A toned tummy doesn’t come from crunches alone. You need to work all of your ab muscles (not just the big central one) to get a truly tight middle.
That’s why this workoutbased on the popular Abs Only class from Laurie Alstrom, group-exercise manager at The Sports Club/LA in Washington, D.C.is so effective. Give it 10 minutes a day for 3 days a week, add in some cardio, and you’ll lose 2 ab inches in 4 weeks.
Supported side plank
(works side and central abs, plus outer thighs and arms)
Kneel and lean the left side of your torso on top of an exercise ball. Press your left hand to the floor on the far side of the ball and extend your legs, pressing the outside of your left foot into floor and lifting your right leg to hip-height so your foot is in line with your hips and shoulders. Reach your right arm toward ceiling. Hold for 60 seconds or as long as you can, then switch sides and repeat.
Trainer tip: To work up to this advanced move, start with the lower leg bent and knee resting on the mat (don’t lift top leg); progress to both legs straight and stacked.
(works central abs, plus inner thighs)
Start lying down with knees bent and legs together, feet pressing into mat. Hold ball between hands above chest. Curl chin to chest and roll up, rounding over knees and reaching arms and ball out over legs. Slowly roll back down, keeping ball in front of chest, legs bent and together. Do 6–8 reps.
Trainer tip: To make this move easier, do without the ball; to make harder, hold ball between knees.
(works lower and side abs, plus butt and shoulders)
Start in plank position with ball under thighs and hands directly under shoulders. Lift hips, rolling ball back under shins without bending knees. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly return to starting position. Do 6–8 reps.
Trainer tip: To make this move easier, bend knees and bring ball in toward chest; to make harder, start with ball under shins and roll back to toes.
Photo: David Martinez (all)
(works central and side abs)
Lie face-up on a ball with your hips, waist, and lower back supported. Bend your right knee and lift, placing your right foot on wall. Place your hands behind your head, elbows open to sides. Do 15–20 crunches, then switch sides and repeat.
Trainer tip Keep abs engaged throughout the move. To make harder, lift both feet to the wall.