A fat, pudgy stomach can ruin your appearance regardless of what type of shape you are in. Stomach fat often seems to be the hardest to remove, and it is also more likely to lead to health issues.
When it comes to getting rid of stomach fat, doing ab exercises won’t be enough to get the job done. Ab exercises simply build the muscles in your stomach and make them more defined. No one will be able to see your six-pack if layers of fat cover it up.
Your body fat percentage needs to be low for your ab muscles to be visible. The formula for fat loss is simple: consume fewer calories than your body needs each day to force it to burn fat. Fat tissues are like biological batteries; they store energy and serve as a reserve source of fuel your body taps into as it needs.
Many fitness experts recommend consuming about 500 calories less than your body needs each day to shed off fat consistently. The easiest way to lower your caloric intake is by consuming fewer carbohydrates and processed sugars. There are countless apps you can use to calculate your daily caloric intake and to track your daily calories.
If you’re not a massive fan of breakfast, explore intermittent fasting. This approach to dieting involves only consuming calories during assigned periods and sticking to water or other zero-calorie beverages for the rest of the day. One of the most popular forms of intermittent fasting is fasting for 16-hour periods and eating during an eight-hour window. So, for example, you could start fasting at 8 p.m. each day and resume eating at noon the next day.
Effective ab workouts you can perform at home
Now that you understand that having a low body fat percentage is the key to having a flat stomach and noticeable ab muscles, let’s take a look at some simple ab exercises that will give you defined stomach muscles:
1) Hardstyle plank
Here’s an easy workout you can start your ab session with. It doesn’t require much movement. You simply get into the exercise position and hold it for as long as you can. To perform the exercise:
- Lay down on the floor with your face facing the ground.
- Lift yourself into the plank position, keeping your elbows underneath your shoulders, and your hands balled up. Both forearms should be parallel with each other. Squeeze your entire body to get the most out of the exercise.
- Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds to complete one set. Aim for three to four sets.
2) Dead bug
Here’s another fun exercise that will make your core burn. It also helps to improve coordination between your upper body and lower body, plus your left and right sides. You can perform these on cushioned surfaces like carpet, mats, or a hard bed. The exercise looks like this:
- Lay down with your back on the ground and your face looking up.
- Stretch both arms toward the ceiling.
- Bring both knees towards your hips, so your thighs and calves make a 90-degree angle.
- Now, the fun part begins. Straighten your right leg towards the floor while simultaneously lowering your right arm. Your lower back should be in constant contact with the floor during the entire motion.
- Pause for a second and return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise on the opposite side of your body to complete one rep. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to complete a set.
3) Dumbbell side bend
You’ll need a dumbbell or similar substitute to perform this exercise. The motion exercises your core, particularly your oblique muscles. Here’s what the exercise looks like:
- Start standing, keeping your feet hip-width apart. With your palm facing your body, hold a dumbbell with your right hand. The weight should be heavy enough to make it challenging to perform the motion more than ten times, but it should not be heavy enough to make the exercise feel impossible.
- While keeping your back straight and your core tight, bend towards your right side as far as you can. Only your waist should bend when performing this exercise.
- Once you’ve reached as far as you can, hold the position for a second before returning to the starting position. Perform 10 to 20 reps to complete a set. Aim for three to four sets during each workout.
4) Hollow extension-to-cannonball
Here’s another easy exercise that targets all of your abdominal muscles. It’s one of the easier ones on our list to perform as well. Here’s what it looks like:
- To start the exercises, lay on your back and get into a cannonball-type position and hug your knees into the chest.
- Now, extend your arms and legs outwards while keeping your lower back pressed against the floor. Engage your entire core to get the most out of the extension.
- Hold the position for about five seconds before returning to the starting position. Perform five reps to complete a set.
5) Bird dog
You might look like a weirdo when performing this exercise at the gym, but it gives your abdominal muscles a great workout. To execute this exercise:
- Get into a tabletop pose with your hips over your knees and your shoulders over your hands.
- Keep your core tight while simultaneously lifting your left arm and right leg off the floor until they are about the same height as your torso. The palm of your left hand should be facing your body, while your right root is flexed as you move it backward. Try not to hyperextend your elbows to keep your triceps muscles engaged during the motion.
- Pause for a second at the top of the motion and return to the starting position. Repeat the movement using your right arm and left leg to complete a rep. Aim for about five reps for each set and build from there.
Mix things up
You don’t have to do each one of these exercises daily to build defined ab muscles. Pick any two of these for your ab workouts, and try to work out your abs at least three times a week.
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