Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Effective Belly Exercises

Effective Belly Exercises
Developing the abdominal muscles requires hard work. You shouldn't ask what the easiest way to get a flat belly is because there is no easy way to get a flat belly. Instead, ask what exercises are the most effective. You're going to have to work hard, but by choosing the right exercises, you'll get the results sooner.

Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is the most effective abdominal exercise around, according to a study published in the May/June 2001 issue of ACE Fitness Matters that examined the abdominal activation of 13 exercises. The bicycle crunch uses almost two and a half times as much abdominal muscle as the traditional crunch. It works the upper, lower and oblique abdominals in the same movement, making it not only effective, but efficient. To perform a bicycle crunch, lie on an exercise mat. Raise your legs off the mat and pump them in and out as if you were pedaling a bicycle. Place your fingers behind your ears and crunch your upper body off the mat. As your right knee comes toward your chest, crunch your left elbow toward it, and vice versa. A twist to each side equals one rep. Perform sets of 10 to 20 reps.

Exercise Ball Pull-In

Exercise ball pull-ins aren't just one of the best exercises for targeting the lower abdominals, they're also fun. It's important to perform an exercise that works the lower abdominals more than the upper, because most exercises do the opposite, and underdeveloped lower abdominals can cause a pot belly. In "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding," Arnold Schwarzenegger explains that exercises that tilt the pelvis toward the chest work the lower abs. That's exactly what your abs do during an exercise ball pull-in. To perform an exercise ball pull-in, get into a push-up position with your legs supported by an exercise ball beneath your knees. Pull your knees to your chest. The ball will roll along your shins. Push your legs back out straight. Perform in sets of 10 to 20 reps.

Heel Touchers

Heel touchers also target some abdominal muscles that often don't get enough attention: the oblique abdominals. The oblique abdominals are responsible for twisting and tilting your upper body to the sides. By developing them, you can narrow your waist and gain functional strength that protects your spine. To perform heel touchers, lie on your back on an exercise mat with your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands palm down at your sides. Crunch your torso up and hold this throughout the set. Lean to your right side and touch your right heel with your fingertips. Return to center, then do the same thing on the left side. Move in a controlled manner, really feeling the contraction in your obliques. Touching each heel equals one rep. Perform sets of 10 to 20 reps.


The plank is a simple and effective exercise. It develops strength all along your abs and through your core. To perform the plank, lie on your stomach on an exercise mat. Rise up onto your toes and elbows. Hold your body in a perfectly straight line for as long as you can. Perform the plank at the end of your exercise routine, and only do one rep to really finish off your abdominals. Try to hold the plank for longer each time. The result will be a flatter stomach from top to bottom.

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