Any modern fitness guru will tell you that spot reducing body fat does not work. They are correct. The misconception comes from the firmness and shaping caused by muscle growth they briefly can suppress fat creating the illusion that there is less fat there. This effect is only temporary, and has no biological impact on burning body fat.
When we train our body through diet and consistent exercises our whole body is gradually changing with an overall reduction in our body fat. Unfortunately, we cannot do things like keep the booty or the bog boobs while just sculpting the arms and a super toned flat stomach. Do not despair; this is actually a good thing for our overall health.
It does not mean that we should stop training our muscles though. Flat stomach exercises still have a place in our routine. We want to build muscle everywhere, including the tummy, to ensure that our body will burn fat faster. Here are 8 of our favorite flat belly exercises:
Lie face up and flat on the floor with legs and arms extended. Your arms will be extended straight over your head with one hand overlapping the other to form a triangle shape with your arms. When you crunch up raise both arms and one leg. Keep the leg extended. The hands and leg will meet above your lower belly, so that your leg will be going straight up when the arms and legs meet. Alternate between your left and right leg. This exercise can also be performed using a stability ball in your home or at the gym.
Boat Sit Ups
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. First tilt your torso back so your thighs and torso make a v-shape. Extend your arms, palm facing up on the outside of your legs. Next lift your legs up so they form a right angle with your knee. Focus on your abdominal muscles, activating them to keep your back straight. Hold for five breaths or longer.
Lie face down on the floor. Have your arms out to either side forming a ninety degree angle. Push up with your toe and your arms so your torso leaves the floor. Make sure that your hands are directly below your shoulders. Push your heels towards the back of the floor to activate your thighs. Tuck your tailbone to align your spine and activate your abs. Hold this for at least 30 seconds making sure to keep your belly from sagging. To help you can pretend that there is an exercise ball beneath your belly, holding you up. As you perform flat belly exercises consistently you should build the muscle to be able to hold plank for longer.
The low plank is very similar to the basic plank above. Lie face down on the floor with your toes tucked in. Lift up on your forearms so that your elbows are directly below your shoulders. To give extra support you can shift your hands, so that your hands are overlapping. Make sure that you do not stick your butt up in the air. You should feel the same activation in your legs and abs, but the sensation in the abs will be a lot stronger than the regular plank.
Push-ups don’t just work your arms and chest; they also work your abs. We recommend doing pushes after you’ve done most of your belly work out, so that you will really feel the burn in this flat belly exercise. Start in plank. Scoot your arms out a little further than shoulder length apart. Next you will bend you arms outwards to make ninety degree angles away from your body. After you go all the way down to ninety degree angles with your arms push back up.
The Bicycle Crunch
Lie flat on the floor with your knees up and your shins parallel to the floor. Press your lower back to floor and feel your abdominal muscles contract. Put your hands behind your head with your elbows out towards the walls. Slowly twist your torso so the opposite elbow reaches to the opposite knee. The leg not twisted towards your elbow should be out with the foot about one foot from the ground. Alternate and keep breathing through the exercise.
This one is for the gym or for people who have equipment at home. Find the captain’s chair which looks sort of like what it sounds like but with no seat. You place your feet on the stand of the chair and your back to the padding. Put your arms and grip the handholds, feel your body stabilize. Pull your knees up to your chest without arching your back or swing your logs. Lower back down then repeat.
Vertical Leg Crunch
Lie on your back on the floor with your hands behind your head. Lift your legs so your calves are parallel to the floor with a 90 degree angle in the knee. Cross your ankles. Contract your abs so that your lower back touches the floor. Curl your shoulder blades and lower back off floor reaching the knees and chest towards each other. Release slowly. Repeat.
And there you have it – 8 exercises that will flatten your belly and build muscle while strengthening your whole body. For more workout ideas, check out this video showing high intensity workout techniques that will super charge your fat loss, and also this infographic that illustrates the benefits of high intensity interval training.
The above exercises can be incorporated in a high intensity workout.
Bonus Stability Ball Flat Stomach Workouts
Here’s a GREAT video detailing many flat stomach and ab targeting exercises you can do with a stability (swiss) ball. Stability ball’s are a great accessory to have at home or in the gym, and are very versatile – you can train many different muscle groups with this one simple piece of equipment. As an added bonus, it can even help your posture to sit on a stability ball rather than your office chair when you’re working at your desk in front of a computer for long periods.
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