A toned core is a hallmark of a sexy bikini body, but the time commitment involved in a stomach-training routine can be daunting, particularly for exercise beginners. You don't have to invest in a lot of fancy equipment or bone up on exercise jargon to get a flat stomach. A simple, short exercise routine can help you achieve the sexy stomach you want.
It might seem strange, but cardiovascular exercise is one of the best ways to tone your stomach. Regular cardio burns calories, and it can help you shed the layer of fat on your stomach that so often keeps muscles from peeking through. Engage in 10 minutes of cardio at the beginning of your routine. Warm up for two minutes by walking briskly, then pick up the pace to a sprint at close to your maximum speed. Sprint for one minute, then return to a brisk walk for one minute. Alternate between the two speeds for the full time. This interval training routine can increase your calories burned and even speed up your metabolism after you're done working out.
Crunches are an oft-loathed ab exercise, but if you do them right, you shouldn't feel pain and can quickly see results. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Then push your belly button toward the ground so your back is flat and your abs are tensed. Retain this posture as you lift your torso off the ground, holding for one second and exhaling as you lift. Put your hands across your chest or behind your head for support, but don't use them to actually lift your torso up; your abs should be doing this work. Perform as many crunches as you can in three minutes while still using proper form .
Planking can help you strengthen hard-to-reach lower abdominal muscles. It can also improve back strength and help you achieve better balance. Lie face down on the ground with your legs extended straight behind you. Gradually rise to the tip of your toes and push into a pushup position. Hold the position for 30 seconds and keep your back straight. Gradually lower yourself to the ground. Repeat the routine for three minutes. To target your waist and obliques, perform side planks. Lie on your right side and then push up using your right arm, stabilizing yourself with your left arm if necessary. Balance on your feet and hold for 30 seconds; repeat on the left side. Continue with side planks for two minutes.
The Hello Dolly is an exercise that targets your lower abs without placing unnecessary strain on your back. Lie on the ground, legs extended straight out. Elevate your legs about 6 inches off the ground and slowly spread your legs as far as they can comfortably go. Hold the position with your abs tensed for 10 to 15 seconds, then push your legs back together. Perform as many reps as you can in two minutes.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.