Despite what the calendar says, it’s still practically winter in the tri-state area. Rather than yearning for beach weather to come sooner, we can take advantage of the time we have until then to whip our bodies into shape.
As they say, “summer bodies are made in the winter.” Although there aren’t any exercises designed to magically melt off your belly fat alone, here are some that may help to tone and reduce your muffin top when done in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular cardio.
As you are doing these exercises, just remember that there is no such thing as a perfect body and that there’s no need to feel discouraged if you’re not seeing the results immediately. The most important thing is to give it your best shot (and be safe in the process)!
Strengthening your entire core is essential for sculpting a flat belly. Plank or variations of the plank will do just that.
Come onto an exercise mat as if you were getting into a push-up position. Bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of your hands.
Make sure your body forms a straight line from head to toe, pulling your belly button towards your spine. Aim to hold this position for 30 seconds.
Breathe deeply. For more of a challenge, lift one foot, flexed, a few inches off the floor. Switch legs.
Abdominal hip thrusts
Bonus: this exercise is not only effective in strengthening your core but also your glutes.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the mat, one shoulder-width distance apart.
Make sure you’re looking directly up at the ceiling so that your spine forms a straight line.
Take a deep breath and use your abdominal muscles to lift your hips and buttocks off the ground.
You should now be in a straight line from your shoulders up to your knees. Slowly lower yourself back down to the mat.
That’s one rep. Aim for another 10 reps before taking a quick break and continuing for another set if your body feels up to it.
These exercises can help target your lower abs, where our body stores most of our excess fat.
Come to lie down on your back, extend your legs and place your palms face down by your sides.
While keeping your legs straight, lift them up off the ground.
Bring them to a 90-degree angle and slowly lower them back down to the ground. Repeat for as many reps are comfortable with your body.
Lie on your back.
Place your hands behind your head and lift your head and shoulders off the floor.
Using your abdominal muscles, lift your legs slowly off the ground and reach one leg up toward the back of your mat at a time, alternating sides.
Keep your neck relaxed. Continue for 30 seconds or for as long as your body allows.
The great thing about this exercise is that it combines a complete abdominal workout with cardio training.
Begin in a push-up position, keeping your body aligned from head to toe.
Bring each knee toward your chest at a time, touching your toes to the ground while keeping your hands firmly planted on the mat and back straight.
The more forward you bring your knees, the more effective the exercise will be. For a challenge, keep your toes elevated when you bring your knees up.
As with any exercise, listen to your body and be sure to consult a medical professional if you have any concerning prior injuries or if anything doesn’t feel right during your workout.