Only babies, Buddha and Santa look cute with a jelly belly. If you've recently lost excess flab and are ready to reveal a toned, flat tummy, it's time to get started on some weight-training exercises. Although strength-training exercises won't get rid of any last bit of fat, they will cinch your waist and tighten your abs for a flatter belly. To get results, do your ab- and midriff-toning exercises three times a week while avoiding the temptation to do them everyday, which can cause injury due to overtraining.
Standing Wood Chop
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a dumbbell, kettlebell or medicine ball with both hands. Bring the weight to the outside of your left shoulder, and then squat down 3 to 4 inches as you simulate a wood-chopping movement, bringing the weight from outside your left shoulder to outside your right thigh. Lift the weight back to the starting position to complete one rep. Do eight to 12 wood chops to tone your obliques -- the muscles along your sides -- as well as your upper abdominal muscles.
Weighted Side Bends
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand. Lean your upper body to the right as far as possible, while keeping your hips and legs straight. Do not bounce your upper body, but hold the position for two counts to feel the stretch along your left side. Raise back to the starting position to complete one rep. Perform eight to 16 reps on each side to tighten and tone your obliques.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart while holding a dumbbell in each hand at chest level. Bend to the right and forward about 45 degrees to simulate a lying crunch. Return to standing position, and then bend to the left and forward. Draw your abs in with each move to engage them. Challenge your upper and lower abs further by lifting your knee toward your chest as you bend forward. Lift the knee on the same side you're bending toward. Do eight to 10 standing crunches toward each side.
Ankle Weight Toe Drop
Lie on your back with your knees bent and ankle weights secured around your ankles. Place your hands by your sides and lift your lower legs until your calves are parallel with the floor. Draw in and tighten your ab muscles as you lower one calf until your toes are resting on the floor. Raise your calf again, using your abs to power the move. Do 10 to 16 toe drops on each side to work toward getting six-pack abs.
- Mayo Clinic: Strength Training -- Get Leaner, Stronger, Healthier
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- Rice University: Overtraining Syndrome
- American Council on Exercise: Ab Exercises
- Shape Magazine: Standing Crunch
- Fitness Magazine: The Best Tummy Toners for You
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.