Summer is right around the corner, so what better time to show off all the hard work you’ve been putting in at the gym – especially after you’ve been hiding inside humongous sweaters and coats all winter.
On the other hand, maybe you haven’t really been loyal to a workout plan and you need to trim your tummy before your big summer vacation comes around.
Good news: you don’t have to suffer through hundreds of crunches to get rid of that stubborn belly fat around your stomach. Whether you’re an ab work newbie or a seasoned pro, these five exercises – all of which you probably already know pretty well – will speed up the journey to toned abs so that you’re ready in time for summer. And the best part? There are no crunches involved. Not a single one. (Um, sign us up, please.)
If you want to tone, you have to first burn. Reduce your belly fat and elevate your heart rate with an exercise that you were probably doing since you were seven years old – jumping jacks! It’s a full-body workout that works the major muscle groups: you’re working your calf muscles and engaging your core every time you jump.
Start with 3 sets of jumping jacks for 45-60 seconds to warm up your body. If you do jumping jacks frequently, you’ll see results (as long as you’re burning a greater number of calories than you consume).
If you thought squats were just for a stronger, firmer derriere, you’re missing out on a secret that has helped millions of people get into shape. Squats are a full-body exercise that activates core muscles often abandoned when you stick to just crunches. You’ll have a chance to shed fat while you work the core, hips, quads, and hamstrings.
Proper form is key. Make sure your head is straight, feet standing in a shoulder width stance, and knees in line with your feet. Squat as far down as your mobility allows.
Start with 3 sets of 10 squats and then up the ante with 12-15 reps.
There’s a thin line between love and hate, and burpees just might cross that line. This intense fat blasting, cardio exercise will whip you into shape and help you shed all of your unwanted fat by working your abs, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and arms.
Start with a big explosion at the top, lower your body into a squat, and then place your hands on the ground and jump your feet back to mirror a plank position.
You can start by doing two sets of 5 burpees working your way up to three sets of 12 reps (watch out for the downpour of sweat!).
Planks have received a reputation for being one of the best core workouts on the planet. This isometric exercise gives you the ultimate core tightening benefits that will shape your waistline and strengthen your posture.
Get into pushup position on the floor and then try different plank variations to engage your core, back, glutes, and hamstrings. Lowering your hips, arching your back, or looking up can diminish the power of the plank.
Hold your plank for 10 to 15 seconds and gradually build your way up to 60 seconds. Then, do 2 sets of 30 plank jacks to get a cardio boost.
If you’re looking for a super-charged, core-testing workout routine, look no further than performing the almighty mountain climber exercise. It’s known to be a touch exercise; the mountain climber is a combination of fat burning and conditioning that works your entire core and multiple secondary muscles. You’ll finally see the trimmed, strong stomach you’ve been searching for after you get rid of the fat that’s hiding it.
Start in a push-up position, bring your knees toward your chest, and maintain a steady floor running action. Your lower back should have a straight posture during this movement. Do this for 20 reps.