This One is for Your Abs

Best Exercises for toning your abs


Your Workout Plan for Sculpted Abs
by Harold Irby, Personal Trainer | Health and Fitness | Monday, March 16, 2015

You're tired of the beer belly. 



You want your love handles gone. 



You dream of what it would be like to have a six pack… 

On top of being less than attractive, excess belly fat increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease. While your midsection is one of the most difficult areas of the body to trim and tone, it can be done! But it's going to take some work. 



If your abs are completely hidden under an oversized belly, it takes more than just crunches to reveal toned muscle underneath. To burn off this extra layer of fat, you'll need to increase the intensity and consistency of your workouts and cut the junk out of your diet. 
Get 30 to 60 minutes of challenging exercise 3-4 days each week. In addition to your regular workouts, include an ab workout every other day. So, what should your ab-centric workout look like? Check out the exercises below to determine what you should add to your ab routine. Choose four to six of the following exercises and perform 15 to 20 reps of each. 



The Bicycle

One of the best ab workouts that also works your obliques (side muscles) and back is the bicycle. Lying on a mat, put your hands behind your head and gently support your head with your fingers. Lift your knees toward your chest and lift your shoulder blades up off the floor. Twist your body toward the right, bringing your right elbow toward your left knee as you extend your right leg out straight. Switch sides by bringing your left elbow toward your right knee and extending your left leg. Continue in this pedaling motion. 



The Crunch


A classic exercise known for effectively toning abs, the crunch starts as you lie on your back, bend your knees, and keep your feet flat on the floor. Bend your elbows and cross your arms over your chest. Keeping your lower back on the floor, use your ab muscles to lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Hold for three seconds, lower back to the starting position, and repeat. 

Reverse Crunch


Targeting a tough area to tone—your lower abs—the reverse crunch is another great abdominal muscle workout. Lying on a mat, keep your arms at your sides with your palms facing down. Lift your knees up toward your chest until your knees are bent 90 degrees. Using your abs and avoiding a rocking motion, curl your hips and lower back up off the floor, lifting your legs toward the ceiling. Hold for several seconds and then lower your hips down. Repeat. 



Trunk Rotation

To do a trunk rotation, you'll need a dumbbell or medicine ball. While sitting on the floor, hold the weight near your body, lean back slightly, and bend your knees so your heels touch the floor. Twist your body to the right, hold for a second, twist to the left, and then repeat, twisting to the right next. 



Front Plank


Planks work your abs as well as your back. Lying face down on the floor, place your forearms on the floor. Lift your body up on your forearms and toes, keeping your elbows under your shoulders. Using your core muscles, hold yourself up for as long as you can until lowering to the floor. Practice your planks until you can hold yourself up for 60 seconds or longer. 



Bird Dog

Another exercise that works both your abs and back is the bird dog. In a kneeling position with your hands and knees on the floor, raise your left leg up behind you until it's parallel to the floor. At the same time, lift your right arm up in front of you until it's parallel to the floor as well. Hold for a second, lower your leg and arm back to starting position, lift your right leg and left arm, and repeat. 



Remember that your diet also plays a huge part in getting flat, sculpted abs. Cut out all the junk from your diet by eating wholesome, real foods and drink plenty of water. 




5 Steps to Sculpted Abs

1. Stay Hydrated. Drink water throughout the day, rather than calorie-filled drinks.

2. Cut Your Carbs. Eliminate bread from your diet, as well as carb-filled snacks like pretzels or chips.

3. Exercise Your Abs. Perform the above ab exercises every other day.

4. No More Sugar. Eating sweets is the easiest way to gain fat, so avoid sugar.

5. Make Exercise Count. Make sure your exercise routine is consistent and effective.


Harold Irby is a certified personal fitness trainer and Mr. Michigan body building champion with over 20 years of experience in weight training, body building, sport specific training and strength conditioning. Harold has worked with many professional, college and high school athletes, as well as celebrities and business professionals seeking a healthy and fit lifestyle through his personal training and fitness center Xtreme Advantage

Photo credit: Getty Images

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