The snow (for the most part) is gone and the sun shines brighter and brighter each day. And as each day gets warmer, the layers of clothing get less. Now that spring is officially here, it’s time to get serious about whipping our summer bodies into shape. And for many women, the one area that we love to show off during the summer months is our mid-section. Here are five exercises that will help you get a flat tummy in no time.
The V-ups can be done in either two positions: elbows on the floor behind you or your arms by your sides, hands planted near the hips. Start out reclined with your legs straight in front of you. Raise your legs off of the floor and bring your knees towards you while bringing your chest up to meet your knees. Be sure to keep your legs low but off of the floor at the same time. Extend back to the starting position.
Suitcase sit-ups are definitely not for the weak-hearted. Lie on your back and assume the position of a regular sit-up. Place a weighted medicine ball (between 10-15 lbs. is recommended) between your legs. Place your hands behind your head and bend at the elbows. Raise your head and legs at the same time so your elbows and knees meet at your torso. Hold for a beat and then release.
Lying Leg Raises
Lie flat on your back, placing your hands behind your behind. Keeping your legs as straight as possible, slowly raise them until they are perpendicular to the floor. Hold the contraction at the top for a beat before slowly lowering your legs back down. Helpful hint: performing this exercise on a bench will increase the range of motion by allowing your legs to hang off the edge.
Windshield wipers are normally done hanging from a pull-up bar by raising your legs and then rotate them from side to side. But it requires a lot of core strength and stability as well as a strong back. Doing windshield wipers lying down will help build the rotational core strength needed to perform them on a pull-up bar. Lie on your back on the floor and raise your legs straight up with your arms out to your sides. Rotate your legs to one side, stopping short of touching the floor. Then rotate to the other side.
The beauty of donkey kickbacks is that they tone the abs while burning fat and tightening the behind all at the same time. Start out by kneeling on all fours, toes tucked under, keeping your back neutral. Contract your abs by drawing your stomach in towards your spine and lift both knees two inches off the ground. Slowly bring your right knee to your nose then kick your right leg straight out behind you, squeezing your buttocks. Be sure to keep your lower abs contracted and your hips facing the ground to protect your back as you bring your right leg back to the starting position. Repeat with the left leg.