On a casual walk through a sporting goods store, youâ€™re bound to find a wealth of equipment that will help tone your abdominal muscles. These products vary in effectiveness, but trainer Lisa Lynn says that a diligent routine of crunches, aided by a fitness circle or even a simple ball, is a certain way to build up this muscle group. Lisa cautions, however, that a well-toned stomach doesnâ€™t come by exercise alone; itâ€™s essential that your workout be paired with a sensible diet.
To give your abdominal muscles a good, strenuous workout, lie flat on your back and place a fitness circle or ball between your knees. With your hands beside your head and your elbows out, take a deep breath and clench your stomach muscles, lifting your shoulders (not the lower back) as far off the floor as possible and exhaling as you move upwards; keep your movements slow and controlled. Perform 3 sets of 30 repetitions. Without pausing, remain lying flat, and lift your hips off the floor then slowly return to the starting position. Perform an additional 3 sets.
You can round off your workout with a standing exercise: Stand with your hands behind your head and your elbows extended, your knees slightly bent, and your feet shoulder-width apart. Use the oblique muscles, or side muscles of your abdomen, to lean to your right side; try not to bend forward or back but to keep your head, neck, and torso aligned. Complete 2 to 3 sets of 20 repetitions. Repeat on the left side.