Fast Track to a Flat Belly

PROGRAM AT A GLANCE

3 DAYS A WEEK:

Do the Slim Belly Workout moves on 3 nonconsecutive days to tone your midsection.

5 DAYS A WEEK:

Do 30 to 40 minutes of cardio, such as brisk walking, swimming, jogging, or bike riding, to burn off belly fat. You should be breathing hard but still able to talk in short sentences.

EVERY DAY:

Watch portions and fi ll up on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and healthy fats to maximize results. Aim for 1,600 to 1,800 calories spread evenly throughout the day. To keep tabs on your eating, go to prevention

THE EXPERT:

Tony Caterisano, PhD, exercise scientist and professor in the department of health sciences at Furman University, designed this workout.

SLIM BELLY WORKOUT

Do 3 sets of each of the 4 moves, performing as many reps (1 second up, 1 second down) as possible until you feel a burning sensation in the muscles you’re working or you can no longer maintain proper form. Rest 15 seconds between sets. You’ll likely be able to do more reps during earlier sets and exercises–and that’s okay. After you can do 50 reps or hold a plank for 2 minutes for most sets, try the “Make it Harder” variations, change the order of the exercises, or do the moves after another type of workout.

  1. Hipless Crunch

Lie on back with legs lifted and bent, calves parallel to fl oor, and feet relaxed. Cross arms over chest

with hands on shoulders. Contract abdominal muscles and lift head, shoulders, and upper back about 30

degrees off floor. Lower without touching head to floor. Exhale as you lift; inhale as you lower.

*Prevention Fitness Lab testers averaged 25 reps per set

Make It Easier:

Rest calves on a chair and extend arms down at sides.

Make It Harder: Extend legs straight up.

Tips: 

  • Don’t pull chin toward chest.
  • Focus on abs doing the work; imagine sliding rib cage toward hips.

Stop When…

  • You start pulling or jerking up with head, neck, or shoulders.
  • You can’t keep neck or shoulders relaxed.
  1. No-Hands Reverse Crunch

Lie face up with arms overhead and hands grasping a heavy piece of furniture or railing. Raise

feet into the air with legs bent. Contract abs, press back into floor, and lift hips off floor. Exhale as you lift; inhale as you lower.

*Prevention Fitness Lab testers averaged 21 reps per set.

Make It Easier:

Do the move with arms down at sides.

Make It Harder:

Straighten legs.

Tips:

  • Feel the contraction in abs, not in back or legs.
  • Tilt pelvis.
  • Think of lifting up instead of pulling knees toward chest.

Stop When…

  • You can’t lift hips off the floor without jerking.
  • Neck and shoulders are tense
  1. V Crunch

Balance on tailbone with legs bent, feet off floor, and arms bent at sides. Make sure back is

straight and chest is lifted. Lean back and extend arms and legs, then pull back to start position.

*Prevention Fitness Lab testers averaged 11 reps per set

Make It Easier:

Grasp sides of thighs with hands.

Make It Harder:

Hold a 3- to 5-pound dumbbell in each hand.

Tips:

  • Eyes gaze straight forward; keep chin parallel to floor.
  • Don’t let back curve or shoulders rise toward ears.

Stop When…

  • You can’t keep arms or legs up.
  • You can’t keep chest lifted.
  • Back or neck starts to hurt.
  1. Side Plank

Lie on right side, elbow beneath shoulder, feet stacked, left hand on hip. Contract abs to lift hip and leg off floor. Hold until fatigued, noting your time. Do 3 sets before switching sides.

*Prevention Fitness Lab testers averaged 19 seconds per side for each set

Make It Easier:

Bend legs and balance on bottom knee and side of lower leg.

Make It Harder:

Straighten top arm toward sky.

Tips:

  • Keep head, neck, torso, hips, and legs all in one straight line.
  • Don’t sink into shoulder–press elbow into fl oor and lift torso.

Stop When…

  • Hip is sagging toward floor.
  • Neck, shoulder, or back hurts.
  • You can’t keep body in line.

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