We’ve already established that getting rock hard abs comes down to diet and discipline, but some toning exercises will def help when it comes to getting rid of your love handles and defining your tummy area. Most people think the only ways to tone your abs are by doing a million crunches and holding a plank for as long as possible, but those exercises don’t hit your obliques—the side edges of your abs that give you that amazing slimming shape when you’re wearing a crop top. Don’t lie. You know you want those side lines. Here are 8 exercises that will help you get them:
1. Russian Twists
Sorry, the Russian Twist isn’t the name of some cocktail with four shots of Smirnoff and a gross amount of syrup. It’s actually a killer ab exercise, and if you do it right, your obliques should be sore as fuck tomorrow. You’ll need some sort of weight, kettlebell, or ball for this, but don’t go crazy on the weight. Start by lying down on the floor and placing your feet out in front of you, raised a few inches above the ground. Your knees should be slightly bent and your torso should be elevated off the group, making a V-shape with your thighs. Holding the weight with both hands, move it from one side of you to the other, tapping the ground on your right and left sides each time. Do at least 10 reps on each side.
2. Side Planks
Side planks are a static move, so it might look easy because you’re staying still, but try to hold for 30 seconds to a minute on each side and you’ll shut up about how easy it looks. Turn onto your right side with your legs extended and your feet and hips resting on the ground and stacked on top of each other. You’ll want your right elbow directly under your shoulder to hold up your torso and to protect your shoulder joint. Hold for as long as you can, then switch to the left side. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
3. Bicycle Crunches
People usually miss the point with bicycle crunches because they’re doing them so fast that they’re not actually activating the ab muscles at all. This isn’t a spin class, so take your fucking time with these. Lying flat on the floor with your lower back against the ground, put your hands behind your head and lift your left shoulder off the ground while bringing your right knee to touch that left elbow. Then, do the same on the other side. Repeat for at least 45 seconds, and make sure you’re not pulling on your neck. You really should be thinking of reaching your shoulder to your knee and less about the elbow to the knee.
4. Wood Choppers
Just when you thought shit was getting easier, we’re making you chop wood. Okay, not really, but this exercise makes you look like a wood chopper so let’s go with it. You’re gonna need a kettlebell or weighted ball again here, so choose something around 10-20 pounds. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, hold the ball at one hip and explosively carry it over your opposite shoulder, completely twisting your core as you move. Do ten reps on the right side, then the same on the left. The key here is to keep your hips square but twist your torso. Also, try not to throw the ball behind you and hit some guy in the head. It’s not cute.
5. Alternating Toe Touches
This move will burn pretty fast, but it’s amazing for getting rid of love handles, so let’s get it over with. The idea is similar to the bicycle crunch, but it’s even slower and more controlled, so you’re really activating each oblique. Lie on the floor with your legs out in front of you and your arms straight behind your head. Then, lift your right leg straight up in the air at the same time as your left arm, touching your left hand to your right foot (or knee if you can’t make it that far.) Alternate sides for 20-30 reps.
6. Dumbbell Side Bends
This is the one move where you’re gonna have to go pretty heavy in your weight choice if you want to see real results. Drop the 7.5lb dumbbell and grab something substantial (think 17-25 pounds). This is a sculpting move, so you’re gonna hold the dumbbell in one hand and bend over sideways, getting the dumbbell to the height of your knees, then stand straight again. Go up and down on each side for about 20 reps to feel the burn.
7. Sit Up With Side Twist
Sit ups are SO three years ago, but sit ups with a twist will literally carve lines in your abs, so we’re all about them. Lying down with your back flat on the ground and your hands behind your head, bend your knees and keep your feet planted on the ground. If you have a friend around to hold down your feet, that shit is super helpful, but if not, that’s fine too. In one controlled motion, bring your torso up off the floor so that your elbow is touching your knee as you twist with your waist toward one side. Then, slowly lower back down and keep going, alternating sides each time. Do 10-15 reps on each side.
8. Windshield Wipers
We’re guessing you’ve never actually wiped off a windshield in your life so you might not even understand the mental image, but that’s why we’re explaining it to you. The idea here is to move your legs from one side of your body to the other while lying down, only using the twisting of your torso to do so. Bend your knees slightly and start in a fetal position with your legs to the right side of your body. Keeping your hands on the floor next to you, use your abs to twist your legs over to the other side of you, landing them on the floor next to you. Keep repeating for 45 seconds to a minute.