6 Tips for Flat Abs
Two fitness gurus offer their secrets for toning and tightening the tummy.
Flat Ab Tip No. 2: Think Whole-Body Exercise continued...
"Fitness needs to be intelligent," says Barrett. "Do slow,
Neporent recommends Pilates "because the focus is the core, but it
doesn't just work the abs in isolation," she says. That means you're using
your abdominals, but you're also using your arms and legs, back muscles, and
"Crunches are fine, at first, but relatively quickly, you'll have to
progress to something else to get that area worked," she says.
Pilates focuses on developing not just the rectus abdominis (top abdominal
muscle layer) as a crunch does, but the internal and external obliques (the
side abdominals) and the transversus abdominis (the deepest abdominal
"Work your core in 3-D, hitting the sides, back, and middle,"
Plank: Start on your hands and knees and come up into a push-up plank
position, balancing on hands (or elbows) and toes (or knees). Align wrists
under shoulders; keep your back straight and the abs and glutes tight (to keep
the back from sagging). Hold the position and breathe out for 10 seconds,
exhaling to tighten the abs and draw the navel to the spine.
Leg Lowers: Lying supine, curl the upper body, chest over ribs, with
your hands behind your head. Lift the legs up with knees bent at 90 degrees,
knees over hips, ankles level with knees. Keeping the hips down, slowly lower
the legs toward the floor without changing the bend in the knees, then lift
them back up.
Seated Rotations: Sitting up, bend knees and legs together and place
arms across the chest or in front of you. Tuck the tailbone and roll back
slightly as you alternate rotating the spine right and left.