Top Tummy Toning Exercises

Learn 3 of the Best Abdominal Exercises to Tone Your Stomach

A flat, strong stomach is the goal of tummy toning for both men and women. If you know great toning exercises, you can add them to any workout you do. In the three stomach toning exercises below, we focus on the upper abs, the lower abs, the obliques and, really, all of the abdominal muscles. Delve deeper on the detailed instructions links for modifications and safety precautions.

Double Leg Lower Lift

Pilates Machine
Kristian Sekulic/E+/Getty Images
  • Lie on your back and extend your legs straight up toward the ceiling. Rotate the legs out slightly, keeping the heels together and inner legs pulled in to center line.
  • Place your hands behind your head, keeping the elbows and wide and chest open. Inhale.
  • Exhale: Pull your tummy down toward the floor. Allow that motion to press your lower back into the floor as your curl your upper torso up off the floor.
  • Inhale: Keeping abdominals pulled in and the back pressed to mat, lengthen your legs out of your hips as you lower them.
  • Exhale: With control, deepen the abs. even more as you return the legs upright.
  • Repeat this tummy toning exercise 6 - 8 times.

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Criss Cross

criss cross stomach exercise
Criss Cross. (c)2007, Marguerite Ogle
    • Lie on your back in neutral spine.
    • Bend your knees and bring your shins up  parallel to the floor.
    • Place your hands behind your head. Keep the elbows wide.
    • Exhale: Pull your abs into a deep scoop. Leave the pelvis in a neutral position (not tucked or tipped), curl the chin and shoulders off the mat up to the base of the shoulder blades.
    • Inhale.
    • Exhale: Reach your left leg out long, and rotate your torso toward the bent right knee.
    • Inhale: Switch legs and bring the trunk through center
    • Exhale: Extend the right leg. Rotate your upper body toward the left knee
    • Start with 6 leg switches and work up to 10

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    Dolphin Arm Plank

    tummy toning exercise
    Dolphin Arm Plank. (c)2009, Marguerite Ogle
      • Begin on your hands and knees. Then move your elbows to the floor directly under your shoulders.
      • Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in to support the movement as you step back into a plank position. Your legs are together. The length of your body is supporting this move -- it is not focused only in the upper body.
      • Don't sag in the middle or let the butt be too high. Both positions make things easier on the core, but it's the core that we want to work for out tummy toning effect! So make sure you are in a straight line.
      • Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Release and repeat 1 or 2 more times.

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        More on Toning Exercises for the Abdominals

        Pilates for Flat Abs
        Pilates for Flat Abs. Stockbytes/Getty Images

        Extra Credit Exercise: Chest Lift - ab crunches done the right way: this exercise looks like a crunch, but with important differences that make ti more effective.

        Meet the Abdominal Muscles: Do you really know what the ab muscles are? You may think they are just the six-pack you see, but they go deeper than that.

        The Flat Abs Series: Do these six exercises correctly and you can be on your way to a flatter stomach.

        How to Get Your Best Ab Workouts: five tips to get the most out of the time you spend on ab exercises.

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