Bikini or Bust: 6 Exercises For Rock Hard Abs

Fly Gyal Health - Abs

By Kristin Yancy

We’re coming off a winter jumpstarted by Hurricane Sandy, and I think it’s safe to say that all of New York City is packing a little extra love around the middle. But, according to the groundhog this year, sunshine is headed our way—and Fly Gyal is here with the best exercises to firm those…err…softer areas*, just in time for your weekly layouts in Central Park (with SPF 30, of course!).

1.  Abdominal Hold

What You’ll Need A Chair
How To Do It Sit on the edge of a tall, sturdy chair. With your hands planted firmly on either side of you, raise your body off the chair. Maintain the upright-seated position while you hold yourself in the air.
How Many Reps? 1-1:30 minutes of exercise, or 3-6 reps of 5-10 seconds (with short breaks)

2. Hundreds

What You’ll Need A Mat or Towel
How To Do It Lie down flat on the floor, legs extended, arms at your sides, and palms facing down. Inhale. When you exhale, raise your head, shoulders, and legs off the ground. Don’t crunch your neck, keep your head aligned with your shoulders on a shallow diagonal. Holding this position, pump your arms up and down evenly with your breathing—5 pumps per inhale, 5 pumps per exhale. Make sure to keep your lower back pressed towards the floor and your abs pulled in towards your spine.
How Many Reps? 100, or 10 full breaths

3.  Straight-Arm Planks

What You’ll Need A Mat or Towel
How To Do It Face your mat. Place your hands shoulder width apart on the floor in front of you. Extend your legs straight behind you into a push-up position. Keep your body level and your abs engaged; your posture should look like it would if you were standing.
How Many Reps? Hold for 30 seconds. As you begin to get stronger, work your way up to 1-2 minutes, or alternate holding yourself up with one arm and then the other.

4. Single-Leg Stretch

What You’ll Need A Mat or Towel
How To Do It Lie flat on your mat with your hands at your sides and your knees bent. Bring your right knee inward and off the ground as you begin the crunch, curling your head and shoulders towards your chest and contracting in the middle. As you do this, extend your left leg straight in front of you. Alternate. As you switch back and forth, gently hold the knee and ankle of the bent leg.
How Many Reps? 20—10 on each side.

5. The Climb Up

What You’ll Need A Mat or Towel, A Scarf or Thera-Band©
How To Do It Lie flat on the floor with the scarf wrapped around the ball of your right foot. Extend your right leg, keeping your foot flexed. Walk your hands up the scarf, lifting your head and shoulders off the floor as you go. Hold for three seconds. Walk your hands back down the scarf and lower your head and shoulders.
How Many Reps? 20—10 on each side.

6. Opposite Arm and Leg Raises

What You’ll Need A Mat or Towel
How To Do It Start out on your mat on all fours, with your hands planted squarely beneath your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Raise your right arm forward and straight in front of you, while also extending your left heel back and straight behind you. Hold for two seconds. Switch.
How Many Reps? Start with 20, alternating sides. To target your obliques, extend arm/leg for two, then pull your arm and leg in towards the center at right angles, keeping your palm and the inside of your knee facing the ground. Extend both again, and lower on the mat.

*A healthy diet is key to any weight loss or fitness regimen.

Photo via Women’s Health Magazine.
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