To get a six-pack you have to perform exercises that target not only the front of your stomach, but also the muscles on the side and lower back. Your obliques are the muscles along your sides that can give the appearance of a muffin-top. Exercises such as side bends, supine bicycles and torso twists will help tone this area. Adding a leg raise to your oblique exercises will work the muscles of the hips and thighs simultaneously. Because these muscles are part of your core muscle group, you will also benefit from increased core strength and stability, which can go a long way in preventing back pain and increasing balance.
Lie on your right side on the floor. Extend your right arm out in front of your shoulder with your palm on the floor.
Extend both legs with your left resting on top of the right and position them slightly ahead of your body.
Bend your left arm and place your hand behind your head. Contract your abdominals to stabilize your core.
Begin the exercise by simultaneously swinging your legs upward as you crunch your upper body toward them, balancing on your right hip. If necessary, press down on the floor with your right hand to assist in lifting the upper body from the floor. Pause briefly.
Lower your legs and upper body toward the floor, slowly, but without touching. Perform eight to 10 reps and repeat on your left side.
Seated Lateral-Leg Raise
Lie on your right side with your legs extended and resting on top of each other. Slide your legs slightly ahead of your body and keep your toes facing forward.
Lift your upper body off the floor and position your right hand directly below your right shoulder with a soft bend at your elbow. Place the palm of your left hand on the floor in front of you to assist with balance.
Begin the exercise by lifting your left leg toward the ceiling without allowing your hips to rotate. Pause briefly.
Lower your leg back to the starting position, but without touching your right leg, and repeat for 12 to 15 reps.
Perform on the opposite side.
- You Are Your Own Gym; Mark Lauren, et al.
- Stronger Abs and Back; Dean Brittenham, et al.
- American Council on Exercise: Supine Bicycle Crunches
- Avoid the oblique v-up if you suffer from back or neck pain.
Kendra Crawford has been publishing articles since 2010. She is the manager of a health club as well as a personal trainer and instructor. She has a Bachelor of Science in sports management from Florida State University and is pursuing a doctoral degree in physical therapy at the University of Florida.