How to achieve a lean, flat stomach

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Everybody wants that toned, flat tummy, but not everybody knows how to achieve this. Doing abs work can be intimidating when you want to achieve a lean and flat look as opposed to a bulky, muscular mid section. Here are some tips on how to get the stomach you want!

How much abs work should I be doing?

Aim for doing abs work 2-3 times per week. When performing exercises, increased repetitions and sets will create a more cardio-based program that helps you lean out instead of putting on volume. Leading trainers recommend doing 3 sets of each exercise, and performing 15-20 repetitions for each set. Make sure to perform each exercise in a slow and controlled manner, and remember to breathe normally. You can include your abs workouts on your off days, cardio days, or even other weight-lifting days, just be sure to give them 48 hours of rest in between sessions!

What exercises should I do?

Getting a lean stomach means you need to focus on your entire core: this includes your abdominals, your obliques, and your lower back. Here are five exercises to do to get a lean—and strong—core. Remember to perform them using the guidelines mentioned above!

  • Plank- this can be done on your forearms or on your hands, just be sure to keep a straight line from your shoulders to your heels while constantly engaging your abs.
  • Russian twists- while sitting on your bottom with bent knees, lean back at a 45-degree angle while keeping a straight spine. Rotate your upper body so your chest is facing one side, and then fully rotate back to the other side to perform one rep.
  • Leg lifts- lying on your back, start with your legs about two inches above the floor and bring them up until they are perpendicular to the floor. Be sure to keep your legs straight and together!
  • Bicycle Crunches- lying on your back with your hands behind your head and your legs straight out, bring one knee to meet your opposite elbow, then switch sides and keep repeating.
  • Supermans- lying on your stomach with your arms and legs stretched in opposite directions, pinch your lower back so your arms and legs simultaneously rise about 4-5 inches off the floor. Hold for 2 seconds, and then lower back to the ground.

What else is important for getting a lean stomach?

Pairing your abs routine with cardio is extremely important if you want to attain the lean, flat look. Try to get in 3-4 sessions of cardio, for at least 30 minutes each session. Diet is another key to getting the tummy you desire. Try to avoid foods that are high in sodium and artificial sweeteners, as these can cause bloating. Instead, grab some nuts, leafy greens, yogurt, or eggs—these foods provide fiber, protein, and antioxidants, which are key ingredients to decreasing bloat.