The perfect stomach is the holy grail of exercise -- highly desired and seemingly impossible to achieve. But just by doing brief stomach exercises every day, the goal of a flat stomach, or even a six-pack, can be in your reach. Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels has created popular video workouts that incorporate weights into daily stomach routines because abdominals recover quickly and are safe to exercise every day. Well, just about every day -- keep in mind that typical workout routines include at least one day off a week. Using weights during abdominal exercises can increase the intensity of a workout, and will cause you to continue burning calories hours after your routine is done for the day.
Using Weights to Work the Obliques
Targeting the muscle groups on the sides of your stomach can be tricky. One of the exercises on Michaels' ab-centric exercise video "6 Week 6 Pack" uses a single dumbbell to help isolate pesky obliques. Using a dumbbell of at least 5 pounds, stand with your legs slightly farther than hip-width apart in a slightly squatted position. Hold the dumbbell over your head, with one hand on each end. Focusing on using your oblique muscles, lean from the hips to the right and then back up to center. Repeat this action to the left. Concentrate on your obliques while you perform this exercise and you'll feel the results -- and the soreness -- right away
Using Weights for Definition
What good is all of your training if you have nothing to show for it? Adding weights into your daily abdominal routine will help build the appearance of muscle, giving you a sculpted six-pack. Make sure you're using a dumbbell with the correct weight for your exercise. If you can do more than 15 reps during a set, then you should increase the weight of your dumbbells. One exercise this works well with is the long-arm weighted crunch. Lie down on your back and bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor, as if you are going to do crunches. Grab two dumbbells and straighten your arms on the floor above your head. Using your abdominal muscles, crunch up while bringing your arms up, keeping your elbows in line with your ears. Don't bend your arms, and don't use your arms to sit up. Slowly return to the beginning position. Don't rush it -- that would be cheating, and you won't get as good of results.
Weights Help Target Deep Belly Fat
In a perfect world, you would be able to pick out which fatty pockets you want to destroy with an exercise and annihilate them. While it's not possible to directly spot-reduce fat, using weights every day for abdominal exercises can give you more success reducing pesky deep belly fat. Intra-abdominal fat, which is the fat that collects around your internal organs, is dangerous. Using weights to work your stomach every day can bring down your risk of diabetes and some cancers. Work your lower abs by adding a dumbbell into a basic bridge exercise. Lie on your back with your knees bent, as if you will be doing crunches. Squeeze a dumbbell between your upper thighs. Lift your buttocks off the floor, continually squeezing the dumbbell so it does not dislodge. Slowly return to the starting position. If you do this in a public gym, make sure you wear long pants or tight shorts.
Strong Muscles Prevent Injury
Cardio is great for burning calories, but weight training builds muscles, which support your joints and prevent injury. Weights can amplify the difficulty of your exercise, but that pain brings you big gain. Exercising your stomach every day with weights will deliver the ego-boosting results of losing fat and getting a better shape, with an added bonus of stronger muscles that can improve your health and protect your quality of life.
Meredith Berg received her B.F.A. in directing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Now living in Los Angeles, she works as a film and television writer, comic-book editor and director of plays and films. In addition, she loves tackling paleo recipes, workout routines and DIY projects.