There are many tummy flattening exercises that, when performed regularly, can help strengthen the abdomen and produce a trim, toned midsection. Deciding which of these are the best tummy flattening exercises often depends on the individual’s workout style. For those who prefer to exercise alone and without the use of special equipment, a variation on the common crunch may be the best option. Exercisers who enjoy using gym equipment might favor weighted side bends, while those who prefer to work out in a group setting may find that a core-tightening Pilates class is the best choice.
The bicycle crunch can be a highly effective tummy flattening exercise for those who like to work out solo. To perform this move, the exerciser should lay on her back with her knees bent and her fingers laced loosely behind her head, and then raise her shoulders off the floor while pulling her knees in toward her chest. Next, she should extend her left leg and rotate her midsection so that her left elbow nears her right knee. She should then switch sides, pulling her left leg in while extending her right leg and rotating her midsection to the left. This cycle should be repeated approximately 20 times, keeping the leg motion fluid and the neck relaxed.
Those who prefer to perform their tummy flattening exercises using gym equipment may wish to try weighted side bends. To begin this move, the exerciser should stand with her feet spread slightly apart and her arms at her sides, holding a five- to eight-pound dumbbell in her right hand. She should then place her left hand on her head and bend from her waist to the right, as if reaching the dumbbell toward the floor. After bending several inches, she should return to the starting position and repeat for a total of 15 repetitions. She should then switch sides, holding the dumbbell in her left hand and bending to the left.
As Pilates is intended to strengthen the core muscles, most of its moves can in time lead to a toned midsection, making it a good choice for those who wish to flatten their tummies in a group environment. One of the most effective tummy flattening Pilates moves is the plank pose. To perform this move, the exerciser begins on her stomach and then raises her body so her weight is resting on her forearms and toes. Engaging her core muscles, she should then hold her body in a straight, rigid line for a minimum of 30 seconds, building to longer periods as she grows stronger.
While each of these exercises can effectively promote tight abdominal muscles, it is necessary to eliminate excess body fat to achieve a truly flat tummy. In addition to toning moves, the exerciser should include calorie-burning cardiovascular activities in her workout routine, and should also control her daily intake of calories. Finally, she should avoid carbonated beverages and gas producing foods, as these can lead to distension in the tummy area.