Maybe it's an upcoming wedding, reunion or simply wanting to look good in a bikini for summer -- you've probably been in these kinds of situations where you want a flat stomach fast. Achieving a flat belly requires commitment to a clean diet and structured exercise routine. You can flatten your tummy in three weeks by following a cardio-based and abdominal exercise routine done five times per week to maximize successful results.
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Hit the Plank
Plank exercises engage the deep transversus abdominis muscle which wraps around the tummy from front to back, acting as a corset to cinch-in a protruding belly. Do the front plank at home or at the gym on a daily basis for three weeks to maximize ab results. Take a day of rest once or twice a week if you are feeling excessively tired. Do this exercise by lying on your tummy on the floor. Raise up on your toes and elbows so that your elbows are underneath the shoulders and palms flat on the floor. Pull your belly button towards your spine as you maintain a straight line from head to toe. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds and do three sets. Progressively increase holding time to 60 to 90 seconds.
Reverse the Crunch
Reverse crunches target the rectus abdominis and lower abs to help you get a lean, toned tummy. Do this exercise by lying on your back on a mat. Lift your legs straight up in the air so they form a perpendicular angle to the floor. Place your hands gently behind your head. Contract your abdominals as you lift your head and shoulders slightly off the ground. Simultaneously, lift your buttocks up so your legs punch up towards the sky. Return to the start position and repeat 10 to 20 times or until fatigue sets in. Repeat a total of three sets. Do this exercise as part of your abdominal routine four to five times per week.
Raise Your Heart
To get a flat stomach in three weeks, you will need to engage in cardiovascular exercise. Cardio raises your heart rate and metabolism to increase caloric burn for weight loss. Aim for a minimum of five cardio sessions per week with workouts lasting 45 to 60 minutes. Activities such as running, cycling and hiking work the major muscle groups for greater caloric burn. Change up the intensity of your workouts by adding five 30-second sprints to the end of your run and/or choosing a hilly route to crank up the burn. Other fat-burning cardio exercises include hiking, particularly hilly terrain, swimming and cross-country skiing.
Cycle for the Abs
Bicycle crunches develop your obliques, the muscles on the sides of the stomach, through rotational trunk movements. Do this exercise lying face-up on a mat with knees bent to 90 degrees, shins parallel to the floor. Place hands gently behind your head. Contract your abdominals as you lift your shoulders and head up and twist so your left elbow drives towards your right knee. At the same time, extend your left leg down towards the floor. Bring your left elbow back down to the floor as you also extend your right leg. Bring your left knee back to start position as you drive your right elbow up to meet it. Repeat this cycling action for 15 to 20 repetitions or until you fatigue for a total of three sets to maximize abdominal burn.