For many of us, it’s the holy grail of getting fit: finally achieving a tight, toned tummy! Now that I’m 4 months post-baby, most of my body thankfully feels back to normal, but I’ve got to admit that those flat abs that came so easily to me in my twenties haven’t quite reappeared. Since I’ve accepted the fact that I’m going to have to work a little harder for them this time around, I asked the girls of MOD Fitness (who have some of the flattest abs in town) for their secrets. Click through the slides for their top 5 moves that’ll tighten your tummy, and try to complete at least 3 of the exercises 4 times per week for a stronger core. Watch out: you just might find yourself finally hitting the “buy” button on that crop top you’ve been eyeing for fall…
*photos by Jess Attie, location: MOD Fitness, Austin.
Wide second standing abs (do it for 60 seconds)
A standing abdominals series is a great starting point for people looking to tone their obliques with added benefits – in wide second position, you will engage your hamstrings and glutes and strengthen your postural muscles.
- Step feet outside hips, toes turned out diagonally. Bend knees to lower down into your wide second position with inner thighs parallel to the floor. Place hands behind head and pull in your core.
- Start by laterally hinging from your waist to the right, exhale as you use your obliques to pull yourself back to center and repeat on the left side.
- Remember to lengthen tailbone to floor, soften your ribcage and maintain a flat back for optimal alignment.
Abs with ball under lower back (do it for 60 seconds)
We love this exercise because you’re forced to engage your deep abdominal layers called your transverse abs – they wrap around your core like a corset. This move is a killer and especially great for women!
- Start by lying on your back. Lift your hips and lower back off of floor and place a ball under your lower back (we use Fitball’s at the studio). Reach arms along floor for stability.
- Imprint your lower back in the ball and extend your legs straight at the diagonal.
- Exhale as you lower the legs 4 inches, inhale as you lift the legs back to your starting point. It’s important to keep you abdominals flat and pull your belly button towards your spine.
- Second set: Follow the above steps with a turned out stance: Heels together and toes 4 inches apart.
Dolphin Plank Pike (2 sets of 10 reps)
Grab a towel for the ultimate core challenge! This move is sure to get your core trembling and all you need is a small hand towel from around your house.
- Fold your hand towel in half and place it on the floor under your toes (wood or concrete floors is best so you can slide). Start in a forearm plank position with elbows under shoulders, feet hips width apart and abs pulled in tight.
- Inhale as you press down through forearms and slide your feet towards your elbows by piking or lifting your hips up and pushing your chest towards the thighs.
- Exhale as you slide feet back to starting position with control.
- Keep your core tight throughout the entire exercise.
Twisted Root Abs (2 sets of 30 reps)
Twisted root will work your upper abs. Crossing your legs in this position makes it all the more challenging.
- Start by lying on your back with feet on floor and arms out to side making a goal post. Lift your knees so that they are aligned above your hips with a 90 degree angle behind the knees. Cross your right leg over your left knee (as if you’re sitting in a chair) and wrap your right ankle under your left ankle or as far as it will go.
- Curl your head, neck and shoulders off the floor.
- As you exhale, extend your arms straight above knees and cross your right wrist over the left. Lower with control, tapping your elbows to the floor in goal post position. On the next curl, cross your left arm over right for 1 rep.
- Do 30 reps and switch legs.
Curl with Ball (2 sets of 30 reps)
The ball is one of the popular tools we use to engage your core, strengthen your abs and lengthen the spine. Grab a playground size ball to use during this exercise. It will provide the extra support for your lower back while adding and extra abdominal challenge.
- Start by sitting on your mat, feet hips distance apart, and place the ball behind your lower back.
- Clasp hands behind your head, pull your abdominals in and rib cage together.
- Inhale as you very slowly lower into the ball creating an L-shape and arch over ball. Exhale as you slowly lift and return back to starting position.
Big thanks to Hollie, one of my favorite instructors at MOD Fitness Studio, for demo’ing these moves so beautifully. (Seriously, the girl has amazing form AND consistently dons the best workout outfits ever. Never fails to inspire me when I take her class!)
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