Flatten Your Belly with This Killer Ab Workout by Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S.
Get ready to whip off your cover-up: This workout, created exclusively for Women’s Health by Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., owner of Results Fitness in Newhall, California, combines fat-burning cardio with moves that target your entire core rather than individual muscles (wouldn’t it be great if there was a magical lower abs workout?), so you’ll burn more fat while toning up.
Do these workout moves three nonconsecutive days a week. Start with the Basic Workout (moves 1-4 at right) to prime your muscles. After three weeks, you’ll be ready to graduate to the Advanced Workout (moves 5-8). For maximum fat burning, perform the exercises as a circuit: Do one set of each move in the order shown, resting for 30 seconds between exercises. Then rest for a minute and repeat the circuit from the beginning.
Melt Your Middle
Follow this interval-training program three times a week after your core workout. It’ll fire up your metabolism and burn off the fat that’s hiding your abs. Intervals are short bursts of maximum-intensity effort—you’re doing it right if you can’t carry on a conversation—separated by periods of easy-pace recovery. In an Australian study, women who cranked out high-intensity interval training three days a week for 15 weeks dropped significantly more weight than those who exercised for the same period of time at a lower intensity.
For this interval workout, remember to include an easy 3- to 5-minute warmup and cooldown. You can run, bike, or use the cardio machine of your choice.
Basic Workout: Plank
Max Effort Easy Pace Reps Week 1 1 minute 2 minutes 5 Week 2 1 minute 90 seconds 6 Week 3 1 minute 1 minute 8 Week 4 1 minute 1 minute 10 Week 5 75 seconds 1 minute 10 Week 6 90 seconds1 minute
Maximize muscle tension by keeping your elbows straight, taking long strides with your legs, and keeping your hips lower than your shoulders.
Lie on your left side with your knees straight, feet stacked, and prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm, elbow directly under your shoulder; place your right hand on your hip. Brace your core, then raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
—TO INCREASE INTENSITY LIFT TOP LEG, OR BRING KNEE TO CHEST.