The body part you can’t stomach? Your stomach, according to our poll. Tighten and trim your waistline with these four ab-sculpting moves from trainer David Kirsch.
Position your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor and place your shins on a stability ball. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels (a). Keeping your back flat, slowly bend your knees toward your chest (b). Pause, then return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20.
Grab a light dumbbell in your right hand and position your shoulders on a stability ball, feet flat on the floor. Form a straight line from knees to shoulders and lift the weight above your right shoulder (a). Raise your shoulders, bring the weight to your left thigh, and grab it with your left hand (b). Reverse the move to return to start. Do 15 to 20 reps on each side.
Lie on the floor with your arms at your sides, palms down, legs raised, and knees slightly bent (a). Lift your hips and twist them slightly to the right (b). Return to start. That’s one rep. Repeat on the left side; continue alternating for 15 to 20 reps.
Grab a dumbbell with your right hand and prop yourself up on your left forearm so your body is in a straight line. Hold the weight out in front of you at shoulder level (a). Slowly raise the weight toward the ceiling, arm straight, pulling your shoulder blades together (b). Return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20, then switch sides and repeat.
Not only do traditional crunches target just one of your main core muscles, but after a few minutes of the repetitive motion, that muscle fatigues and other areas (like your hip flexors and neck) take over to compensate. “The exercises below are better–they activate your abdominal wall from all angles, targeting your entire core in fewer moves,” says Michele Olson, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery.
Do it: Starting with the first exercise, complete the given number of reps, then immediately continue to the next move. Repeat until you’ve finished the entire workout.
Move 1: Stability-Ball Rollout
Kneel in front of a stability ball with your knees hip-width apart and your forearms on the ball (a). With a flat back, brace your core and slowly roll the ball forward as far as you can without dropping your hips (b). Pause, then bend your elbows to roll the ball back to start. That’s one rep. Do 10.
Move 2: Stability-Ball Pike
Start with your shins on top of the ball, arms straight, hands shoulder-width apart on the floor (a). Brace your abs and keep your legs straight as you raise your hips toward the ceiling, drawing the ball toward you (b). Pause, then slowly roll back to start That’s one rep. Do 10.
Move 3: Lying Leg Extension
Lie on your back with your knees and hips bent to 90 degrees, hands outside your shins and shoulders lifted off the floor (a). Straighten your legs in front of you and bring your arms back next to your ears (b) Pause, then reverse the move. That’s one rep. Do 10.
Move 4: Rotating Side Plank
Start in plank position (a). Rotate your body and roll onto your left forearm, stacking your right foot on top of your left in a left side plank (b). Hold for one or two seconds, then return to start; pause, then repeat on the other side. Alternate sides for 30 seconds.