Only a comprehensive exercise routine can help you attain a flat stomach. Contrary to popular belief crunches are NOT the most effective flat stomach exercise. And the notion that cardio is not needed for flat stomach is incorrect. The best exercises for flat stomach include a combination of core stabilization movements that strengthen and tone the abdominal muscles, stretching exercises which elongate the muscles, cardio and strength training exercises which burn calories to reduce the overall fat percentage.
Based on this principle, find below a typical daily flat stomach exercise plan. This plan details the kind of exercises you have to include so that the overall workout routine is effective.
I have given you a sample plan with some exercises. I have also mentioned a few alternatives for each exercise. This will help you mix and match the exercises, so that your exercise regimen is effective without being monotonous.
The Typical Flat Stomach Exercise Routine
- Eat healthy.
- Do cardio and strength training on alternate days for 15- 20 minutes prior to moving on to the flat stomach exercise.
- The flat exercise pattern of each day should include the following:
- Working the upper and lower abs as well as the obliques
- Stretching exercises
- core stabilization exercises
Upper Abdomen – The Pilates Roll Up
Lie horizontally on the ground, with the hands extended behind the head. Move the hands upwards and slowly roll up from your hip raising the shoulders and upper body off the floor. Simultaneously, move your hands towards the feet.
This exercise stabilizes the core and works the upper abdomen.
Alternatives- Pilates Toe Dip, the Seated Crossover, Vertical Leg Crunch, Basic Crunch
Lower Abdomen- Reverse Crunch
Lie flat on the floor. Slowly move your feet towards the chest, Make sure that you are moving from the core and simultaneously lift your hip upwards.
Alternatives – Leg Raises, Yoga Leg Lifts
Please note that certain exercises like bicycle crunches, scissor lefts, vertical crunches are very effective because they target both upper and lower abdominals simultaneously. Include these exercises liberally in your workout to get a flat stomach soon.
Obliques – Side Bends/Mountain Tilt
Stand straight, feet shoulder width apart. Bring your left arm parallel to the ear. Slowly move the left arm downwards to the right and bend your body from the waist.
Feel the work in the obliques.
Alternatives – Twisting crunches, Yoga Triangle Pose (Trikonasan), Abdominal Vacuum,
Stretches- The Yoga Cobra Pose
Lie down on your abdomen on the ground. Put your hands next to the shoulder. Slowly raise your chest and upper body off the ground, extending the elbows.
Relax the neck.
Alternatives – Bow Pose (Dhanurasan), Bridge Stretch, Ushtrasan
Core strengthening/ Balancing Moves
The Plank is the best position for strengthening the core and toning the abdominal muscles.
Lie flat on your stomach. Lift up your body so that it is a straight line. You will hold your balance on your elbows and toes. The body is being supported by your core muscles (including the abs) to remain in this position. So the longer you hold the plank, stronger your muscles become.
Alternatives – Yoga Tree Pose (vrikshana), Seated Balancing Pose (Sukhasan), Opposite Hand and Leg Raise, Sliding Pike, Circle Plank, Leg Circles, Pilates Single Leg Stretch, Pilates Seal, Pelvic Lifts
It is no coincidence that the ‘core strengthening’ section has maximum number of exercises. A strong core is the first step for achieving a flat stomach.
All the best with your routine.