Looking for ways to flatten your belly without spending endless hours on the mat or at the gym. Try these five exercises just three times each week. You will begin to notice a difference in time for swimsuit season. In fact, this may just be the year you dare to wear that bikini you’ve been dreaming about.


Standing side crunch – Stand with feet hip width apart. That is about enough space to fit your two fists between your feet. Extend your right arm for balance. Place your left arm behind your head with elbow extended. Bending at the side, lift your left leg toward your left elbow. Aim for two sets of 10 to 15 reps per side.


V-Up – Lie flat on your back on a towel or mat with arms fully extended above your head. Keeping your core engaged and knees together lift feet off of the floor. At the same time lift your shoulders  and arms, reaching as if trying to touch your toes and your body moves into a V like position. Hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat for two sets of 10 to 15 reps.


Standing bicycle – Stand with feet together, abs engaged and knees slightly bent. Place hands behind your head. Twist the body slightly and bring the right knee toward the left elbow. Return foot to the floor and repeat 20 times before switching feet.


Abdominal hold – Sit on a sturdy chair with your spine straight. Place your hands face down around the edge of the chair – your fingers should be facing your knees. Keeping your abs engaged, lift your feet a few inches from the floor. Now lift your bottom so that you are holding yourself above the chair with your arms only. Hold as long as you can. Sit  and repeat for 30 to 60 seconds.


Planks – Get into position as if preparing to do a push-up. Hold your body so that your spine is straight, your feet are resting on your toes and your arms fully extended below shoulders. Remain in this position  as long as you can and build up to one minute as you build strength.


While you are working on whittling your middle, try these tips to slim your silhouette:

  • Avoid chewing gum, as well as food and drinks that cause excess gas and bloating.
  • Eat slowly to avoid swallowing a lot of air, which can also cause bloating
  • Stand up straight
  • Choose clothing styles that draw the gaze up. V necklines, forgiving fabrics and designs, eye catching jewelry and empire waists can draw attention away from tummy trouble.


If you just want to look and feel better in your clothes, these exercises will get you there in combination with a sensible diet. The goal is not perfection.  Hang in there.