Comfort food in cold weather is blissful but indulgence in macaroni and cheese can turn six-pack abs into muffin tops in no time. Adopt waist-whittling exercises that work deep into your core waistline to keep your toned midsection from going soft. Lose belly fat and develop strong, flat, and pulled-in abs with these simple moves. Combining this workout with an all-over strength and cardio routine will banish that muffin top. All you need is a mat and four weeks to reclaim your slim, strong stomach!
This routine will take up to 30 minutes. Up to four non-consecutive days a week, do one set of each exercise back to back. Rest 30 to 60 seconds and then repeat the circuit up to two more times.
- Lie face up with arms fully extended along sides. Bring legs to tabletop position, knees bent and lower legs parallel to the floor.
- Brace core and reach left arm up and behind head while right leg straightens but doesn’t touch the floor. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side to complete 1 rep.
Mistakes and Tips:
Do not let the lower back break contact with the floor. Keep the lower back pressed downward and abs tight.
- Lie face-up with knees bent into chest, hands behind head. Bend left knee into chest as right leg extends out almost parallel to the floor and right shoulder turns into knee (keep elbows open wide and avoid pulling on head), pulsing shoulder and knee closer together twice. Return to starting position and continue, alternating feet and arms each rep.
Pretzel Knee Crunch
- Sit in a pretzel position with right leg bent in front of body, left leg behind, and both knees at about a 90-degree angle. Keeping spine naturally straight, hinge slightly forward from hips, leaning torso forward at about a 45-degree angle to the floor. Bring hands together in front of chest. (Place hands on the floor for more support to make the move easier.) Lift left leg a few inches off the floor.
- Without moving the rest of the body, bring left leg toward right, trying to tap left thigh to left elbow. Return leg behind body without lowering it to the ground.
Reps: 20 per side
Elbow Plank Hip Rainbow
- Begin in a forearm plank position with feet hip-width apart and abs braced in tight. Lift hips slightly above shoulders.
- Rotate right hip toward the floor, pivoting onto sides of feet. Pull abs in deeper to spine and lift hips back up to starting position. Repeat to the left (imagine tracing a rainbow shape with tailbone). Continue, alternating sides each rep.
- Lie face down with arms and legs extended into an ‘X’ shape. Extend spine and lift chest, arms, and thighs off the floor, hovering above the mat (keep eyes focused down to avoid neck strain). Reach right arm up toward ear as left leg lifts slightly higher behind hip.
- Immediately switch sides to complete 1 rep. Try to keep torso as steady and still as possible during the movement. Continue, alternating arms and legs.
Mistakes and Tips:
To modify, keep your elbows slightly bent and concentrate on engaging the abdominals.
Stretches the abdominals and spine.
Think of widening your shoulder blades and sliding them down your rib cage as you lift your chest forward. You want to find an opening through your chest and an external rotation in your shoulders.
Side Plank Plié
- Begin in a stacked right-side plank position with right arm extended under shoulder, left leg crossed over right, left arm extended by ear, left palm facing down, and abs engaged.
- Bend both knees into a plié, shifting weight back toward feet (lower left foot all the way to the floor for more support) and lowering left arm by left thigh, palm facing up. Extend legs and return to starting position.
Reps: 10 per side