While a flat stomach is physically attractive and aesthetically pleasing, a strong core has more health benefits than just looking good. Getting a flat, toned, slightly rippled and strong stomach, is essential for young women to maintain good posture and reduce the risk of injury during any activity. To build your core muscles, use a range of isometric and dynamic exercises to work your front and side abdominal muscles.
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Stability Ball Crunch
A variation on the classic crunch, the stability ball crunch not only provides extra cushioning for your lower back, it also increases the difficulty of the exercise as you need to maintain your balance throughout. Lying with your back on the stability ball, bend your knees to a 90-degree angle, and keep your feet planted on the floor, spaced shoulder-width apart. Place both hands behind your head, do not interlock your fingers, and curl your shoulders up, creating a crunch. Rise until your upper back is off of the stability ball, and then slowly lower yourself back to starting position. Do 10 repetitions for three sets.
Rolling Pike Crunch
The rolling pike crunch is challenging as it works your core muscles as well as your upper body muscles. Lying with your stomach on the stability ball, place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Walk forward with your hands, keeping your legs together and strong, until the stability ball is lying under your lower thighs. Raise your hips straight up, keeping your upper body and lower body straight, until your shoulders are above your hands and only your toes are touching the stability ball. Hold for five seconds before lowering your hips, allowing the ball to roll back towards your lower thighs. Do eight repetitions for three sets.
The Front Plank
The front plank is a yoga exercise that works all of your core muscles. As an isometric exercise, you do not move while doing it, but this does not mean it’s any less challenging. Lying face down, place your hands beneath your shoulders, flat on the floor. Keeping your legs together, engage your abdominal and lower body muscles, pushing up with your hands. Fully extend your arms, balancing on your hands and toes. You will create a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold for 30 to 90 seconds before taking a 10-second reset. Repeat the hold four to five times. As an alternative, you can rest on your forearms rather than your hands. To do so, bend at your elbows and place your forearms alongside one another so that they form a straight line across the top of your chest. Keep your upper arms directly below your shoulders.
The Russian Twist
This exercise works your front abdominal muscles as well as your obliques, which run along the side of your belly. Sit on the floor with your feet flat on the ground, spaced shoulder-width apart. Keeping your torso straight and your butt firmly on the floor, hold a medicine ball straight out in front of you, fully extending your arms. Engaging your abs, twist to the left, moving the medicine ball as you turn, always keeping it in front of your chest. Slowly twist right for one full repetition. Repeat 10 times for three sets.
Ab Building Cardio
Include ab-building cardio exercises in your workout to increase cardio endurance. These exercises burn body fat, helping you reach your goal of a flat and toned stomach. Ab-building cardio exercises include jumping jacks and jump rope, as well as exercising on a mini trampoline by jumping up and down. You can do these exercises separately as part of your cardio workout, or do them for five minutes each as a warm up before your resistance routine. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio exercise five times a week to maintain healthy fitness levels. To get a flat tummy, you may need to do even more cardio exercise.