5 Abdominal Exercises For Flatter Abs

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Nothing makes you feel more accomplished in your weight loss efforts than a flat midsection. Tight and toned abs makes your weight loss seem real, mostly because for most of us the abdominals are our most problematic area.

{The long crunch can help get your abs where you want them to be!}

It’s important to focus on strength training exercises in general for weight loss, but especially for your abs. Once you’ve shed the excess fat that’s covering your midsection, you want there to be a flat belly underneath that you can show off!

Keep reading to find out which 5 abdominal exercises you should be doing for flatter abs!

Long Crunch

When you’re looking for abdominal exercises to flatten your stomach consider this long crunch. The starting position for the long crunch is similar to the basic crunch, with you feet flat on the floor and knees facing the ceiling. The difference is that your arms are extended straight above your head.

This long crunch is slightly more challenging than traditional crunches so you get a more intense abdominal workout. More importantly the long crunch puts emphasis on the upper abdominals, although the entire abdominal area is worked thoroughly.

To do long crunch:

  1. Lie down on floor or exercise mat with arms above your head, hands clasped and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Contract abdominal muscles to lift shoulders off the floor, while exhaling.
  3. Hold position for 2 seconds, keeping arms straight, and inhale as you return to starting position.
  4. Repeat up to 3 sets, 12-15 repetitions.

Remember, as with all abdominal exercises, to inhale as you lie back and exhale through the motion. Add a medicine ball if you find the floor too uncomfortable or if you’re looking to change up your regular abdominal exercises.

Cross-Body Crunches

The cross-body crunch is one of the most effective abdominal exercises to flatten your abs because it effectively works the entire rectus abdominis . This abdominal exercise is so intense that you’ll work up a sweat while working your midsection. Many people choose the cross-body crunch as a tummy tightening abdominal exercise because it works the obliques as well, giving you a smaller midsection.

Cross body crunches are easy to do and require no equipment. Feel free to use an exercise mat if you have one, but it’s not necessary as long as you perform the motions properly. The best thing of all about cross-body crunches is that you can get your abdominal exercises done anywhere you have the space to perform them!

To do cross-body crunches:

  1. Lie on the floor on your back and bend knees to about 60° so your feet are flat on the floor.
  2. Place your hands behind your head near the nape of your neck and this is your starting position.
  3. Use your abdominal muscles to bring your right elbow and shoulder across your body to reach your left knee. Exhale as you make this motion.
  4. Inhale as you go back down and repeat, with your left elbow and shoulder and your right knee.
  5. Repeat 12-15 repetitions on each side for up to 3 sets.

Flying V

The flying V crunch, also known as the jackknife is a great way to tone and flatten those pesky lower abs that seem to take forever to transform. As with most abdominal exercises, your entire abdominal region will be sufficiently exercises but the lower abs will truly get an intense workout.

As difficult as it may seem to do this abdominal exercise, there are a wide variety of modifications that allow people of all ages and physical capabilities to perform these for abdominal exercises for flatter abs.

To do the flying V:

  1. Lie down flat on the floor with your legs and arms extended straight in their natural directions; this is the starting position for the flying V.
  2. Exhale as you raise your legs and arms forward, using your abdominal muscles into a V or jackknife position.
  3. Inhale as you lower your arms and legs down to starting position.
  4. Repeat 2 sets of 15 to 25 repetitions.

Decline Sit Ups

Looking for an abdominal exercise that forces your abs to do most of the work? Then look no further than the decline sit up or crunch. All you’ll need is a decline bench, which you can find at any commercial gym or fitness store. This is one of the best abdominal exercises for flatter abs because you can decide how high to bring yourself up by choosing sit ups or crunches.

If you’re looking for a more intense abdominal workout, add a weight plate or 2 two across your chest for additional resistance. In addition to flattening your abs, this abdominal exercise lets you test how strong your core is. If you haven’t worked your abs in awhile you might find it difficult to pull yourself up using just abdominal muscles. The more you work them, the less you’ll struggle with decline sit ups and crunches.

To do decline crunches or sit ups:

  1. Lock your feet at the top of a decline bench and roll down until your back is flat against bench.
  2. Place your hands on either side of your head and keep your elbows in.
  3. Push the small of your back into the bench to isolate your abdominal muscles and this is your starting position.
  4. Exhale as you lift your shoulders off the bench using your abdominal muscles. Only bring your shoulders up about 4 or 5 inches and hold for 2 seconds with abdominals contracted.
  5. Inhale as you slowly return to starting position.
  6. Repeat 1 to 4 sets, 12-16 repetitions.

Tip: Don’t swing yourself up or down because you can injure yourself and you’re cheating yourself out of a productive abdominal workout!

Kettlebell Eights

Sure kettlebells are the newest go-to exercise equipment on the market but it’s for good reason: they work well to tone muscles! In fact, according to the Scandinavian Journal of Work Environment & Healthy, kettlebell training can help reduce lower back pain and muscle strength, particularly for those in jobs with a high rate of musculoskeletal pain.  Using the kettlebell for abdominal exercises is a great way to add intensity to an abdominal workout that maybe getting easier with every workout session.

Sure, you can always rely on sit ups and crunches to get flatter abs since they require no equipment and can be done anywhere, but kettlebell eights can be done anywhere as well. Unlike a decline bench, you can simply put your kettlebell in the trunk and use it whenever you have 15 or 20 minutes free for a quick abdominal exercise like kettlebell eights.

To do kettlebell eights:

  1. Sit kettlebell between your legs, which should be slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend over with your butt out and your back flat, shoulders squared. This is starting position.
  3. Pick up the kettlebell with one hand and pass it to you other hand through your legs so one hand takes the ball behind the legs and the other takes it in front.
  4. Repeat this motion for 15 to 20 repetitions for up to 3 sets.

Tip: Keep abdominal muscles tight throughout each set.

If you’re still having trouble sticking to a healthy eating plan read our review of Eat Stop Eat to see how intermittent fasting can help you cut down on calories!

One Comment

  1. Tony Rovere says:

    I was surprised that you didn’t list planks and bicycles here.

    I love doing them because they work your entire core (abdominals plus your lower back) without curving your spine, which can lead to back problems.