Stomach exercises are core exercises that work the abdominal muscles. The oblique abdominal muscles are sometimes nicknamed the love handles. Although you cannot spot reduce fat by doing oblique exercises, you can firm up that area. By mixing in a few core-targeting exercises that also elevate your heart rate, you can burn calories while toning your abs, though these exercise will not isolate the obliques like oblique exercises do. For best results, also start a weight loss program of diet and cardio.
Ball Side Crunches
The ball side crunches isolate the stomach through a lateral flexion action. Lateral flexion is what happens when the spine bends to the left or right. The obliques are the prime movers in lateral flexion. By lying sideways on a stability ball and then bending your spine upward toward the ceiling, you work the obliques. This exercise works the top obliques, not the side resting on the ball. Work both sides evenly with the same number of repetitions.
Dumbbell Side Bends
Dumbbell side bends isolate the obliques. Increase the difficulty of this exercise as your obliques get stronger by using heavier dumbbells. This prevents adaptation, which derails progress. Simply stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand held next to your outer thighs, arms straight. Slide your right hand down your thigh as you lean to the right. Stand back up straight and slide down the left leg. Never use a weight that is too heavy for you as this could lead to muscle strain or injury.
Kettlebell exercises add a calorie-burning cardio aspect to strength training. Using multiple muscles involving your whole body and moving at a fast pace is what accounts for the high caloric burn, according to a 2010 study published in "ACE FitnessMatters." The kettlebell push-up targets the core as well as the chest and triceps. The obliques stabilize the torso through an isometric contraction. To perform this exercise, place two kettlebells on the floor, grab the handles and step into push-up position. The handles are vertical with your palms facing inwards. Bend your elbows to lower your body straight toward the floor and then press yourself back up. You can add a jump into each rep to work your legs too. Simply jump your feet toward your hands and then jump back into push-up position.
Kettlebell Single-Arm Row
The kettlebell single-arm row strengthens the core muscles in a similar manner to the kettlebell push-up. The row exercise, though, works the back and bicep muscles. To perform this exercise, place a single kettlebell on the floor and hold the handle vertically while in push-up position. The other hand is flat on the floor. Then, lift the kettlebell up toward your arm pit by bending your elbow. Return the kettlebell to the floor. Holding your abdominals in tight while rowing a kettlebell on one side challenges the ability of your abs to keep your trunk stable. Work the other side, too.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.