Most of us could do with some stomach toning - let's face it, this area is often associated with fitness, so keeping it trim and conditioned is one of the best ways of showing that you are in shape.
Stomach toning comes via a combination of diet and exercise. If you are overweight, not matter how strong your abs are, no one will know if they are hidden beneath a thick layer of fat.
So assuming that you are able to actually see your abs, which exercises work best for stomach toning?
One option is the various complete exercise systems, such as yoga or Pilates. Both of these will help you to develop a strong, well conditioned core, while simultaneously working the rest of the body.
However, if you prefer exercises that specifically work this region, research suggests that these are the best options:
- Bicycles: One of the most simple and effective of all abs exercises. Requires no equipment, but has been scientifically demonstrated to be one of the top three abs exercises.
- Crunches on an exercise ball: Another proven winner, with the instability of the ball forcing you to engage deep core muscles like the Transverse Abdominus (TVA).
- Captain's Chair: If you have access to a gym, then the Captain's Chair is an excellent exercise for both the abdominals and the obliques.
- Vertical Leg Crunches: Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Place your fingertips at the sides of your head for support. Extend your legs straight up in the air, crossed at the ankles with a slight bend in the knee. Contract your abdominal muscles and lift your chest toward your knees. Exhale as you contract upwards, inhale as you return to the starting position.