You're doing all the right things in the kitchen and on the cardio floor to lose fat and achieve a flat stomach. Now it's time to ramp up your ab routine so your work on the weight-room floor matches the rest of your efforts. Add variety to crunches, sit-ups and planks with dumbbells, and engage in moves that train the whole body to build a toned physique with particular emphasis on the core.
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1. Half Turkish Get Up
This move is often done with a kettlebell, but a dumbbell works just as well. It's a comprehensive move that uses your core for stability, but also builds muscle in your shoulders, hips, arms and back.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back and hold a dumbbell straight over your shoulder so it's reaching toward the ceiling. Extend your left leg, but keep your right knee bent.
With your eyes laser-beamed on the weight, roll to the left side and press up onto your left hand. Keep the dumbbell overhead and eyes on it the whole time. Pause for a few counts.
Use control as you reverse the movements to return to the starting position. Do five to seven repetitions on one side, then switch.
2. Overhead Dumbbell Lunge
Another total body move, the overhead dumbbell lunge challenges your core to keep you stable. Each time you step forward, your stomach and back muscle must activate to keep your arms right over your shoulders. You'll earn better posture, which helps your stomach look flatter as you stand up tall and straight.
HOW TO DO IT: Use relatively light dumbbells and press them straight up and overhead. Position the palms to face one another. Step your right foot forward and bend into the front knee to lunge.
Step back to the starting position and repeat on the left side. Keep the weights over your shoulders the entire time. Continue alternating sides for 10 to 16 total repetitions.
3. Dumbbell Trunk Rotations
V-sit and twists activate your stomach muscles. Combine the moves to create a powerful stomach-flattener.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Grasp a dumbbell on its end with both hands. Hold the dumbbell in the center of your chest.
Bend your knees slightly and keep your heels planted. Lean back until you feel your abdominal muscles engage. Your body will resemble the letter "V." Maintain an erect spine as you twist your torso to the right.
Keep the dumbbell directly centered between your navel and upper chest. Return to center and then rotate left. Complete 10 to 15 total right-left rotations.
4. Archer Row
This move strengthens your back and abs, which promotes better posture and less slouching — which makes your belly look paunchy.
HOW TO DO IT: With a dumbbell positioned on your right side, assume a push-up position. Lift your right arm and shift into a side plank, with your feet staggered. Your straight body is supported on your left palm and the sides of your feet.
Grab the dumbbell with your right hand and row it up past your rib cage, your elbow pointing behind you. Complete eight to 12 repetitions on one side, then repeat with the right hand as the base and left hand rowing.
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