The 2 Core-Strengthening Moves to Steal From Pilates

These Pilates moves will work your abs like no other ¡ª SelfHow to detox your body from a candy coma ¡ª Real SimpleWhy a sandwich might not be the healthiest lunch choice for you ¡ª ShapeUpgrade your running shoes to one of these superflexible sneakers ¡ª HealthA beginner’s guide to trail running ¡ª Women’s HealthThe healthiest range of slow-cooker meals to drool over ¡ª Cooking LightYour local playground can be your next workout spot ¡ª FitnessHere’s why you may be sweating more than the next guy ¡ª GreatistA secret ingredient that will spice up your fruit salad flavors ¡ª POPSUGAR FoodImage Source: Shutterstock

The 2 Core-Strengthening Moves to Steal From Pilates

These Pilates moves will work your abs like no other ¡ª SelfHow to detox your body from a candy coma ¡ª Real SimpleWhy a sandwich might not be the healthiest lunch choice for you ¡ª ShapeUpgrade your running shoes to one of these superflexible sneakers ¡ª HealthA beginner’s guide to trail running ¡ª Women’s HealthThe healthiest range of slow-cooker meals to drool over ¡ª Cooking LightYour local playground can be your next workout spot ¡ª FitnessHere’s why you may be sweating more than the next guy ¡ª GreatistA secret ingredient that will spice up your fruit salad flavors ¡ª POPSUGAR FoodImage Source: Shutterstock

Whittle Your Middle With the All-Abs Workout

Whittle Your Middle With the All-Abs Workout

Here are nine great exercises for toning your midsection. Remember| the ol’ Pilates trick of pulling the belly button in ensures that you’re working the deepest ab muscle (known as the transverse)| which helps create a sleek midriff.

The exercises are divided into three sections: upper abs| obliques| and lower abs. You can approach this workout three different ways: pick one exercise from each section and perform two to three sets| pick two exercises from each section and do one to two sets| or for the ultimate boredom buster| do one set of all nine exercises.

Combining these exercises with regular cardio and clean eating and incorporating these flat-belly foods into your diet will help you keep flat abs throughout the year.

| Upper Abs: Crunches on Exercise Ball

  • Sit on a well-inflated exercise ball. For information on what diameter ball to use| read “Ball Size Matters.””
  • Place your hands behind your head| and walk your feet away from the ball so your torso starts to roll onto the ball. The ball should support your hips and the curve of your lower back. Your legs should form a bridge with your knees bent at right angles.
  • Exhale and lift your upper body by about 45 degrees| pulling the deep abs in toward the spine| and return to starting position. Don’t yank your neck! Do 25 reps.

| Upper Abs: Pilates 100s

  • Start lying on your back with your legs in tabletop position (hips and knees at right angles). Engage your deep abs to round your lower spine into the floor. Make sure you are not “”pooching”” your abs| which means you are just working the top layer of abs| which is a Pilates no-no.
  • Exhale and lift your upper back off the floor| until the bottom tips of your shoulder blades skim the floor. Straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle (but make sure your low back is staying connected to the floor). Reach your arms toward your feet. Your arms will be about two inches off the floor.
  • Pump your arms up and down with a small range of motion| keeping your elbows straight. Inhale for five arm pumps| and exhale for five pumps. That completes one set or cycle. Repeat the cycle nine more times for a total of 100 pumps.
  • Keep your upper body stable while your arms pump.

For more details| read “”Back to Basics: Pilates 100s.””

| All Abs: Elbow Plank

  • Start on the floor resting on your forearms and knees.
  • Step your feet out one at a time| coming into a plank position.
  • Contract your abs to prevent your booty from sticking up or sinking. Your spine should be parallel to the floor| with your abs pulling toward the ceiling.
  • Hold 30 seconds| and work your way up to one minute as you get stronger.

If you’re bored with static plank| you can always take them for a walk to challenge your abs even more.

| Obliques: Bicycle Crunches

Considered one of the most effective ab exercises| this move really works the obliques.

  • Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground (pull your abs down to also target your deep abs). Interlace your fingers| and put your hands behind your head.
  • Bring your knees in toward your chest| and lift your shoulder blades off the ground.
  • Straighten your right leg out to about a 45-degree angle to the ground while turning your upper body to the left| bringing your right elbow toward the left knee. Make sure your rib cage is moving and not just your elbows.
  • Now switch sides and do the same motion on the other side to complete one rep (and to create the “”pedaling”” motion). Do this exercise with slow and controlled motion.
  • Do 10 to 20 reps.

| Obliques: Twisting Side Plank

  • Come into a side plank on your right side| with your feet stacked one on top of the other and your weight on your right elbow with your fingers reaching away from your body| palm down.
  • Place your left arm behind your head| and inhale to prepare.
  • Exhale and pull your navel to your spine to engage your deep abs| and rotate your left rib cage toward the floor. Stay there for a second| and deepen your abdominal connection by pulling your navel in toward your spine even more.
  • Return to starting position| and repeat seven more times for a total of eight reps| then switch sides. Repeat series again on both sides.

| Obliques: Seated Russian Twist

  • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your bum.
  • Lean slightly back without rounding your spine at all. It is really important| and difficult| to keep your back straight| but don’t let it curve.
  • Place your arms straight out in front of you with your hands one on top of the other. Your hands should be level with the bottom of your rib cage.
  • Pull your navel to your spine| and twist slowly to the left. The movement is not large and comes from the ribs rotating| not from your arms swinging. Inhale through center| and rotate to the right. This completes one rep.
  • Do 16 full rotations.

To increase the difficulty of this exercise| hold a five-pound medicine ball or dumbbell at chest height.

| Lower Abs: Hanging Ab Curls

This exercise works all the abs but targets the lower abs and the deepest ab muscle| the transverse abs. The abdominal muscles are working more as stabilizers against your powerful hip flexors in this move.

  • Using a pull-up bar| get a good grip with your palms facing out or toward each other.
  • Start with your legs hanging straight down| and on an exhale| pull your abs toward your spine and bend your knees| lifting them toward your chest.
  • Without swinging| slowly lower your knees| returning to a straight-leg position.
  • Repeat for a total of 10 to 12 reps.

| Lower Abs: Resistance Band Flutter Kicks

  • Sit on a mat or carpeted floor. Loop one handle of the resistance band on either foot. Hold onto the middle of the tube with both hands| and lie on your back.
  • Draw your navel toward your spine| and press your low spine into the floor to protect your lower back| then lift both legs up so they are almost pointing straight up toward the ceiling.
  • Holding the band securely| scissor your legs up and down one at a time| starting with the left leg. Move slowly| and point your toes. Each time your right foot lowers down counts as one set. Complete 10 to 15 sets.
  • To make this move more difficult| lower your legs so they are about six to 10 inches above the floor u2014 illustrated in the lower image. Make sure to keep your abs scooped when you work with your legs close to the ground. Scissor your legs for another 10 to 15 sets.

| Lower Abs: Double Crunch

  • Lie on your back on the floor| raising your arms and legs to a 90-degree angle.
  • Engage your abs to lift both your shoulders and pelvis off the ground. Touch your fingers to your toes.
  • Keeping your core engaged the entire time| slowly lower them back to the starting position to complete one rep.
  • Do 20 reps.

2-Minute Ab Workout to Add to Any Routine

2-Minute Ab Workout to Add to Any Routine

This group of classic Pilates moves| collectively known as the Series of Five| is the perfect addition to any workout. Take it from Lisa Corsello| founder of Burn Pilates and wholehearted Series of Five fan. “”It is my favorite set of exercises|”” she explains. “”Whenever I work out| I do a Series of Five. It’s really focused on the core| but your arms and legs are moving in all these different directions| which makes it much more challenging to hold your position.”” Lisa recommends it as part of any workout (or even just to start your day off right)| but she especially likes it after a run to stretch out tired legs and open up your chest. “”It feels fantastic|”” she says. Even better? Incorporating these ab-burning moves into your normal routine will only add about two minutes to your workout!

The trick is to move through each exercise without a break. Once you’ve mastered this part| take Lisa’s challenge: add a 10-second plank| 10 burpees| or 10 push-ups between each move to really amp up your workout. If that sounds too hard| not to worry: just switching up the order in which you complete these moves will still challenge your body after you’ve gotten the hang of this sequence. Get the quick ab-toning workout| demonstrated by Lisa herself| here.

| Single-Leg Stretch

  • Lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest| keeping abs engaged.
  • If you can| place your right hand on your right ankle and your left hand on your right knee.
  • Stretch your left leg out| making it as straight as possible but keeping a slight bend in the knee. You can raise your leg higher toward the ceiling if your angle is too hard or lower to make the move more difficult.
  • Switch legs| now hugging your left knee to your chest while your right leg is straight out. Hold on to your left ankle with your left hand with your right hand on your knee (or both hands on knee).
  • Keep alternating legs for 10 reps. Remember to keep your torso still (not swaying from side to side) as you switch legs.

| Crisscross

  • Start with knees into your chest| head lifted and hands behind your head| with your upper back off the mat.
  • Engage your abs| and use them to draw your right shoulder towards your left knee as you twist slightly to the left.
  • As you twist| extend your right leg out at an angle.
  • Switch sides as you breathe| reaching your left shoulder toward your right knee as you twist to the right and extend your left leg.
  • Repeat 10 times per leg.

| Double-Leg Stretch

  • Lie on your back| bend knees into your chest.
  • Engage your abs| and lift your head off the mat| keeping a natural gaze. Hold on to the outside of your ankles or your knees with both hands.
  • Inhale as you slowly lengthen your legs away from your torso| pressing them out with your heels together in a V shape. At the same time| slowly reach your arms up| stopping when they are by each ear.
  • Now exhale and sweep your arms down toward your ankles; as you do| bend your knees back into your chest.
  • Repeat 10 times.

| Double Straight-Leg Stretch

  • Lie on your back with your knees into your chest| head curled up with your hands behind your head. Make sure your upper back is off your mat.
  • Extend your legs up toward the ceiling| keeping a slight bend in your knee.
  • Slowly lower your legs down to the floor in small| one-inch increments. Do not lower your legs so low that your back arches off the floor.
  • Now slowly raise your legs back up to starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

| Single Straight-Leg Stretch

  • Lie face-up on the mat| then lift your upper body up so your shoulders and upper back are off the mat. Bend your knees up to your chest to start the move.
  • Straighten both legs so they are extended up toward the ceiling.
  • Gently grab your right leg with both hands| going up as far as you can (thigh| calf| or ankle). Extend your left leg out perpendicular to your right leg.
  • Gently pull your right leg toward your face| then swiftly switch legs so your left leg is up (with both hands on this leg) and your right leg is extended straight out. Gently pull on your left leg before you switch.
  • Continue this “”scissoring”” motion for 10 reps per leg.

Skip Waist Training and Try This 4-Move Workout Instead

Skip Waist Training and Try This 4-Move Workout Instead

Certain celebrities like Khlou00e9 Kardashian and Jessica Alba may swear by waist training| but the trendy practice may do more harm than good . . . or it may do nothing at all. Instead of going overboard with a restrictive and uncomfortable corset| move through this short and challenging waist-whittling sweat session from celebrity trainer Ashley Borden.

Repeat this four-move routine four to five times total. “”It’s OK if you can’t do this routine five times in a row at first u2014 it’s hard!”” said Ashley. In time| your body will build the strength and stamina necessary to make it happen| and you’ll start seeing big results.

| Alternating Plank Hold

  • Start at the top of a push-up position with head in line with spine| shoulders away from ears| belly button pulled in toward spine| glutes tight| and legs locked and tight.
  • Maintain a strong upper-body position| and pull your right knee toward your right armpit. Then| step back to the starting plank position.
  • Repeat alternating legs for 16 reps while maintaining a quick tempo that will get your heart rate up.

| Boat Core Hold

  • Start on your back and raise knees as close to 90 degrees as your flexibility allows.
  • Tuck chin slightly and reach hands up as high as you can toward your ankles. Keep your eyes focused toward your knees.
  • From that position| reach your arms up and strong behind your ears. Reach toward the wall behind you and lock arms out.
  • Point your feet and squeeze quads straight. Lower legs as low as you can| making sure there is no arch in your lower back.
  • Keep back into the ground and belly button pulled in toward the floor for 20 seconds. Increase the length of your hold by at least one second with each round.

| Side Bridge Dips

  • Come into a side plank on your right side| with your feet stacked one on top of the other and your weight on your right elbow with your fingers reaching away from your body| palm down. Squeeze your glutes and visualize your hip bones as laser beams that stay facing forward the whole time.
  • Visualize a towel under your waist pulling you up toward the ceiling. Open your chest| and try to pull your resting forearm toward your feet. You will feel your lats and obliques engage!
  • Slightly drop your waist down toward the floor| then bring back up to start position. Repeat 10 times on the right. Then switch sides and repeat 10 times on the left.

| Bicycle Abs

  • Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground (pull your abs down to also target your deep abs). Interlace your fingers| and put your hands behind your head.
  • Bring your knees in toward your chest| and lift your shoulder blades off the ground.
  • Straighten your right leg out to about a 45-degree angle to the ground while turning your upper body to the left| bringing your right elbow toward the left knee. Make sure your rib cage is moving and not just your elbows.
  • Switch sides| and do the same motion on the other side to create the “”pedaling”” motion. This completes one rep.
  • Repeat 16 reps total.

Once you’ve finished your first round| be sure to repeat this four-move routine at least three more times for a complete workout.

Quickie Ab Routines For Every Type of Tummy

Quickie ab routines for every type of tummy ¡ª SelfYou can run and keep your belongings secure with this accessory ¡ª Real SimpleThe best healthy snacks that are 200 calories or less ¡ª Cooking LightTackle hills with drills to improve stamina and speed, at any incline ¡ª ShapeGentle yoga poses and modifications for people with less flexibility ¡ª HealthThis snack idea will change your life forever ¡ª Women’s HealthEverything you need to know about muscle soreness ¡ª FitnessThe ultimate guide to runner’s slang ¡ª Greatist22 brilliant butternut squash recipes ¡ª POPSUGAR FoodImage Source: Shutterstock

Quickie Ab Routines For Every Type of Tummy

Quickie ab routines for every type of tummy ¡ª SelfYou can run and keep your belongings secure with this accessory ¡ª Real SimpleThe best healthy snacks that are 200 calories or less ¡ª Cooking LightTackle hills with drills to improve stamina and speed| at any incline ¡ª ShapeGentle yoga poses and modifications for people with less flexibility ¡ª HealthThis snack idea will change your life forever ¡ª Women’s HealthEverything you need to know about muscle soreness ¡ª FitnessThe ultimate guide to runner’s slang ¡ª Greatist22 brilliant butternut squash recipes ¡ª POPSUGAR FoodImage Source: Shutterstock

9 Core Exercises That Get You Closer to 6-Pack Abs

Do standard crunches and planks have you seeing minimal progress? Shape has the nine moves you need to target the muscles that matter, and they’ll get you that much closer to six-pack abs!

Everybody wants a six-pack¡ªwhich is great. But FYI, there are actually four key muscle groups you need to tone to get a taut tummy. (Need a flat belly on a deadline? This workout is The Fastest Way to Lose Belly Fat.)

“For the best results, both aesthetically and functionally, you need to target all the muscles in your abdomen,” explains NYC-based trainer Joan Pagano, author of Strength Training Exercises For Women.

What are they? Let’s meet all your ab muscles.

On the side of your abs, you have your external abdominal obliques and your internal abdominal obliques. Your external obliques lie on top, and are those muscles you feel in your side, just under your arm. The internal obliques are deeper muscles that lie underneath your external obliques, acting as stabilizers to help you maintain your posture.

The transversus abdominis are your deepest muscles, running horizontally around your midsection. Pagano says that toning these creates a “natural girdle” to keep your tummy tucked and stabilize your pelvis. Then, of course, there’s the most superficial muscle group in the abdomen: therectus abdominis (AKA, when toned, the classic “six-pack” abs). This set runs from sternum to pelvis, helping you flex your spine while walking.

One move does not tone all your muscles. You’re going to need at least a few weapons in your arsenal to tighten up all over. Here, Carbon38co-founder Caroline Gogolak demos the best abs moves to target all areas¡ªeven the ones you can’t see.

1. Roll Back

Roll Back

Works: Rectus abdominisPagano says: Sit up straight, with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. Pull torso in close to thighs, reaching arms forward at shoulder level with palms down. Exhale, drawing navel toward spine as you roll back onto tailbone, curving spine into a “C” shape. Inhale and realign spine to straighten up. (Want more? Continue withThe Best Exercises for Lower Abs.)

2. Twisting Roll Back

Twisting Roll Back

Works: Internal and external obliques, the rectus abdominisPagano says:With arms extended forward, perform a roll-back, curving spine into a “C”. Twist torso to one side, bending one elbow and pulling it back at shoulder level while reaching other arm to opposite knee. Reach both arms forward and return to start. Repeat on the other side.

3. Sit-Ups with a Medicine Ball

Medicine Ball Roll Back

Works: Transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal and external obliquesPersonal trainer Jimmy Minardi says:Hold a medicine ball over head, and recline all the way down. Lift from core back to a sitting position, keeping the ball over head. To make this more challenging, find a slant board at the gym, or buy one for around $50. Hook feet under the top of the board.The downhill slant and extra weight add an extra challenge to ab muscles. Increase the angle of the board and the weight of the ball for better results.

4. Kneeling Crunch

Kneeling Crunch

Works: Rectus abdominis, internal and external obliquesPagano says: Kneel with one arm stabilized directly under shoulder, reaching other arm forward at shoulder level and opposite leg back at hip height. Exhale, contract abs, and round back up to the ceiling while drawing elbow to knee, turning palm up. Repeat on the other side.

5. Dead Bug

Dead Bug

Works: Transversus abdominis, internal and external obliquesPagano says: Lie on back with legs raised, knees bent over hips and calves parallel to the floor. Extend arms to the ceiling with palms forward, and pull abs tight, bringing navel to spine. Exhale, lowering opposite arm and leg toward the floor, bringing remaining knee in over chest. Keep low back connected to the floor at all times¡ªdon’t arch. Repeat on the other side.

6. Lunge Split Jacks

Plyo Lunge

Works: Rectus abdominisMinardi says: Stand with feet in a staggered stance, left foot in front of right, two or three feet apart, then lower body into a split squat. Jump up and scissor-kick legs, landing with right leg forward. As soon as feet land, lower body into a split squat.

7. Toe Dip

Toe Dip

Works: Transversus abdominisPagano says: Sit tall with both knees bent in front, feet flat on the floor. Lean back onto elbows with shoulder blades down and together. Tighten abs, sliding hands under lower back for support with palms facing down. Lift legs so that knees are bent over hips with calves parallel to the floor, inhaling and dipping toes to the mat while maintaining those right angles at the knees. Exhale, then return to start.

8. Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle

Works: Internal and external obliques, transversus abdominisMinardi says: Lie flat on the floor with lower back pressed to the ground; pull abs downward to target deep ab muscles. Interlace fingers and put hands behind head. Start by bringing knees in toward chest, lifting shoulder blades off the ground. Straighten right leg out to about a 45-degree angle from the ground while turning upper body to the left, bringing right elbow toward the left knee. Make sure rib cage is moving, not just elbows. Repeat on the other side. You should be creating a “pedaling” action; do this exercise with slow and controlled motion. (Complement bicycle crunches with the Muffin Top Melter plan¡ªresults are self-explanatory!)

9. The “Jean-Zip”

Jean Zip

Works: Transversus abdominisPagano says: You can do this move discreetly, at any time throughout the day. As if you were zipping up a tight pair of jeans, “scoop abs” by pulling navel in toward spine and then up, lifting the pelvic floor. This move engages those deep abdominal muscles to flatten the belly¡ªit’s the muscle that lies right under your zipper. (Exercise is key, but if a taut tummy is what you’re after, some overall lifestyle changes might be in order. Luckily, you can Lose Belly Fat in 14 Days with just a few key tweaks.)

Heroine Sport X Bra ($85;carbon38.com); Zara Terez Palm Print Leggings ($75;carbon38.com).

More from Shape:

What Running in the Heat Does to Your BodyHow Being a Foodie Can Help You Lose WeightAsking For a Friend: Can I Skip the Post-Workout Shower?A Diet Plan That Fakes Intermittent FastingImage Source: Shutterstock

9 Core Exercises That Get You Closer to 6-Pack Abs

Do standard crunches and planks have you seeing minimal progress? Shape has the nine moves you need to target the muscles that matter| and they’ll get you that much closer to six-pack abs!

Everybody wants a six-pack¡ªwhich is great. But FYI| there are actually four key muscle groups you need to tone to get a taut tummy. (Need a flat belly on a deadline? This workout is The Fastest Way to Lose Belly Fat.)

“For the best results| both aesthetically and functionally| you need to target all the muscles in your abdomen|” explains NYC-based trainer Joan Pagano| author of Strength Training Exercises For Women.

What are they? Let’s meet all your ab muscles.

On the side of your abs| you have your external abdominal obliques and your internal abdominal obliques. Your external obliques lie on top| and are those muscles you feel in your side| just under your arm. The internal obliques are deeper muscles that lie underneath your external obliques| acting as stabilizers to help you maintain your posture.

The transversus abdominis are your deepest muscles| running horizontally around your midsection. Pagano says that toning these creates a “natural girdle” to keep your tummy tucked and stabilize your pelvis. Then| of course| there’s the most superficial muscle group in the abdomen: therectus abdominis (AKA| when toned| the classic “six-pack” abs). This set runs from sternum to pelvis| helping you flex your spine while walking.

One move does not tone all your muscles. You’re going to need at least a few weapons in your arsenal to tighten up all over. Here| Carbon38co-founder Caroline Gogolak demos the best abs moves to target all areas¡ªeven the ones you can’t see.

1. Roll Back

Roll Back

Works: Rectus abdominisPagano says: Sit up straight| with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. Pull torso in close to thighs| reaching arms forward at shoulder level with palms down. Exhale| drawing navel toward spine as you roll back onto tailbone| curving spine into a “C” shape. Inhale and realign spine to straighten up. (Want more? Continue withThe Best Exercises for Lower Abs.)

2. Twisting Roll Back

Twisting Roll Back

Works: Internal and external obliques| the rectus abdominisPagano says:With arms extended forward| perform a roll-back| curving spine into a “C”. Twist torso to one side| bending one elbow and pulling it back at shoulder level while reaching other arm to opposite knee. Reach both arms forward and return to start. Repeat on the other side.

3. Sit-Ups with a Medicine Ball

Medicine Ball Roll Back

Works: Transversus abdominis| rectus abdominis| internal and external obliquesPersonal trainer Jimmy Minardi says:Hold a medicine ball over head| and recline all the way down. Lift from core back to a sitting position| keeping the ball over head. To make this more challenging| find a slant board at the gym| or buy one for around $50. Hook feet under the top of the board.The downhill slant and extra weight add an extra challenge to ab muscles. Increase the angle of the board and the weight of the ball for better results.

4. Kneeling Crunch

Kneeling Crunch

Works: Rectus abdominis| internal and external obliquesPagano says: Kneel with one arm stabilized directly under shoulder| reaching other arm forward at shoulder level and opposite leg back at hip height. Exhale| contract abs| and round back up to the ceiling while drawing elbow to knee| turning palm up. Repeat on the other side.

5. Dead Bug

Dead Bug

Works: Transversus abdominis| internal and external obliquesPagano says: Lie on back with legs raised| knees bent over hips and calves parallel to the floor. Extend arms to the ceiling with palms forward| and pull abs tight| bringing navel to spine. Exhale| lowering opposite arm and leg toward the floor| bringing remaining knee in over chest. Keep low back connected to the floor at all times¡ªdon’t arch. Repeat on the other side.

6. Lunge Split Jacks

Plyo Lunge

Works: Rectus abdominisMinardi says: Stand with feet in a staggered stance| left foot in front of right| two or three feet apart| then lower body into a split squat. Jump up and scissor-kick legs| landing with right leg forward. As soon as feet land| lower body into a split squat.

7. Toe Dip

Toe Dip

Works: Transversus abdominisPagano says: Sit tall with both knees bent in front| feet flat on the floor. Lean back onto elbows with shoulder blades down and together. Tighten abs| sliding hands under lower back for support with palms facing down. Lift legs so that knees are bent over hips with calves parallel to the floor| inhaling and dipping toes to the mat while maintaining those right angles at the knees. Exhale| then return to start.

8. Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle

Works: Internal and external obliques| transversus abdominisMinardi says: Lie flat on the floor with lower back pressed to the ground; pull abs downward to target deep ab muscles. Interlace fingers and put hands behind head. Start by bringing knees in toward chest| lifting shoulder blades off the ground. Straighten right leg out to about a 45-degree angle from the ground while turning upper body to the left| bringing right elbow toward the left knee. Make sure rib cage is moving| not just elbows. Repeat on the other side. You should be creating a “pedaling” action; do this exercise with slow and controlled motion. (Complement bicycle crunches with the Muffin Top Melter plan¡ªresults are self-explanatory!)

9. The “Jean-Zip”

Jean Zip

Works: Transversus abdominisPagano says: You can do this move discreetly| at any time throughout the day. As if you were zipping up a tight pair of jeans| “scoop abs” by pulling navel in toward spine and then up| lifting the pelvic floor. This move engages those deep abdominal muscles to flatten the belly¡ªit’s the muscle that lies right under your zipper. (Exercise is key| but if a taut tummy is what you’re after| some overall lifestyle changes might be in order. Luckily| you can Lose Belly Fat in 14 Days with just a few key tweaks.)

Heroine Sport X Bra ($85;carbon38.com); Zara Terez Palm Print Leggings ($75;carbon38.com).

More from Shape:

What Running in the Heat Does to Your BodyHow Being a Foodie Can Help You Lose WeightAsking For a Friend: Can I Skip the Post-Workout Shower?A Diet Plan That Fakes Intermittent FastingImage Source: Shutterstock

Printable 20-Minute Plank Workout For the Flat Abs You’ve Always Wanted

Plank is one of the most effective exercises to target your core and upper body. Here’s a 20-minute circuit workout combining six different dynamic variations of the basic plank ¡ª remember to stretch your back and arms for a couple of minutes after you’ve completed all those planks.

Here are details on each move:

Plank Mountain Climbers: From straight-arm plank position| draw your right knee into your chest| then quickly switch legs so your left knee is squeezing into the chest and your left foot is in plank position. Continue running in place like this for one minute.

Elbow Plank With Donkey Kick: Begin in elbow plank position. Bend your right knee and pulse your heel up toward the ceiling for 30 seconds| and then switch legs.

Plank Jumping Jacks: In the classic straight-arm plank position| jump your feet apart and back together. Complete for one minute.

Up-Down Plank: Start in straight-arm plank. Lower your right elbow to the ground and then the left| coming ever so briefly into an elbow plank. Then straighten your right arm and then the left| returning to straight-arm plank position. Repeat for one minute.

Side Plank Leg Lift: Rest on your right forearm and the outside edge of your right foot. Lift and lower your left leg for 30 seconds| and then do another half minute of leg lifts on the left side.

Two-Point Plank: Begin in straight-arm plank| and extend the right arm and left leg. Draw your knee and elbow together under your body| and then extend. Do for 30 seconds on each side.