Unfortunately, there's no quick solution to getting abs or achieving a perfectly toned stomach. It takes hard work, dedication and a healthy lifestyle.
And surprisingly, it isn’t ab exercises that you should be starting with. Up your cardio and adopt a healthy diet to shed fat first. It's only when you begin to lose fat around your tummy that ab exercises become more important in toning your midriff. Both bodyweight and weighted exercises have their benefits so try including a mix of the two in your exercise routine.
Equipment to help tone
Ab exercises at home
Leg raise with hip thrust
This is a great exercise for targeting your lower abdominal muscles. But it can also double as a bum toning exercise - tensing your bum as you thrust will engage your glutes too. The leg raise can be done with no equipment, a kettlebell or a bench. The choice is yours.
Lie flat on your back holding the kettlebell behind you with both hands. Start with your legs held together, slightly off the floor. Bend your knees into your chest, then extend your legs towards the ceiling.
Thrust your hips so that your bum leaves the floor and your legs go towards the ceiling. Tuck your knees back into your chest and return to the starting position. Repeat.
Engage all of your core muscles, including the obliques (the muscles down your sides) with the Russian twist. Get the most out of the exercise by using a medicine ball or kettlebell, but it can be done with no equipment if you'd prefer.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and ankles together (for higher difficulty, raise your feet a few inches off the ground and lean back slightly). Hold the kettlebell or medicine ball with both hands and twist your arms to one side.
Hold the kettlebell or medicine ball so that it’s close to, or completely, touching the floor, engaging your core as you do so. Pause briefly, then twist to the other side and repeat the previous steps.
Michael Jennings, Men's Health fitness editor, says:
Your torso and thighs should form a V-shape to ensure it’s your abs doing the work.
It’s important to stretch your muscles before and after a workout to help strengthen them, increase flexibility and reduce injury. Here’s a few to get you started…
- Lie face down on the floor with your hands under your shoulders.
- Keep your hips on the floor as you lift your chest up, keeping your arms slightly bent.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, return and repeat 2 to 3 times.
- For more of a stretch, straighten your arms fully and lift your hips, for upward facing dog pose.
Cat and cow pose
- Pop on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Engage your abs and arch your spine up into a cat pose.
- Tuck you chin towards your chest and hold for 20-30 seconds.
- Then bring your chin up as you lower your abs to the floor.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
- Either sit crossed leg or stand with your feet hip distance apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Raise your left arm over your head, keep facing forward and lean your torso to the right, whilst your hips stay still.
- Reach until you feel a gentle stretch in your obliques.
- Repeat on the other side, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds.
Equipment based workouts
WonderCore smart twist board exercises
WonderCore smart enables you to target your core in a full body workout. Its compact design has adjustable resistance, allowing you to sculpt your body, tighten your core and tone your muscles, all from the comfort of your home.