Ditch the pooch! Tone your middle using the best exercises to lose belly fat.

Ab exercises go beyond the basic crunch. Yes, that one you had to do during middle school PE. In fact, if you want to strengthen your core and define your muscles, you should vary the exercises you do.

The abdominal region isn’t just one big muscle. The rectus abdominis is what causes that famous “six pack” shape. To each side of these, you have internal and external obliques, as well as the transverses abdominis, which are often referred to as the body’s natural corset. If you want strong, tight abs, you need to target all of these muscles, which mean you need more than just crunches.

Varying your ab exercises helps you target all the important muscles. Make sure to devote time to your lower abs, upper abs, as well as your sides.

Additionally, because so many of us store fat in our belly region, moves that incorporate cardio helps our abs appear more defined. As you lower your body fat percentage, your muscles are better able to show through.

These are our 15 top recommended ab moves!

What to Do: Choose 4-6 exercises and complete the recommended number of sets. Take 30- to 60-second breaks in between sets.

1. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are one of those ab moves that double as cardio. The faster you go, the harder your heart will have to work.

They work your abs by forcing you to engage your core in the plank position. You’ll see that you need to tighten your middle to perform this move correctly. Mountain climbers work your lower abs, as well as your shoulders and quadriceps.

What to Do: Perform 3 sets of 40 reps (20 each side).

2. Russian Twists

Russian twists are one of the best ab exercises to work your obliques (the muscles on the side of your torso). If you keep your legs off the ground, you’ll also work your lower abs. Beginners can perform this exercise without weights, and add dumbbells once they grow stronger.

What to Do: Perform 3 sets of 40 reps (20 each side).

3. Leg Lifts

The thing with leg lifts is that they’re deceptively simple. The first few reps won’t feel like much, but your abs will start to burn by the end of your set. Burn, baby, burn!

Leg lifts target your lower abs. You might also feel your thighs working to keep your legs straightened out together.

What to Do: Perform 3 sets of 20 reps.

4. Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch is a harder version of leg lifts. You add an extra degree of difficulty when you lift your hips off the ground. This extra lift shifts the focus on the upper abs, making reverse crunches a more rounded exercise. They target the rectus abdominis and are a great exercise if you want a defined six pack.

What to Do: Perform 3 sets of 12 reps.

5. Plank Hip Twist

Plank hip twists target the obliques and the transverse abdominal. You’ll also get a little bit of upper body action because your shoulders and arms have to work to keep you steady.

To get the most out of this exercise, focus on keeping the proper plank position. Raising your hips too far up into the air, or letting them sag too much, takes the focus away from the abs. Additionally, if you’re swaying too much from side to side, chances are your abs aren’t properly engaged.

What to Do: Perform 3 sets of 40 reps (20 each side).

6. Up & Down Plank

These challenging planks will make your shoulders and biceps burn, but they’ll also work your abs. In order to maintain proper form, you’ll have to engage all the muscles in your core.

What to Do: Perform 3 sets of 24 reps (12 each side).

7. Woodchop

The woodchop is the most common (and one of the most effective) standing exercises. Any exercise that has you turn your torso from side to side like this works the obliques. They’re great for tightening your sides, adding definition, and improving your core stability.

What to Do: Perform 3 sets of 40 reps (20 each side).

The post Ditch The Pooch! 15 Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat & Tighten Your Tummy appeared first on Skinny Ms..

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