Losing weight is great, but a flabby belly is not. Tighten and firm your midsection after losing a lot of weight by training those abs with challenging exercises. Exercise won't get rid of loose skin that you may have, but it will improve the appearance of your abs. Since your abs are resistant to fatigue, according to Dr. Len Kravitz of the University of New Mexico, you can build up to daily workouts. Choose five to eight exercises and perform eight to 20 reps of each. Perform the exercises as a circuit and do it two to four times through.
Step up into the Captain's chair. Place your back securely against the pad, and grip the handles with your forearms secure against the pads. Keep your shoulders down and let your feet hang directly below your body. Exhale and draw your knees up toward your chest. Inhale and lower back down to complete one repetition.
Sit on a stability ball so your hips and knees are at 90-degree angles. Walk your feet out as you lean back until the ball is in your lower back. Place your hands behind your head or across your chest. Lower your head and shoulders so you feel a slight stretch in your abs. Exhale and curl up in a crunching motion, pressing your low back into the ball. Inhale back down to the start position for one complete rep.
Lie on a mat with your feet flat on the floor and your hands behind your head. Lift your feet off the floor and bend your knees so they are over your hips with your lower legs parallel to the floor. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor to prepare. As you exhale, draw in your left knee and extend your right leg. Twist your torso, bringing your right shoulder toward the left knee. Inhale back to center and switch sides for one complete rep.
Stay on the mat and place your arms down by your sides, and feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Keep your head and shoulders down on the mat throughout the exercise. Exhale and bring your feet up off the floor and knees into your chest. Contract your abs and push your low back into the floor. Inhale and lower back down for one complete rep.
Roll over and get up on your hands and knees. Place your hands under your shoulders with your elbows straight. Extend one leg at a time so you're balanced on your toes. Straighten your body so you're holding a pushup position. Hold the plank for up to 60 seconds for one set.
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; National Strength and Conditioning Association
- American Council on Exercise: New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises
- University of New Mexico: SuperAbs Resource Manual
- Focus on proper form for all exercises.
- Build up to daily workouts, and start with just two sets of eight to 12 reps.
- Change your exercises every four to six weeks.
- Add in up to three more exercises as you get stronger.
- Don't use momentum to do any ab exercise.
- Stop if you feel sharp pain.
- Don't work your abs again if you're very sore; wait until you heal.
- Ab training will not reduce body fat from your midsection.
Bethany Kochan began writing professionally in 2010. She has worked in fitness as a group instructor, personal trainer and fitness specialist since 1998. Kochan graduated in 2000 from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist and certified YogaFit instructor.