It’s healthy to get in shape and tone your body. Strengthening and toning core muscles, such as the obliques and abdomen, will help improve your posture, flatten your stomach and make you look and feel better. The simple exercises that work this area can all be done safely and effectively from home.
Practice holding a strong plank pose to develop abdominal muscles and flatten your stomach area. “Good Housekeeping” recommends doing the plank on a regular basis and working up your strength until you can hold the pose successfully for a full minute.
Get into a plank pose by lying flat on your stomach and placing your elbows directly under your shoulders. Lock your hands together to form the tip of a triangle shape; the triangle’s other two points are at your elbows. Keeping your body in a straight line, push up on your forearms and lift through your core so that you’re holding yourself in the air between your forearms and toes, keeping your abs tight. Hold for as long as you can. If the pose is too intense, drop your knees down.
Pelvic Lift and Tilt
Target just one area of your core at a time with specialized exercises. The Mayo Clinic recommends pelvic lifts and pelvic tilts to target the lower abdominal muscles and get rid of excess belly fat.
For a pelvis lift, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put your arms at your sides, palms facing down. Lift your midsection up, pressing lightly on your arms and feet, until your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Return to start, and repeat as many times as you comfortably can. Alternate with pelvic tilts for best results.
For a pelvic tilt, start in the same position with back flat and knees bent. Try to flatten your back completely against the floor by contracting your abs and tilting your pelvis up, but do not move your hips or butt off the floor. The movement is small. Hold the pose for a few seconds, and return to start. Repeat.
Work several muscles at once with a combination exercise such as the pike crunch. CNN notes that crunches can help strengthen the whole core area, lessening the risk of injury from everyday activities. Pike crunches are particularly effective because they work almost every core muscle simultaneously.
To do a pike crunch, lie flat on your back with your toes pointed and your arms extended above your head. Exhale while lifting your legs and arms simultaneously, aiming to meet them in the middle of your body. Try to keep your legs straight. Hold the move briefly, and return to start. Repeat for as many times as you comfortably can. If the move is too difficult, try lifting just one leg at a time and alternating legs.
About this Author
Carly Schuna is a Wisconsin-based professional writer, editor and copy editor/proofreader. She has worked with hundreds of pieces of fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature, feature stories, and corporate content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Grinnell College.