When most people think of getting a flat stomach they think of running for hours on end and doing a countless number of crunches. However, this might be one of the least effective and most tiring methods of shedding belly fat.
There are many different exercises that engage all of the core muscles, rather than the select few that crunches target, which are much more efficient at toning and fat burning.
Here are 4 exercises that can help you tone your midsection and burn fat at the same time.
1. Abdominal Twist
This exercise is different from most typical core exercises as it involves a twisting movement, which activates the obliques as well as the abdominal muscles. This ensures that sides of your midsection will be toned just as well as your stomach, making it a perfect exercise for preventing or getting rid of love handles.
To do this exercise, lay on your back with your feet flat on the ground and your knees pointing upwards, the exact same as the beginning position of a crunch.
Bring lift your upper body up until it is about 45 degrees off of the ground. Twist your upper body to your left, go back into the neutral position, then twist your body to the right. This is one rep.
If you are able to, lift your legs off the ground to further activate your abdominal muscles. If this is still too easy, hold a dumbbell in your hand while you perform the exercise.
2. Scale Pose
This is one of the best types of exercises when it comes to toning and fat loss, and the scale pose is one of the best poses when it comes to core resistance training.
The scale pose is an isometric exercise, meaning that you are not contracting your muscles during the exercises, you are just holding the position.
Researchers have found that isometric exercises are correlated with lower levels of fat, making this exercise extremely beneficial when it comes to toning and getting rid of belly fat.
To perform this exercise, sit down in a crossed legged position and place your palms face-down on the floor beside your hips.
Exhale and push your hands against the floor, flex your ab muscles and try to lift yourself off of the floor.
If you find that you can’t lift your entire body off the floor, just try to push against the floor until you feel significant resistance and hold that position.
Try holding this position for ten to fifteen seconds.
3. V Pose
This is another exercise that is excellent for both it’s fat burning and stomach toning effects.
Sit down with your legs extended straight out in front of you. You can then either grab each of your big toes or anywhere on your calves, this hold will act as a stabilizer to assist you in performing the exercise.
Lean, or use momentum to “rock” backwards while at the same time flexing your core muscles until you resemble a V shape, such as the one shown in the picture above.
If you feel like more challenge, once you get to the V position let go of your legs/toes and try to hold yourself in this position using only your core muscles (this might be difficult, not recommended for beginners).
Hold for ten to fifteen seconds.
4.The Swan Dive
The swan dive is an incredibly beneficial and underrated core exercise due to it’s focus on the posterior chain. The posterior chain is the group of muscles that make up the back of the body.
Making sure these muscles are properly toned and strengthened are crucial for injury prevention and increased core strength, which means that it will make all of the typical core exercises that focus purely on your abs easier and safer to perform.
This is because a majority of core exercises heavily involve the use of the posterior chain. This means that if the muscles that make up your posterior chain are weak, performing these exercises will be more difficult for you and will result in an increased risk of injury.
To perform this exercise, lie of your stomach with your arms fully outstretched in front of you and your legs fully outstretched behind you. Lift your upper body, along with your arms, off of the ground as much as possible.
If you feel like you need more resistance, lift your legs off of the ground as well, keeping them straight the entire time.
Hold this pose for 10-15 seconds.
So, now that you know the benefits of all of these exercises and how to perform them, here is how to include them into your workout schedule:
Start off with doing four sets of abdominal twists. Perform 5 repetitions for the first set, and then try and perform between 8-10 repetitions for the second and third set.
For the second and third set, the 8-10 reps should be a challenge but if you find they are too easy or too hard you can decrease or increase the amount of repetitions based on your preference.
Then, for the last set, go all out and try to do as many repetitions as possible.
Try to only take a 30-45 second break in between sets.
For the following exercises, the scale pose, the V pose and the swan dive, you will not be performing “repetitions”, since they are isometric exercises. Instead, you will hold each pose for 10-15 seconds (or longer, depending on your strength levels) and then take a break that is only 10 seconds longer than the amount of time you held the position for.
So, for example, if you held the position for 10 seconds you would only be taking a 20 second break. Do this four times for each exercise.
This article was originally published on FamilyLifeGoals.com. It is republished here with permission.