With spring just weeks away, it’ll soon be time to replace those bulky sweaters with more tummy-conscious tops. Not to worry! This powerful ab workout both blasts belly fat and strengthens all of the muscles in your middle. Created by Crunch/New York City [LINK TO CRUNCH.COM] trainer Mike Spiegel, it combines high-intensity, calorie-torching interval training with tummy-toning stability ball moves that challenge your balance, making your muscles work even harder–and giving you even faster results. Do it twice a week (it’ll take you less than 30 minutes), leaving at least a day of day of rest in between. So grab a watch or timer and get ready to greet the new season with firm, flat abs!
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1. Warm Up. To prepare for your ab workout, warm up by alternating 1 minute of jogging in place (moderate intensity) with 1 minute of jumping jacks.
2. 8 Kneeling Ab Rollouts. Kneel on a mat or pad with your hands on a stability ball; your body should be in a straight, vertical line from head to knees (A). Keeping your back straight (don’t let your butt stick up into the air!), slowly roll the ball out as far as you can without losing control or letting your lower back arch, allowing your forearms to come onto the ball (B). Return to starting position.
3. High Knees for 1 minute. Add some heart-pumping cardio to your ab workout by jogging in place, lifting your knees as high as possible. Work as intensely as you can.
4. 20 Oblique Jackknife Crunches. Get into plank position with arms straight, hands directly under your shoulders, and your shins, lower knees and tops of your feet on the stability ball (A). Engaging your side ab muscles, draw your knees in toward your left elbow (B), then return to starting position. In a fluid motion, repeat on the right side; continue to alternate. (Can’t do 20 with good form? Start with 8 or 10, then work your way up as you gain strength.)
5. Shadow Box for 1 minute. Keeping your feet firmly planted and knees slightly bent, punch out diagonally to each side. Alternate arms, making sure to extend each arm fully; allow your hips to rotate as you punch. Work as intensely as you can.
6. 10 Stability Ball Pikes. Get into plank position with arms straight, hands directly under your shoulders, and your shins, lower knees and tops of your feet on the stability ball (A). Keeping your arms and legs straight, pull your feet in toward your chest, letting the ball roll forward as you raise your hips toward the ceiling (B), then return to starting position. Be careful not to arch your back. (Having trouble doing 10? Simply do as many as you can while maintaining proper form.)
7. High Knees for 1 minute. (See description above.)
8. 10 Side Plank Taps on your right side. Lie on your right side with hips and legs stacked, right elbow on a mat or pad directly under your right shoulder, right forearm palm-down on the mat. With your body in a straight line and your core engaged, extend your left arm toward the ceiling (A). Slowly twist forward, rotating your left rib cage toward the floor and reaching your left arm underneath your body; tap the floor with the back of your hand (B). Slowly return to previous position. (Too challenging? Bring your top leg forward and place the foot on the floor for support.)
9: Jumping Jacks for 1 minute. Squeeze in a bit more cardio to your ab workout with jumping jacks: Work as hard as you can while staying in motion for the full minute.
10. 10 Side Plank Taps on your left side. (See description above, reversing direction.)
11. Shadow Box for 1 minute. (See description above.)
12. Cool Down. Jog slowly in place for 2 to 3 minutes, then stretch your entire body.