Flat Abs Fast: The Core-Strengthening Workout

Workout by Chelsey Korus

These belly-flattening exercises work your core from the front, sides, and back for strong, sculpted abs. All you'll need is a pair of yoga blocks, such as Gaiam's Yoga Essentials Blocks ($21 a pair, gaiam.com) and a towel. Aim to do three sessions a week on nonconsecutive days.

Related: Watch the Workout Video for More Help


Alex Palombo/Fitness MagazineAlex Palombo/Fitness MagazineBird Dog Gets Down
Targets back, rectus abdominis, obliques, and transversus abdominis
• Start on mat on all fours, then tuck toes under and press hips back and up as you step back to form an upside-down V; lift right leg behind you.MAKE IT EASIER: Keep both feet on mat.
• With right leg lifted, shift body forward to come into full push-up position, shoulders over wrists. Hold for one count; return to start. Do 10 to 15 reps; switch sides, repeat. Do 2 to 3 sets.

Alex Palombo/Fitness MagazineAlex Palombo/Fitness MagazineTolasana on Blocks
Targets rectus abdominis, obliques, and transversus abdominis
• Sit on mat with knees bent and ankles crossed, and place each palm atop a yoga block on either side of hips, fingers pointing forward.
• Straighten arms and exhale as you contract your abs to lift butt and legs off mat. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Lower.MAKE IT HARDER: From lifted tuck position, try to extend legs midair.
• Do 5 reps, alternating leg that's crossed on top.

Alex Palombo/Fitness MagazineAlex Palombo/Fitness MagazineSide Plank Variation
Targets rectus abdominis, obliques, and transversus abdominis
• Start in full push-up position with feet together. Grab a yoga block with right hand and rotate body into side plank: Shoulders and hips stacked, balancing on left palm and side of left foot. Extend right arm up.MAKE IT EASIER: Stagger feet.
• Bring right arm underneath rib cage. Raise arm.
• Do 10 to 15 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Do 2 to 3 sets.

Related: Ab Makeovers: Success Stories from This Workout

Alex Palombo/Fitness MagazineAlex Palombo/Fitness MagazineMagic Carpet Ride
Targets rectus abdominis, obliques, and transversus abdominis
• Start on an uncarpeted floor in full push-up position, balancing on hands and toes, arms extended, a folded towel underneath feet.
• Contract abs and bring knees in toward chest.MAKE IT HARDER: Keep legs straight and lift hips high to bring feet toward hands.
• Hold for one count, then return to start. Do 3 sets of 10 reps, resting 45 seconds between sets.

Alex Palombo/Fitness MagazineAlex Palombo/Fitness MagazinePass the Block
Targets rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis
• Lie faceup on mat with arms extended behind head, both hands holding a single yoga block.
• Curl up to reach arms toward toes, bending knees to place block between feet.
• Holding block with feet, lower back to mat as you extend arms behind head and legs forward.
• Reverse motion back to start to complete 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Alex Palombo/Fitness MagazineAlex Palombo/Fitness MagazineWide-Legged Criss-Cross
Targets rectus abdominis, obliques, transversus abdominis, and inner thighs
• Lie faceup on mat with hands behind head, elbows bent out to sides, and legs extended directly up, squeezing a single yoga block between thighs.
• Curl shoulders off floor and rotate torso to bring left elbow toward right.
• Return to center and repeat toward left.
• Do 2 to 3 sets of 20 reps, alternating sides.

Alex Palombo/Fitness MagazineAlex Palombo/Fitness MagazineBalancing Act
Targets rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis
• Lie faceup on mat and bend knees into chest to place a single yoga block atop soles of flexed feet; place arms on floor slightly out to sides and slowly extend legs straight up.MAKE IT EASIER: Do not use block.
• Without rocking, slowly lift hips a few inches off mat and then lower them.
• Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps.

Related: The Science Behind Getting Flat Abs

Alex Palombo/Fitness MagazineAlex Palombo/Fitness MagazineLean Back
Targets rectus abdominis, obliques, transversus abdominis, and inner thighs
• Sit on mat with knees bent, one yoga block between thighs and a second block and rolled-up towel directly behind butt; place hands behind head, elbows out, and extend right leg diagonally up.MAKE IT EASIER: Keep both feet on mat; use a rolled-up blanket behind you for more support.
• Lean back a few inches; return to start.
• Do 2 to 3 sets of 25 reps; switch legs each set.

Alex Palombo/Fitness MagazineAlex Palombo/Fitness MagazineWarrior III Curl
Targets rectus abdominis, obliques, transversus abdominis, and butt
• Place yoga blocks shoulder-width apart on floor so that blocks are at their tallest. Hinge forward 90 degrees at hips and place palms atop each block, shoulders aligned over wrists; extend left leg behind you parallel to floor with toes pointing down.
• Contract abs and round back as you bring left knee toward forehead.
• Do 10 reps; switch legs, repeat. Do 2 to 3 sets.

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