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I’ve got a decent stomach.  Yeah it’s not perfect, but it’s certainly not terrible.  In general, I’m pretty pleased with how my stomach looks most days.  Going by various online polls, I’ve seen it appears I’m in the minority, lots of gals out there don’t like their tummies.  Well that blows.  Ladies, I want you like to like every inch of your bodies, so lets get to work on those stomachs, ok?

First a little lesson: you’re not going to change your midsection just busting out straight crunches.  There are four muscles that make up your “abs.”

  1. Rectus abdominis:  Your most prominent ab muscle. It runs from your pubic bone to the bottom of your chest.  Sometimes it’s broken up and referred to as upper and lower abs, but it’s all the same muscle.
  2. External obliques:  These run diagonal from your lower ribs.  Visible obliques can be tough for us ladies; we really need to get out body fat percentage down to see them.
  3. Internal obliques:  These bad boys are under our external obliques and aren’t visible, no matter how low your body fat percentage is.
  4. Transverse abdominis:  This muscle is under your obliques and basically sucks everything in.

Ok, now that you know the muscles you have to tone, let’s get to work!  I’m going to share my not so top-secret ab workouts.  I work my abs five to six days a week, basically after every workout.  I alternate my workout every other day, abs are quick to recover so I’ve found I don’t need rest days for my abs.  That being said, everyone is different, and if you think you need a rest day listen to your body and take one for crying out loud!

Here you go; do 4 sets of 15 reps each (oblique exercises are 15 reps on each side):

Workout 1

  1. Flat bench leg raises: lie with your back flat on bench, legs off the end and hands grabbing the edge of the bench for support. Keeping your legs straight as possible, use your abs to raise your legs as high as you can and then lower legs back to starting position.
  2. Crunches on bench
  3. Weighted side bends: stand with feet shoulder width apart and hold dumbbell, plate, or kettle bell, whatever side you’re holding the weight on. Use your obliques to bend as far as possible and slowly raise back up, concentrate on using your obliques.
  4. Plank: start off with 30 seconds and work your way up

Workout 2

  1. Reverse crunch
  2. Stability ball crunches with arms extended overhead
  3. Russian twists with medicine ball
  4. Plank

So that’s it!  It only takes adding a couple minutes onto your regular workout to get your abs bikini ready so you can ditch that cover up.  Oh yeah, one more thing…you can’t out-train a bad diet, so if you eat crap guess what your stomach is going to look like?  See you at the beach.

Featured Image Credit: bellyfatabscenter.com