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6 exercises for flat abs

Celebrity trainer Jackie Warner shows six moves that will tone and flatten your stomach

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flat abs slim woman

How to get started

“Your abdominal muscles support your body, so having a strong core is essential,” explains Warner, who agreed to share-and demonstrate-some of her favourite moves in a set of exercises exclusively designed for Best Health readers. She’s the proof they work-just check out these photos: What a body!

All six moves target your core muscles, including your rectus abdominis (front), internal and external obliques (side), transversus abdominis (interior) and erector spinae (lower back). Some will also tone your arms and legs.

Equipment: You will need a mat or large towel and one dumbbell (three to eight pounds, depending on your fitness level-beginners should start the program without using the weight).

Warm up your core: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Draw your arms up to prepare to “shadow box”-with your elbows tucked into your sides, and your hands in fists at shoulder height. Take right arm diagonally across body, punching toward the left side, and alternate sides for a few minutes. “This is a good way to connect with the muscles you are going to be working,” says Warner.

Stretch to cool down: Complete this workout by doing about five minutes of core stretching: Lie on your back, bring your knees into your chest, then drop them to the right side of your body while you extend your arms to the left side at shoulder height. Hold, and then switch sides. Repeat.

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1. Torso twists

1. Torso twists for flat abs

A. Stand with feet hip width apart and hold the dumbbell in both hands in front of you. Keep your hips level and back straight as you lower into a squat position.

B. Round your back slightly, and move the dumbbell to the right side, tucking the right elbow back. Keep your hips facing front, and be careful not to rotate through your lower body.

C. Now twist to the left side, tucking your left elbow back. Repeat this twisting motion from right to left as a slow and controlled continuous movement. Do 10 twists on each side, for a total of 20 repetitions.

 

(Photo by Michael Alberstat).

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2. Split lunge flex for flat abs

2. Split lunge flex for flat abs

A. Stand with your feet together and hold the dumbbell with both hands. Step your left leg back into a lunge position. Bend your elbows and lift the dumbbell to your forehead, keeping your elbows pulled in toward your body.

B. Round your back and move your head and elbows down to your right knee, keeping the dumbbell at your forehead. Make sure you contract your abdominals with each forward move.

C. Return to the upright starting position. Do 20 repetitions, then switch legs and do another 20.

 

(Photo by Michael Alberstat).

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3. Weighted straight-leg kick

3. Weighted straight-leg kick

A. Stand with your feet together and hold the dumbbell in both hands. Straighten your arms directly overhead.

B. Lower your arms and the dumbbell down to shoulder height as you lift your right leg in front (your left knee can be slightly bent), and reach for your shin with the weight. Round your back slightly, and engage your
ab muscles.

C. Return arms and weight overhead as you lower your right leg. Then switch legs: Lower your arms and the dumbbell to shoulder height, lifting left leg and reaching for the left shin. Keep a steady rhythm as you alternate legs for 40 “kicks” in total.

 

(Photo by Michael Alberstat).

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4. Oblique power reach for flat abs

4. Oblique power reach for flat abs

A. Stand with feet hip width apart, and hold the dumbbell by your side in your right hand. Place left hand behind head with your elbow wide and chin up. Slide your right hand down your right leg to your knee.

B. Then, with power, extend the right arm over?head, pressing the dumbbell up toward the ceiling. At the same time, straighten your left arm, moving it down your left leg.

C. Do 20 repeti?tions, then switch sides and do another 20.

 

(Photo by Michael Alberstat).

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5. Plank twist for flat abs

5. Plank twist for flat abs

A. Lie face down on the floor, and come up onto your forearms and toes, with elbows lined up under your shoulders. Keep your hips down and your body flat. Draw your navel into your spine to engage your inner abdominal muscles.

B. Drop your left hip toward the mat, hold for one second and come back to centre.

C. Then drop the right hip toward the mat. Repeat this twisting motion, doing 10 repetitions each side for a total of 20.

 

(Photo by Michael Alberstat).

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6. Weighted obliques for flat abs

6. Weighted obliques for flat abs

A. Lie on your back with feet on the ground, and squeeze the dumbbell between your bent knees. Place your hands lightly behind your head with elbows wide. Move your knees up with shins parallel to the floor, and tighten your abs.

B. Drop knees toward your left side. Lift your right shoulder and cross your right elbow toward your knees, keeping your left elbow on the floor.

C. To complete one repetition, return to the starting position. Do 20 repetitions, then switch sides.

 

(Photo by Michael Alberstat).

 

Related:
Fitness tips from celebrity trainer Jackie Warner
3 ab-blasting workouts
8 motivating fitness DVDs