Flat stomachs don’t come easily. They require hard work and hardcore workouts. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can get the toned tummy you want by doing the right exercises and eating a healthy diet. By engaging your abs in strength-training workouts and cardio sessions, you’ll not only achieve a flat stomach, but develop stronger, sculpted muscles along the way.
Before You Start
Before you start your hardcore ab workout, you need to know a few basics. First, you can work out all you want, but if you eat more than you burn, you won’t see results from your physical effort. To get the full benefit from your hardcore training, eat a balanced diet and make sure your calories don’t exceed what you’re burning in a day. Also, because there’s no such thing as spot reduction, your flat stomach will be part of a total-body fitness plan. While you can target specific muscles, you won’t be able to shed pounds from just one specific area. However, as you lose inches from head to toe and train your abs, you’ll reveal strong, sleek muscles in the process.
Hardcore Cardio Exercise
The best way to flatten your stomach is to attack it with hardcore cardio workouts. Cardio exercise blasts total calories and also strengthens the muscles of your core. By engaging in intense sessions of heart-pumping workouts like running, spinning or vigorous swimming, a 155-pound person can burn between 372 and 614 calories in 30 minutes, depending on pace and effort. If you do hardcore cardio workouts like these regularly, you’ll shed inches from head to toe, including your midsection.
At the Gym
With all the equipment available to you at the gym, it’s easy -- relatively speaking -- to get a hardcore ab workout. You can choose from machines, free weights and other helpful tools like stability balls, suspended cables and Bosu balls to drill your abs into submission. Some of the most advanced ab exercises at the gym include hanging leg raises, suspended cable knee tucks, decline bench crunches, medicine ball twists and hanging pikes. If you’re really hardcore, you can also add weight to your hanging leg raises by putting a dumbbell between your feet as you curl.
You don’t have to go to the gym to get a hardcore ab workout. You might be shocked to find out how much of a burn you can get by doing body-weight exercises and borrowing moves from the world of Pilates. Planks and two-point planks are unbeatable when it comes to developing strong ab muscles, and you can add side planks to target your obliques and make them a total-core workout. For the most hardcore crunches, do sets of cross-body crunches and air bikes, and then get ready for some Pilates. Try moves like the teaser, rolling like a ball and roll-ups for ab-tightening results.
Keep In Mind
If you’re going hardcore, you’ve got to be careful. You don’t want to overdo it and wind up getting hurt before you can even begin having fun with your new flatter abs. In all of the exercises, maintain proper form and take your time. Keep your abs and back engaged, and keep your back straight at all times unless you’re doing a crunch. When doing hanging leg raises and suspended cable knee tucks, be sure to keep your frame stable and don’t let it swing with momentum. And always be sure to check with your physician before starting any new workout plan -- especially if it’s hardcore.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.