet. The rest of the body should be in the air, forming a bridge or triangle.
  • After a few seconds in this position, come down slowly without touching the mat with your thighs. Do 10 repetitions.

See also: 3 Exercises for Strengthening Your Arm Muscles

Lunges with twists

This variation on this exercise not only works the legs but also the abdominals. On the other hand, you can do it with or without weights (you can hold the dumbbells between your hands).

  • Standing up with the spine straight, take a step forward with your left leg and bend your knee so that your body lowers down.
  • Your right leg should be stretched out with your knee facing the floor.
  • Then, twist your torso to the right.
  • Finally, come back to the center and return to the original position. Repeat 20 times with each leg.

  • Mens, J., Hoek Van Dijke, G., Pool-Goudzwaard, A., Van Der Hulst, V., & Stam, H. (2006). Possible harmful effects of high intra-abdominal pressure on the pelvic girdle. Journal of Biomechanics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2005.01.016
  • Urquhart, D. M., Hodges, P. W., Allen, T. J., & Story, I. H. (2005). Abdominal muscle recruitment during a range of voluntary exercises. Manual Therapy. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2004.08.011
  • Subirats Bayego, E., Subirats Vila, G., & Soteras Martínez, I. (2012). [Exercise prescription: indications, dosage and side effects]. Medicina Clinica. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.medcli.2010.12.008