Who doesn’t want dreamy washboard abs that you see on actors like John Abraham, Hrithik Roshan and Lara Dutta? But flat abs actually serves a greater purpose than just looking dishy. Getting rid of your belly fat will also help you keep chronic health conditions like heart diseases and diabetes at bay. Here are five exercises that will burn that belly right off:
The abdominal crunch is similar to the exercise many people did in their childhood – the sit-ups. The difference is that while doing a sit-up you raise your entire back, during an abdominal crunch you only raise your shoulder and keep your lower back on the ground. This movement helps target the abdomen area without putting pressure on the hips or lower back.
How to do: Lie down flat on your back on the floor. Bend your knees. For some variation, you could also keep your legs on an exercise ball or a bench. Put your arms around your chest or behind your head. Now raise your head till your shoulder blades are two to three inches off the ground. Make sure your lower back isn’t raised. Repeat for 15-20 times and try and do three sets. If you find it’s too easy, try doing it on a declined bench or by adding a weight to your chest.
The leg raise is another no-frills floor exercise that’s great for your abdomen and obliques.
How to do: Simply lie down flat on your back and bend your knees. Slowly lift up your legs from your hips and bring your knees level with your chest while keeping your soles upward. Bring your leg back to the starting position but keep in mind that it shouldn’t touch the floor. Repeat this movement 20 times and do three sets.
The plank is one of the most popular exercises for core conditioning and it will help build resistance in the abdominal area. The great thing is it requires no additional equipment except for your bodyweight.
How to do: Get down in a prone position on the floor similar to the way you’d do for a push-up. Instead of your palms, use your forearms to support your weight. Make sure your arms are bent and below the shoulders. Keep your back straight and hold this position as long as possible. Try and do at least three sets of 30 seconds each.
Named after the movement woodcutters make to chop wood this exercise works your abs, shoulders and obliques. It can be done using a dumbbell, the cable pulley machine or a medicine ball.
How to do: We will explain how to do this exercise with a medicine ball though the form and movement remains the same irrespective of the equipment you’re using.
Stand straight while holding a medicine ball. Keep your legs straight and feet hip-width apart. Twist from the waist towards the left with your arms overhead. Hold the ball over your head diagonally upright on the left, twist your torso towards the right and lower your arms in a diagonal fashion across the body and bring it down towards your right foot. You should bend your knees while doing so. Reverse the movement to get back to the starting position for one complete rep. Perform at least 15 reps on one side and then switch sides. Repeat this movement on both sides for at least three sets.
Hanging leg raise
The hanging leg raise is another great exercise for your abs. It’s usually done by holding a pull-up bar or using abs straps.
How to do: Get up on a stool and hold the pull-up bar.
If you find it difficult to grip the pull-up bar properly and balance your bodyweight, use abs straps. After you suspend yourself, slowly raise your knee until they’re perpendicular to the ground and then straighten your legs. This entire movement is one rep. Repeat for 15-20 times and do three sets.
Bonus tip: Cardio and Diet
One thing that you’ve to keep in mind is that no amount of abdomen exercises will help you get flat abs unless you get rid of the fat that’s deposited around that area. The only proper way to do this is to follow a balanced, healthy diet and copious amounts of cardio. Follow the above tips and get those dream washboard abs you’ve always wanted.
For more articles on exercises, check out our know your exercises section. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates! For daily free health tips, sign up for our newsletter. And to join discussions on health topics of your choice, visit our forum.