Enough with the endless crunches that never seem to make a difference anyway (except for making your lower back sore…ouch). The following 6 moves will help tone and slim your abs from every angle—no sit-ups in sight.
Do each move for 30 seconds. If it works only one arm or leg, do 15 seconds on each side. Add these to your usual workouts at least 3 times a week.
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1. Side Pull-Down
Why: Targets the obliques on your sides to give you a more defined waistline.
How: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended overhead. Shift weight to right foot and contract left side of torso, lifting left knee out to side. At the same time, bend left arm and pull elbow to left thigh. Extend arm and leg back to start, but tap toe on ground and repeat. Switch sides.
2. Cross Punch
Why: Firms your lower belly by targeting the transverse abdominal muscle. The twisting also slims your waistline.
How: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and abs pulled in. Bend arms so fists are at about chin level, like a boxer. Keeping feet planted, twist to right and punch with left arm, then return to start. Contract lower abs with each punch. Repeat, alternating arms.
3. Knee Twist
Why: This twisting move works your waist-whittling obliques.
How: Squat with hips and knees bent, feet shoulder-width apart, and hands behind head. As you stand up, raise left knee as you twist to left and pull right elbow toward left knee. Lower and repeat with right leg.
4. Lunge Run
Why: Tones your rectus abdominis, the long muscle that runs from your ribs to your pelvis, to give your abs super definition.
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How: Lunge with left foot in front and right foot about 2 feet behind it, arms bent at sides. Keeping left knee bent and torso still, lift right knee toward chest and lower, swinging arms back and forth. Switch legs and repeat.
5. Slip A Punch
Why: Another benefit to working your oblique muscles: shrinking your stubborn sides.
How: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent slightly. Bend arms so fists are at about chin level, like a boxer. Keeping shoulders relaxed and lower body still, bend at waist and lean torso to right as if you were trying to avoid a punch. Repeat, bending to left.
6. Standing Crunch
Why: Like on-the-floor crunches, this move tones the rectus, the muscle group responsible for the six-pack look.
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How: Lunge with right foot in front and left foot about 2 feet behind it, arms overhead. As you straighten right leg, raise left knee toward chest as you bend and pull elbows down toward left knee. Return to start. Switch legs and repeat.