Make This Bikini Season Your Best Yet With These Flat Belly Exercises
Written by: Taylor Rao
Yup, that’s right. It’s officially bikini season. Whether you’re weeks away from your nautical beach getaway or like to spend your summers hanging poolside in your backyard or local country club, the bathing suits are out to play in retail stores and online shops everywhere.
And as exciting as it is to feel the warm breeze outside, some of us aren’t always ready by the first day of summer to debut our beach bod. There’s one accessory we’d all like to sport whether we’re a bikini or one-piece kind of bather: a flat belly.
If the winter blues got the best of you and you didn’t start working on your summer fitness goals as early as you should’ve, don’t panic. It’s never too late to get going on some quick, easy exercises that will help you tone up in the tummy area before you hit the beach.
Plank it Out
You can literally drop to the floor as you’re reading this and hold a plank, so there’s really no excuse as to why you can’t engage your core as you’re dreaming of how you’ll look in your favorite bikini.
In a plank position, your elbows are on the ground with your arms shoulder distance apart --keeping your core tight and engaged while making sure your bum doesn’t rise up in the air as the exercise gets harder. To make your plank last longer, keep your gaze out toward the front of you instead of looking down. That way, you can breathe more easily and focus on a point in the room while you feel the burn.
Planks are a great way to not only challenge your core and work those abs, but to also test your mental toughness. If you plank every day, try to set a new record for yourself by timing each plank and striving for more the next time around. If you can get to a point where you can hold an elbow plank for two minutes straight, you’ll look and feel pretty darn good.
(Russian) Twist and Shout
The Russian Twist is a simple floor exercise that works great for beginners and can still stay part of your fitness routine as you become more advanced. Sitting on the ground with a slight bend in the knee and your legs up above the ground, hold your upper body at about a 45-degree angle while swiftly rotating from side to side. While rotating, try to get your elbows down close to the ground near your hip, and take the speed up a notch once you’ve gotten in the rhythm.
With consistent reps of Russian Twists in your abdominal workout routine, you’ll help define your waistline while getting your heart rate up and ready for more.
Ready, Set, Burpee
Burpees are one of the most torturous words you can ever hear your fitness instructor say, but the reason why they’re so popular in gyms across the world is because they work.
Not only does a burpee help your abs, but it works your whole body and has many variations to make it more regressed or difficult. Starting with a full push up, then jumping up into a low squat before exploding up toward the ceiling and ending back in a squat position, the traditional burpee is a high cardio, intense movement that has you up, down and back again before you can catch your breath.
Lie Down and Leg Lift
Grab your yoga mat or settle in on a cushy carpet to get your daily dose of leg lifts in. While “leg” is in the name, this exercise is all about the lower abdominals as you use your core to lift your bum off the ground while your legs are in the air at a 90-degree angle.
The key to leg lifts is to focus on your speed (or lack thereof). To really engage your core on this one, you want to aim for slow and controlled movements on the way down. It’s OK to drive your hips toward the air with your abs locked in, but stay focused on lowering down to the ground as slow and controlled as possible to make sure you’re doing it right.
Get Yourself a Kettlebell
Kettlebell workouts are all the rage these days because there’s simply so much you can do with just one piece of equipment. For the average female, an 8 kg. (or 18 lb.) kettlebell is a safe weight to start with, and once you become more familiar and comfortable with the exercises, you can always graduate to something higher.
From kettlebell swings that work your lower body in your glutes, quads and legs, to a simple kettlebell hold where you grip it by the horns and hold the kettlebell out in front of you, kettlebells teach you to control your upper body and use your core by working multiple muscle groups at once. Whether you’re rowing, squatting or pressing, you’re getting a workout that your midsection and the rest of your body will thank you for.
Run, Baby Run
This might not be the answer you want to hear, but to burn belly fat, you need to burn calories fast and in places all over the body. There’s nothing like going for a run to get your heart rate up, help you sweat out toxins and any negativity and get you results that you’ll feel (and see) from head to toe. If you've tried to run but struggle to get into it checkout these tips.
If we’re focused on a flat belly and don’t want to become a marathon runner in the process, that’s totally OK. There’s no reason to have a need for speed, so instead, open up to the possibility of going on a light jog a few days a week, say one or two miles to start. Running is a perfect supplement to your at-home ab exercises that will leave you feeling like you’ve earned a dip in the pool afterwards.