Abs rank among the top places most people would like to tone. Chances are you are among that number. Whether you need to shave a little or a lot off your muffin top we’ve got you covered so you can uncover with confidence. Bye-bye baggy t-shirts. These exercises let you sport your best body.
Extended leg front lifts
To get started grab a chair, bar or wall for support – stand with heels together and toes apart. Now extend your right leg straight in front of you. Lift that leg as high as you can. Grab your support with your left hand if you need help to keep your balance. Finally, keeping your abs engaged, fully extend your right arm over your head. Hold and repeat for desired number of reps before switching to the left leg.
Looking for a move that strengthens the deep abdominal muscles? V-Sits are it. To do them sit on the floor and bring your legs into your chest. Engage your core muscles while slowly straightening your legs, pointing them out and up. Raise your arms to maintain your balance. As the exercise name suggests your body should form a “V”-shape. Remain in the position for a count of ten. Be sure to keep your back straight and your abs pulled in tight.
The Pilates 100 is a killer core exercise that is in every ballerina’s fitness tool bag. Add it to yours. Dena Stern offers the basics: Begin by lying flat on your back with both legs bent and feet flat. Pull your abs in tight as if moving your navel toward your back. Slide your rib cage toward your hipbones. Maintain correct form for the entire exercise. Concentrate on not letting your ribs fly up or letting your lower back lift off the floor and raise your knees to table top position —forming a 90 degree angle with the floor. Place hands palms down along the length of your body. Nod yes to bring your head and the top of your shoulders off the ground, sliding your fingertips closer to your toes. Extend your legs only as low as you can continue to maintain proper form; if your lower back lifts from the floor, lower your legs a bit. Your gaze should be on your lower abs—make sure they are tucked in tight. If you’re doing the exercise correctly just holding this position should feel challenging.
Begin moving your arms up and down with palms still facing the floor. Push the air down with each movement to create resistance. Move your shoulders down and away from your ears. Synch your breathing with your arm movements. Exhale forcefully five times while you move your arms up and down then take a smooth five second inhale for five more arm movements. This is one rep (10 arm moves plus 10 breaths). Repeat 10 times for a total of 100 movements to get to the Pilates 100.
Complete this routine at least three times each week. Be sure to plan for at least one rest day between sessions. Add in front and side planks and you’ve got the makings of washboard abs. No tutu or performance dates required.