Achieving a tighter and more toned stomach comes through a combination of a healthy diet and exercise. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot training, so in order to tone your tummy, you first need to lose the excess body fat around your core. A healthy diet made up of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of fruits and vegetables along with a consistent exercise routine will help you to lose weight, while proper core exercises will help to shape and tone your abdominal muscles, leading to a flatter, tighter stomach.
Lying Straight Leg Raise
Lie on your back on a bench or an exercise mat. Place your hands under your lower back and glute area to help support yourself. With legs straight, slowly bring your legs up until your hips are completely flexed. Your feet should be right above your hips. Engage your core as you lower your legs back to the floor. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
The plank is one of the best core exercises because it requires you to engage all of your abdominal muscles, including your obliques. To perform, lie on your stomach on an exercise mat. Place your forearms on the mat with your elbows under your shoulders. Place your toes on the floor with your legs together. Engage your core as you lift yourself off of the floor. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your feet. Keeping your core tight and engaged will help to keep you from arching your back. Hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute. Do three sets.
To perform a jack-knife, kneel on the ground with your chest on a stability ball. Push yourself over the ball, placing your hands on the ground to support your body. Walk your hands out until only your shins are on the ball. Slowly bring your knees into your chest until your heels are near your glutes. The ball will follow you, and you should be resting just the tops of your feet on top of the ball now. Push your legs back out until they are straight and the ball rests on your shins. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
A V-up requires balance and coordination to perform, thus requiring you to engage your entire core in order to hold the position. To perform, lie on your back on an exercise mat with your legs straight and your arms straight behind your head. At the same time, bring your legs and arms up, creating a "V" shape with your body. Lower back to the mat. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.