You Can Have a Stronger, Flatter Belly Using This 1 Move

Let’s face it: getting a stronger, leaner core only comes from putting the time in at the gym and eating right. But what if you could put in the effort and it wasn’t any harder than sucking in your gut? Got your attention? We thought so! It’s time to try out the stomach vacuum.

First things first: what is a stomach vacuum? Simply put, it’s the act of pulling in your abdominal muscles in very much the same way as you do when you suck in your tummy to zip up your favorite jeans. But before you think all you have to do is suck in your gut, think again. This isn’t just about breathing in and allowing your tummy to come inward. Rather, this is about contracting your abdominal muscles to actively bring your belly toward your spine.

Your best bet for results is to pull your abs inward and brace them as though you’re about to be punched. But you can also keep your abs drawn in while doing a crunch, working all the layers of your abs simultaneously with the deep abs (transversus) pulling the abdomen in and then superficial muscles (rectus) contracting to perform the crunch.

According to certified personal trainer Brian Pankau, “The vacuum is an isometric exercise that isolates the muscles that lie underneath the external abs and obliques, which are often neglected. Increasing the intensity placed on these underlying muscles could assist a person with flattening their stomach and defining their abs and obliques better. Another benefit is increasing maximum output during power lifts.”

If you want science to help you get in the gym and get the job done, then look no further than the research published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning and the Archives of Physical Medical Rehabilitation. Both outline how the abs are harnessed by such a maneuver. They also make note of the fact that this sort of exercise helps strengthen your back and alleviates lower back pain. Sounds like a win-win to us.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography/Ericka McConnell

You Can Have a Stronger, Flatter Belly Using This 1 Move

Let’s face it: getting a stronger| leaner core only comes from putting the time in at the gym and eating right. But what if you could put in the effort and it wasn’t any harder than sucking in your gut? Got your attention? We thought so! It’s time to try out the stomach vacuum.

First things first: what is a stomach vacuum? Simply put| it’s the act of pulling in your abdominal muscles in very much the same way as you do when you suck in your tummy to zip up your favorite jeans. But before you think all you have to do is suck in your gut| think again. This isn’t just about breathing in and allowing your tummy to come inward. Rather| this is about contracting your abdominal muscles to actively bring your belly toward your spine.

Your best bet for results is to pull your abs inward and brace them as though you’re about to be punched. But you can also keep your abs drawn in while doing a crunch| working all the layers of your abs simultaneously with the deep abs (transversus) pulling the abdomen in and then superficial muscles (rectus) contracting to perform the crunch.

According to certified personal trainer Brian Pankau| “The vacuum is an isometric exercise that isolates the muscles that lie underneath the external abs and obliques| which are often neglected. Increasing the intensity placed on these underlying muscles could assist a person with flattening their stomach and defining their abs and obliques better. Another benefit is increasing maximum output during power lifts.”

If you want science to help you get in the gym and get the job done| then look no further than the research published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning and the Archives of Physical Medical Rehabilitation. Both outline how the abs are harnessed by such a maneuver. They also make note of the fact that this sort of exercise helps strengthen your back and alleviates lower back pain. Sounds like a win-win to us.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography/Ericka McConnell

Tone Your Arms and Core With This 3-Minute Plank Workout

Tone Your Arms and Core With This 3-Minute Plank Workout

No weights? No problem. Tone your abs and core with one single bodyweight move u2014 the plank. These five variations will get your heart pumping and your arms and core burning. It only takes three minutes, so if you want a longer workout, repeat this circuit two or three times.

| Frogger

  • Begin in plank position with straight arms and legs.
  • Gently hop the feet forward behind the hands. Then hop the feet back to plank position. This counts as one rep.
  • Complete as many reps as you can for 30 seconds.

| Superwoman Plank

  • Come into plank position.
  • Bend the elbows, and lower the belly to the floor. Take a lift by actively bending the elbows behind you, squeezing the shoulder blades together and raising the legs as high as you can.
  • Plant the palms on the floor underneath the shoulders, and press back up to plank. This counts as one rep.
  • Repeat for 30 seconds.

| Side Plank Crunch

  • Lower into a side elbow plank with your left elbow down and your right hand behind your head.
  • Keeping your torso stable and your waist lifted, bring your right leg up toward your shoulder to lightly tap your right elbow.
  • Lengthen your right leg back to the starting position to complete one rep.
  • Do as many reps as you can for 30 seconds. Then switch sides for another 30 seconds.

| Plank With Creepy Crawler

  • Come into plank position.
  • Bring your right knee to your right elbow, and then return the right leg back to plank position.
  • Repeat this action on the left side to complete one rep.
  • Continue alternating for as many reps as you can for 30 seconds.

| Dolphin Dive

  • Come into Quarter Dog with the forearms parallel. Press your hips and shoulders back toward your feet, lengthening through your spine. Walk your toes away from you a couple inches.
  • With fingers spread wide, dive forward, lowering the chin so it’s barely touching the floor in front of the fingertips. The shoulders should hover over the wrists, and the elbows should remain in line with the middle fingers.
  • Press back to Quarter Dog to complete one rep.
  • Do as many reps as you can for 30 seconds.

Add This 12-Minute Workout to Your Routine For Sculpted Abs

The following post was originally featured on Jill Conyers and written by Jill Conyers, who is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

Ever have one of those weekends that is exceptional and you hate to see it end? That was my weekend. It was relaxing, productive, fun and with a lot of laughs. See why I didn’t want it to end?

Friday I mentioned a surprise date night with my husband. [Best surprise ever] we went to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra, my all time favorite Christmas music. The show was phenomenal and even better than I imagined it would be.

This week is a supplemental workout of 12 minutes targeting the core. First, how about a little anatomy?

Your core is more than your abs and they’re not synonymous. The abdominals are essential in the core muscle group and they include all the muscles of your back and your obliques.

Primary Core Muscles:

Rectus abdominis: the six-pack muscles in front of the belly that are activated when you do crunches.

Transverse abdominis: deep muscles under the six-pack that pull your abdominal wall inward.

Obliques: the ab muscles on the sides of your torso that help you bend to the side and resist rotation.

Hip flexors: the muscles that allow you to flex your hips and raise your upper legs to walk and run.

Lower back: the many muscles here play an important role in core mechanics by keeping your spine stable when you bend backward.

Now on to the workout.

Supplement your workouts with this workout 2 days a week to sculpt your abs and strengthen your core.

Equipment needed:Mat2-5 pound dumbbellTimerRemember:Brace your core.Use proper body alignment and good form.Reps and rest periods should be based on your fitness level.Modify as needed to meet your fitness level by increasing/decreasing reps, weight and sets.Gradually increase intensity based on your progress.

I am a certified personal trainer, but this workout was not created for your specific fitness level and needs. Make modifications as needed. Intensity and rest periods should be based on your individual fitness level. See your physician before beginning any exercise program. This web site is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice and supervision of your personal physician. Any application of this or any other exercise routine set forth in this program is at the viewer’s discretion and sole risk.

Wood Chop (1) Hold a single dumbbell with both hands above your right shoulder. (2) Rotate your torso to the right and, with control, swing the dumbbell down and to the outside of your left knee by rotating to the left and bending at your hips. (3) Reverse the movement to return to the start position. (4) Complete the prescribed number of reps on the left side, then do the same on your right side, holding the dumbbell over your left shoulder.

Toe Touch Crunch (1) Start in position of a basic crunch, then lift your legs off the floor and hold them up toward the ceiling with your feet flexed. (2) Holding your arms straight up with your fingers toward your toes, perform a basic crunch with your fingers touching your toes.

Boat Pose (1) Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. (2) Keeping them straight, raise your legs until they are at a 90-degree angle from your torso. (3) Your torso will naturally fall back, but instead of letting the spine collapse, make a V-shape with your body. (4) Bring the arms out straight in line with your shoulders to a balance. Beginners, bend your knees if necessary, bringing the calves parallel to the floor (Half Boat Pose).

Plank with Hip Rotations (1) Assume a plank position with your forearms flat on the floor and your palms down. Your body should form a straight line from your head to you ankles. Brace your core. (2) Keeping your hands in place and using your feet as the pivot point, twist your body to the left as far as possible without losing your balance. Don’t change your lower back posture as you twist your body. (3) Repeat to the right, that’s one rep.

Standing Oblique Crunch (1) Stand with your shoulders in line with your hips and raise your right arm. (2) Shift on to your left leg and lift and rotate your right leg at the hip, turning your toes out. (3) Crunch your right elbow and your right knee together, pinching your waist. Return to the start position. (4) Complete the prescribed number of reps on the right side, then do the same on your left side.

Circle Crunch (1) Lie face up with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, and your hands behind your head with your fingers lightly touching. (2) Lift your shoulders off the floor until you feel a tight contraction. (3) Curl your torso around in a small, clockwise circular motion (starting from 6 to 9 to 12 to 3 o’clock and back down to 6). That’s one rep. (4) For the next rep, repeat in the opposite, counterclockwise direction.

Plank (1) Start in a push-up position except keep your hands directly under your shoulders instead of outside of your chest. (2) Legs are straight out behind you with feet together. (3) You are balancing on your palms and the balls of your feet. Hold this position. Gradually increase the time you can hold this position with good form.

Supplementing this workout with your workouts for the week might look like this:

Image Source: Jill Conyers

No Gym? No Problem! Try These 6 Easy and Effective At-Home Ab Moves

No Gym? No Problem! Try These 6 Easy and Effective At-Home Ab Moves

Core strength isn’t rocket science. No need to overthink this. Below are six exercises. You’ve seen them before. You’ve done them before. You’ve wished they worked before. The difference? You’ll be doing them in a sequence that is most conducive to targeting your core muscles.

The added bonus? You’ll only be doing one set of each u2014 until you can’t do them anymore. That’s right. You chose your intensity and your body will decide how far you can go. This allows you to progressively get better based on your own fitness level. You don’t need some guy telling you to reach 12 reps if you can’t get past eight on your first effort. You do your best each time and this plan will get you to your best core strength ever!

| Plank

The plank is a great starter to your core workout. As there arenu2019t actual reps here| the goal is to hold your body in a straight line like in the photo for as long as you can. According to certified personal trainer Brian Pankau| this is “the best core exercise you can perform because it activates muscles throughout your body.””

| Bicycle Crunch

Getting into the rhythm of the bicycle crunch is key. Mimic the motion your legs would make on a bike and bring your elbow to your opposite knee as in the photo. Pankau explains these crunches are “”great for the obliques and abs| but also help warm-up your trunk and lower body joints for training.””

| Double Crunch

Get a little old school here with the double crunch| but donu2019t you dare pull your neck forward or swing your legs to complete a rep!

Pankau told us| “”The key to this exercise is getting your tailbone and shoulders off the floor.””

| V-Sit

You hated V-sits as a kid and you might hate them even more now| but you can’t argue with results. Hold each rep for a second to get the real burn! Keep your form as accurate as possible to make a ‘V’ with your body. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you feel your lower abs and obliques burning! Enjoy!

| Wood Chopper

The wood chopper is perfect to do near the end of a workout for a good stretch while also hitting your entire core. Just remember to evenly move through the movement u2014 don’t swing your weight around.

| Superman

If you don’t thank us after doing this move| you’re doing it wrong. There may be nothing overly heroic about this exercise other than its name| but it stretches out your abs and activates all the muscles you’ve got so you stay loose and enjoy the benefits.

According to Pankau this move is “”great to end a core workout with since it stretches all muscles involved around the core simultaneously.””

20-Minute Ab and Butt Workout Guaranteed to Leave You Sore Tomorrow

From warmup to cooldown, this quick workout is a little over 20 minutes, so it should be easy to fit into your busy day. In the first circuit, we recommend using 10-pound weights, but these moves will still be effective with lighter weights or no weights at all.

Read up on the specifics of each more here, then print the workout to take to the gym.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Studios

20-Minute Ab and Butt Workout Guaranteed to Leave You Sore Tomorrow

From warmup to cooldown| this quick workout is a little over 20 minutes| so it should be easy to fit into your busy day. In the first circuit| we recommend using 10-pound weights| but these moves will still be effective with lighter weights or no weights at all.

Read up on the specifics of each more here| then print the workout to take to the gym.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Studios

A Hardcore Cardio and Strength Workout For Killer Abs

Combine cardio with core work to reap the flat-belly benefits of both types of sweat sessions in this quick, 20-minute workout. It alternates between jumping rope and standing ab exercise, so you can tone your belly while burning serious calories in just 20 minutes. We use one eight-pound dumbbell in this workout to increase the toning potential of each exercise. No weights? No problem. This workout will still be effective without them.

Learn the details of the strength-training moves below, then print this workout, and start jumping!

Low to High Woodchop

Squat and twist to hold the dumbbell on the outside of your left leg. Exhale and lift the weight diagonally across your body, ending twisted to the right with the dumbbell above your head. Pivot on your left foot as needed. Weighted Side Bend

Hold the dumbbell above your head, squeezing your ears with your upper arms to activate your core. Pull your abs to your spine and lengthen your spine as you bend slowly to the right. Return to standing upright, and then slowly to the left. Keep your pelvis still as you bend to the side. Kick Crunch

Exhale to engage the abs as you kick your right leg up, bringing your left hand to your right toes, doing a small crunch. Repeat on the other side. Rotate Row

Start in a shallow squat, holding the weight in your right hand. Pull your elbow back, squeezing your right shoulder blade toward your spine while you twist to the right. Do for 30 seconds, then switch sides. Overhead Circle

Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips with your knees soft. Hold the dumbbell overhead with both hands. Keeping your abs pulled to the spine, circle the weight around your head starting to the left. Your ribs can move slightly, but your pelvis should stay still. After 30 seconds, reverse direction and circle to the right.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

A Hardcore Cardio and Strength Workout For Killer Abs

Combine cardio with core work to reap the flat-belly benefits of both types of sweat sessions in this quick| 20-minute workout. It alternates between jumping rope and standing ab exercise| so you can tone your belly while burning serious calories in just 20 minutes. We use one eight-pound dumbbell in this workout to increase the toning potential of each exercise. No weights? No problem. This workout will still be effective without them.

Learn the details of the strength-training moves below| then print this workout| and start jumping!

Low to High Woodchop

Squat and twist to hold the dumbbell on the outside of your left leg. Exhale and lift the weight diagonally across your body| ending twisted to the right with the dumbbell above your head. Pivot on your left foot as needed. Weighted Side Bend

Hold the dumbbell above your head| squeezing your ears with your upper arms to activate your core. Pull your abs to your spine and lengthen your spine as you bend slowly to the right. Return to standing upright| and then slowly to the left. Keep your pelvis still as you bend to the side. Kick Crunch

Exhale to engage the abs as you kick your right leg up| bringing your left hand to your right toes| doing a small crunch. Repeat on the other side. Rotate Row

Start in a shallow squat| holding the weight in your right hand. Pull your elbow back| squeezing your right shoulder blade toward your spine while you twist to the right. Do for 30 seconds| then switch sides. Overhead Circle

Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips with your knees soft. Hold the dumbbell overhead with both hands. Keeping your abs pulled to the spine| circle the weight around your head starting to the left. Your ribs can move slightly| but your pelvis should stay still. After 30 seconds| reverse direction and circle to the right.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

Core-Carving Yoga Poses

Core-Carving Yoga Poses

It may be months before you’re slipping on a bathing suit again, but that doesn’t give you the green light to forget about your abs. Even under your baggy sweater, it’s still important to maintain a strong, toned core. It will not only prevent back pain, improve your balance and posture, and make running, skiing, and other sports feel easier, but you’ll also feel confident in and out of your clothes. Unroll that yoga mat and do these nine poses that’ll leave you so sore, it’ll hurt to laugh tomorrow.

| Warrior 3

Balancing on one leg really challenges your core! If you’re not using your abs to stabilize in this pose, you’ll likely tip over. Here’s how to find your inner warrior.

  • Stand with your feet together. Inhale as you extend your arms out wide in T position or straight overhead for a more advanced variation.
  • Exhale as you bend forward at your hips, lifting your right leg straight behind you coming into Warrior 3. Draw your navel toward your spine, and hold for five breaths. Then come to stand, lower your right leg, and repeat with the left leg lifted for another five.

| Camel

A classic backbend that increases spinal flexibility, Camel also works your core muscles and opens tight shoulders.

  • Stand on your shins with your knees hips-width distance apart.
  • Lean back, and place your hands on your heels, arching back and allowing the head to fall between the shoulder blades.
  • Continue to press the hips forward to engage the abs, thighs, and tush, enjoying this pose for five breaths.

| Dolphin Plank

Even yogis love elbow planks, but we call them something else. An elbow plank by any other name will still work your abs.

  • From Downward Facing Dog, inhale and shift your weight forward coming into plank position (top of a push-up). Exhale as you lower onto your forearms so that your shoulders are stacked directly above your elbows and your body is parallel with the floor.
  • Dolphin Plank is an intense pose, so if you can’t hold for five breaths, lower one or both knees to the floor.

| Balancing Star

This pose is a side plank on crack . . . in a good way. Your obliques will certainly feel the challenge while you balance in this starry pose.

  • Begin in Downward Facing Dog, and step both feet together. Move your right hand to the left about six inches so it’s at the upper center of your mat. Step your right foot forward two inches, and plant the sole of your right foot firmly on the mat, so your toes are pointing away from you. Inhale as you roll open to your right side, and lift your left hand off the mat. Raise your left leg up into the air.
  • Gaze at your lifted hand, and hold Balancing Star for five breaths. Keeping your core engaged will help you stay balanced. Repeat this pose on the other side.

| Crow

Arm balances require more than arm strength; they’re really about your core! Thinking of this as an ab exercise can help you hone in on the balance needed to maintain this pose.

  • Begin in a squat, placing your hands shoulder-width distance apart on the mat. Spread your fingers as wide as you can, creating a strong, stable base. Straighten your legs slightly, placing your knees as high up onto your triceps (back of your arms) as possible. Slowly shift weight into your palms and lift your feet off the ground.
  • Stay here for five breaths gazing at the floor in front of you.

| Boat

Boat pose is the go-to move for abs in yoga. It really challenges all four layers of your abdominals, similar to the Balance Point in Pilates. Get ready for some smooth sailing.

  • Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Bend your knees, and lift your legs off the floor, bringing your knees in toward your chest with your shins parallel to the floor. Sit up as tall as you can, and take a breath in as you slowly begin to straighten your legs. Your legs don’t need to be straight since the action of keeping your spine long and drawing your belly in is what works your abs here.
  • Hold Boat pose for five breaths.

| Intense East

Believe it or not, you’re totally working your abs even as you expose your belly to the sky. Pulling your low abs up and in while arching your spine makes this pose feel easier.

  • From a seated position with your legs extended straight out in front of you, place your hands behind your hips about six to eight inches, with your fingers pointing toward your toes. As you inhale, press into your hands and feet firmly, lifting your hips into the air. Lift them as high as you can so your spine is in a long line. Slowly release your head back, looking behind you, and open through your throat.
  • Stay here in Intense East pose for five deep breaths, then lower your hips to the floor.

| Eight Crooked Limbs Prep

The pose called Eight Crooked Limbs really works your upper body, but this prep pose for it is a killer move for your abs.

  • Sit on your bum with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your right knee, and hold your right foot with your left hand. Bring your right arm underneath your right leg, and use your left hand to help push your right knee as high as you can on top of your right tricep.
  • Plant your palms on the floor, and bend your right elbow slightly to keep your knee in place. Press into your palms firmly, engage your abs, and with an inhale, lift your hips off the floor. If it’s easy, lift your left leg off the ground, too. You’re sure to feel a burn in your belly after five breaths.

| Headstand B

Work your abs upside down in this Headstand variation.

  • Begin on your hands and knees. Lower your elbows to the floor and interlace your fingers, bringing your lowest pinkie in front of the other pinkie, forming a semicircle with your hands.
  • Place the back of your head against your palms, and the top of your head on the mat, so your skull is vertical with the floor. Once your head and forearms feel stable, straighten both legs and walk your feet toward your face as far as you can.
  • Shift your hips over your shoulders, and keep your elbows planted firmly on the mat. Lift both legs into the air, coming into Bound Headstand.
  • Stay in Headstand for five breaths, relaxing the jaw as well as the shoulders away from the ears. Take a breath in, and as you exhale, slowly lower both feet toward the mat so they are parallel with the floor. Hold here for another five breaths.
  • Inhale and then exhale to raise the legs back up into Headstand. Repeat four more times.