As you probably know by now, floor exercises for the stomach such as sit-ups and crunches aren't overly effective when it comes to flattening your midsection. Weight-lifting exercises are a better choice because they build muscle. Muscle needs calories to maintain and repair itself, which means the more muscle you have throughout your body, the more calories you burn even when your sitting on the couch watching reruns of "The Real Housewives." Weight-lifting exercises done at a high intensity that target multiple muscle groups will build muscle and burn fat, resulting in less body fat and a flatter stomach. To get your flattest stomach possible, combine strength training with regular cardio and a balanced diet.
Work the front of your stomach by lying face up on a decline bench with your feet secured at the high end. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended above your chest. Contract your stomach to push the weights upward and lift your shoulders off the bench. Slowly lower back down.
Target the side of your stomach with the Saxon side bend. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended overhead. Stabilize your stomach, and then bend your torso to the left as far as possible without twisting your upper body. Return to the upright position, and then bend to the right. Continue to bend from side to side.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of your stomach. Contract your abs, straighten your back and lower into a squat as you twist your torso and lower the weight toward your right foot. Return to standing and lift the weight up diagonally toward your left shoulder. Repeat the movement in the other direction.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level with your elbows bent. Position your feet to shoulder-width apart, stabilize your stomach, straighten your back and lower into a squat until your thighs reach parallel. Push through your heels to return to the standing position. As you near standing, press the weights overhead.
Stand with your feet slightly apart and hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of your stomach. Take a large step forward with your right leg. Lunge slowly onto your lead leg and rotate your torso to the left. Return to the standing position, and then repeat the exercise with your left leg.
Place a kettlebell on the floor and straddle it with a shoulder-width stance. Squat down and grasp the handle with an overhand grip. Straighten your back, contract your stomach, and then push through your heels to straighten your legs and hips and swing the kettlebell upward. Allow the weight to swing back down between your legs then immediately swing it upward again.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and get in the plank position with your hands directly below your shoulders and resting on the dumbbells. Straighten your back, stabilize your hips and tighten your stomach. Keep your body in a straight line as you transfer the weight of your upper body onto your right arm. Bend your left arm to lift the weight to your chest. Lower the weight and repeat the exercise with your right arm. Continue to alternate back and forth.
- ExRx.net: Dumbbell Push Crunch
- Body Results: Alpine Core Training Beyond The Floor
- American Council on Exercise: Walking Lunges with Twists
- ExRx.net: Kettlebell Two Arm Swing
- "Journal of the American College of Nutrition"; The Effects of Exercise Intensity on Body Composition, Weight Loss, and Dietary Composition in Women; R.W. Bryner, et al; 1997
- Perform each exercise with a light weight until you have mastered the proper technique then progress to heavier weights to challenge your muscles.
- Lift weights heavy enough that you're only able to perform eight to 12 repetitions of the exercise.
- Perform one exercise after another with no more than 60 seconds between each exercise.
- Repeat the exercise circuit, containing four to six exercises, two to three times per workout.
- Perform your weight lifting workout three nonconsecutive days a week to flatten your stomach.
- Consult with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise program, especially if you suffer from a medical condition.
Jen Weir writes for several websites, specializing in the health and fitness field. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Montana State University, is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and maintains a personal trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine.