5 Great Ab Toners

on June 14, 2011
Joe Hardwick Photography

Tone and Tighten

1. Lie on your back on a mat with your legs bent, holding a 5lb dumbbell in your left hand and 3lb dumbbell in your right hand. Extend your arms toward the ceiling and lift your upper body off the mat in a crunch. 2. Lower your back to the mat. Keeping your right arm straight, lower it to the side. At the same time, bend your left arm at the elbow to lower the weight until it's near your left ear. Do the crunch-and-lower sequence 10 times, then switch the weights to the opposite hand and do ten more reps, lowering your left arm out to the side and bending your right arm until the weight is near your right ear.

Tracey Mallett

Side Plank Twist

1. Lie on your right side of your body balancing on your right forearm with your fingertips facing forward. Your knees should be bent to the side of your body and your left leg crossed in front of your right leg, with your left foot firmly pressed to the floor. 2. Inhale and lift your hips off the floor, extending your legs straight out to the side with your left foot on the floor in front of the right. Extend your left arm straight up toward the ceiling, keeping it in line with your shoulder with the palm facing outward. 3. Exhale, contract your abs, and twist your upper body toward the floor. Reach your left arm under the supporting right arm, without moving your hips. Inhale and return to the side plank. Bend your knees and lower hips toward the floor. Repeat 10 times, switch sides and repeat. Do 2 sets.

Tummy Toner

1. Sit with knees bent and feet hip-distance apart. With your abdominals tight and spine long, hinge back from your hips and reach your arms in front of you. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths and return to an upright position. Complete 5 to 8 repetitions. 2. For more of a challenge, hold a light weight or ball and hinge back from your hips, reaching your arms in front of you. Slowly rotate your torso to one side and then back to center; repeat to the opposite side. Complete a total of 5-8 repetitions.

Stop the Sag

1. Secure one end of an elastic resistance band (at sporting goods stores) to the leg of a couch or heavy chair and attach the other end to your left foot. 2. Get on your hands and knees with your legs farthest away from where you secured your resistance band. 3. Exhale as you extend your left leg straight back while reaching out with your right hand. 4. Inhale as you slowly lower both your arm and leg (don't touch the floor!) and repeat for a total of 15 reps. 5. Switch sides for another 15 reps. Do three sets twice a week to achieve your best results.

Crunch Alternative

1. Kneel on all fours, making sure your knees are directly under your hips and hands under your shoulders. 2. Keeping your abdominals tight and your back long, extend your left arm and right leg. Hold for three to five breaths and then return to tabletop position. Repeat on the opposite side for one set. Do three to five sets, slowly increasing the length of time you hold the pose.