Flat Belly Exercises

If you're a fan of crunches, congratulations -- you're among the very few (if not the only one). Most women would rather get a Brazilian bikini wax every day of their life than do a single crunch. They're not only uncomfortable but boring (the crunches, that is -- waxes are never boring). The good news: You can trade those crunches for other, more interesting moves.

Woman with flat abs

4 Abs exercises that will surprise you

Do these abs exercises two to three times a week on alternate days and at the end of your regular training routine. You should see results within four to six weeks (just in time for a new bikini wax).

1Twister

Get ready: Lie on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees. arms straight out to the sides; brace your abdominals as you lift up knees and place a small medicine ball or rolled up towel between your knees.

Go: Keeping inner thigh (adductor) muscles activated by squeezing the ball/towel, slowly lower your knees to one side, keeping shoulders and back flat on the floor. Pause and reverse direction, dropping knees to the opposite side. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

2Cable-Twisting Rope Crunch

Get ready: Stand in front of a high pulley apparatus with your body facing the machine. Grasp the ends of a rope attached to the pulley. Keep your elbows in toward your ears, torso upright.

Go: Keeping your lower back immobile, slowly curl your shoulders downward, twisting your body to the right as you bring your elbows toward your knees. Contract your abs, then slowly uncurl your body, returning to the start position. Alternate between twisting to the right then the left for the desired number of repetitions.

3Ball Walk-Around

Get ready: Kneel in front of a large (55- to 65-cm) fitness ball and roll out over, walking on your hands, until the ball rests under your feet. Hands are shoulder-width apart in a push-up position.

Go: Activate your core muscles to keep hips and body aligned—do not allow your hips to sag or rotate. Keeping feet on the ball, begin walking hands out to the sides, rotating your body around the ball in a clockwise direction. Do this by picking up your right hand and moving it away from your midline, supporting your body weight briefly with your left arm until you replant the right hand. Next, pick up your left hand and move it closer to your right hand. Alternate these steps until you make a complete circle around the ball, then repeat in the opposite direction.

4Barbell Rollout

Get ready: Load a pair of small plates (five-pounders work well) onto the ends of a barbell. Grasp the middle of the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip and kneel down so your shoulders are directly over the bar. Your upper back should be rounded, with your backside off the floor as high as possible.

Go: Keeping your knees on the floor and your arms taut, roll the bar forward as far as comfortably possible without allowing your body to touch the floor. Reverse direction by forcefully contracting your abs, returning along the same path back to the start position.

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