Beat That Belly Bulge With These 10 Exercises!

If you are in your 30’s, you have already accepted the fact that you probably can never fit in to those jeans you loved to flaunt way back in college, or be able to wear a cropped t-shirt without looking out of place. But should that stop you from trying on new sexy outfits? Not really…especially if you are proud of your dressing style! As you age, your dressing sense upgrades and you are now more than happy to embrace outfits that accentuate your curves and make you look and feel all ‘womanly’. However, there is a teeny tiny problem – those gross tummy bulges that will show through any stylish top or clingy dress.

My last article ‘Are you a Woman in Your 30s Struggling with Stubborn Belly Fat’ talked about 10 Foods that fight belly fat. But as we all know, diet alone can never help you get rid of those tummy rolls. You also need a good workout plan. And by ‘Good’ I mean one that is perfectly do-able by a busy woman in her 30’s, trying to juggle her career and family life to do justice to them both, who has no more than just an hour to spare 5 days a week to stay in shape.

 

10 Highly Recommended Exercises to Tone Abs Muscles

 

1.       Bicycle –

Termed as the MOST effective exercise for flatter abs, the Bicycle is easy to do. It requires no special equipment and effectively tones both the abdominal muscles and the oblique muscles.

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How to do it?

Lie on your back on an exercise mat. Place your hands behind your head for support and bring your knees to your chest. Lift your shoulders slightly off the floor, but remember not to pull on your neck. Let your hands support your head. Now make bicycling motions in the air, while holding your shoulders and hips in place. For a better understanding, let us explain what these motions would be. Bring your left elbow as close as possible to your right knee, while you straighten out the left leg. Next, reverse the motion by bringing the right elbow close to the left knee, while you straighten out the right leg. Continue with these ‘pedaling’ motions 10 to 12 times. Do 3 such sets.

 

2.       Bridging –

This exercise will stretch your abdominal muscles and tone them for a flatter tummy. This exercise is not recommended for those with lower backaches.

2Bridge

How to do it?

Lie flat on the ground and keep your hands by your sides. Bend your knees and keep your feet on the ground. Breathe in and raise your mid section off the ground, while keeping your hands and feet firmly planted on the ground. As you form a bridge from your knees to your upper body off the ground, make sure you contract your abdominal muscles and gluts for a deeper impact. Hold the position for a few seconds and then gently lower your hips to touch the ground.

Repeat 8 times and aim to do a minimum of 3 sets. The stretch in your abs will tone the muscles and the slower and more deliberate your movements, the better the effects.

 

3.       Exercise Ball Crunch –

The exercise ball is great to strengthen abs. Unlike regular crunches on the floor, the ball involves more work from the abs muscles as your legs play no role here.

Upper-Abs-Crunches-Exercise-Ball

How to do it?

Lie on an exercise ball, placing it under your lower back. Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground slightly more than shoulder width apart to stabilize your body. Cross arms over the chest or hold them behind your head, as you do in regular crunches. As you contract your abs muscles, lift your torso and bring the bottom of your ribcage as close as you can to your hips. Make sure the ball doesn’t roll with you as you lift off the ball. Hold the position a few seconds, lower back and repeat 8 to 10 times. Do 2 sets minimum for best results.

 

4.       Vertical Leg Crunch –

Noticed how when you do a regular crunch, your feet seem to be doing most of the job? The vertical leg crunch solves this, as you put your legs straight up and make your abs do all the work. It adds more intensity to the workout, making it more effective.

vertical-leg-crunch-exercise

How to do it?

Lie on your exercise mat and extend your legs straight upwards. Place your hands behind your head for support. If you find it difficult to keep legs straight in the air, you can cross them at the knee to stabilize your body. Contract abs and lift your shoulders off the floor, bringing your chest as close as possible to your knees for a crunch. Lower your body and repeat 10 to 12 times. Do 3 sets.

 

5.       Long Arm Crunch –

The long arm crunch brings a more effective variation to the traditional crunch, by making you straighten out arms behind you for making the range of motions longer and hence more effective. This exercise is best for the upper abs.

long arm crunch

How to do it?

Lie on the exercise mat and place your hands straight above your head, clasping the hands together and raising them at a 30 degree angle to the floor. Contract abs and lift your shoulder off the floor to do a crunch. Keep knees bent, and if you feel any discomfort in the neck you can place one hand behind the neck for support while the other hand stays over the head. Lower your shoulder and repeat 12 to 15 times. Do 2 to 3 sets. You can add more challenge to the exercise by holding a light dumbbell in your hands.

 

6.       Reverse Crunch –

One of the best exercises for the lower abs, the reverse crunch is an effective way to beat belly fat. Make sure you use small deliberate motions, as the idea is to gently raise hips as you bring your legs up.

reverse crunch

How to do it?

Lie on your exercise mat on the floor and place your hands either on your sides or behind your head. Bend your knees and bring them towards the chest, making a 90 degree angle with the floor. Contract abs and raise your hips slightly off the ground, trying to push your legs towards the ceiling. Remember, the movements need to be small and don’t swing your legs to make the motions but rather use your abs. Lower your legs and repeat 8 to 10 times. Do 1 to 2 sets.

 

7.       Crunch with Heel Push –

This differs from the regular crunch because you are using just your heels to push and not your entire foot.

crunch with heel push

How to do it?

Lie on the floor on your exercise mat. Put your hands behind your head. Flex your feet as you contract your abs and raise shoulders off the ground. As you reach up, push your heels in to the ground and slightly raise your glutes. Lower and repeat 10 times. Do 2-3 sets.

 

8.       Plant on Toes and Elbows –

The Plant exercise will not only flatten your abs, it will also build endurance in your abs and back muscles. Also, if you find it too hard to do pushups, this exercise is the best way to begin as it helps build strength in related muscles and improves your stamina to do pushups effectively.

plant exercise

How to do it?

Lie face down on your exercise mat. Support body weight on your forearm, by bending your elbows and either ball your hands in to a fist or keep palms open on the ground. Push off the floor, supporting body weight on elbows and toes. Pull in your pelvic, contract abs muscles and arch back slightly. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, as much as possible. Lower back down and repeat 3 to 5 times, to build more core strength.

 

9.       Lying Torso Twists –

This is a simple exercise that works beautifully on the sides and oblique muscles. If you have love handles and want to get rid of them, this is the best exercise for you!

stretch-double-knee-torso-twist

How to do it?

Lie on the ground and pull your knees to the chest by bending them. Your legs must be parallel to the ground, creating a ‘Z’ shape. Stretch out your arms to the side for a better balance. Now, slowly, contracting your abs, twist the hips to the right and try and bring your knees as close to the floor as possible, without actually touching the floor. Now, using the muscles of your abs again, bring your knees back up to starting position, and then twist them to the left side. Make sure the movements are not coming from your legs swinging, but from your abs muscles. Also, ensure that your shoulders never lift off the ground. Breathe in as you lower your knees to the ground on either side, and breathe out as you come back to the original position.

Do this exercise, by swinging your hips 5 times for each side. Do 3 sets of 10 reps each.

 

10.   Standing Oblique Crunches –

These exercises will require light weights. You can start with 1.5kg dumbbells and progress to heavier 2.5kg dumbbells as your muscles develop and your stamina improves.

standing-obl-crunch-400x400

How to do it?

Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Hold the dumbbell in your left hand, and bear your body’s weight on the right leg. Stretch your left arm over your head to the right side, keeping the arm straight until you feel a stretch on your left side or oblique muscles. Crunch your midsection to the left by bringing the left knee up and the left elbow down, while keeping your abs muscles contracted.

Repeat 10 times on each side and then switch the side. You should aim for 2 sets. To train your core muscles more effectively, it is recommended that you gently tap the ball of the foot on the ground instead of putting the whole foot down after each rep.

 

Do Not Forget Cardio

While you might be desperate to lose belly fat, always remember that spot weight reduction is a myth. These exercises can help tone and strengthen the abdominal muscles, which will improve the look of your abdomen. However, alone, these exercises will not help you reduce inches around the waist.

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These exercises cannot help you lose weight on the belly, but they will tone and condition these muscles for better core strength. To lose that stubborn fat, you will have to begin with a 30 minute cardio session, and then follow it up with these 10 super workouts for a flatter tummy at least thrice a week. These exercises will target the abs and the oblique muscles for a better well rounded shape while the cardio will help burn calories and reduce overall body weight.

To know which cardio to choose, read: Is Your Cardio Workout Best Designed For Weight Loss

 

 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. isi onah says:

    This is awesome.great job u doing!

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