The secret to firmer abs in 5 steps

Secret to firmer abs in 5 steps
(basic crunch) Source: KFVS
(basic crunch) Source: KFVS
(the eXercise) Source; KFVS
(the eXercise) Source; KFVS
(the eXercise: step 2) Source: KFVS
(the eXercise: step 2) Source: KFVS
(Russian twist) Source: KFVS
(Russian twist) Source: KFVS

The midsection is a trouble spot of a lot of people when it comes to weight loss, but some simple exercises and diet changes could help get you on the path to flatter, firmer stomach.  

Fitness trainer Tamatha Crowson shared some of her top exercises to target the abdominal section.

The first exercises targets the two muscle groups that run along the front, middle part of your stomach.  

It’s the area some might refer to as the upper and lower abs, but Crowson says it’s actually one long muscle.

•    The basic crunch (see photo):

“Lye on your back with knees bent and hands behind your head,” Crowson said. “You want to keep your elbows wide and your hips on the floor…exhaling on the way up and inhaling on the way down.”

•    Scrabble ball (see photo):

A stability ball is needed for this exercise. Place your shins and feet on the stability ball and place your hands on the floor.  Roll the ball around to make each letter of the alphabet.  

“I recommend for begins that you go up to about "O" and work your way up to doing the whole alphabet,” Crowson said.

The next two exercises target the muscles on the side called the oblique muscles.  These muscle help to give the appearance of a smaller waist.    

•    The e”X”ercise (see photo):

This exercise does not require any equipment.  Lye on the floor with your arms up in a wide position and your legs down and out so that your body forms an “X”.  Keeping your arms and legs straight, bring your right arm and left leg up until they touch in the center of your body and then repeat on the other side.     

“Make sure that when you're bringing your leg down that you're bring it back down to the starting position,” Crowson said. “The tendency is to want to bring that leg down straight and then you lose some of the effectiveness of the exercise.”

•    The Russian twist (see photo):  

This exercise requires a light weight or a stability ball. Sit on the floor, with your knees bent and sit up with your back straight. Hold the weight or ball and twist from side to side.  

“You want your head to follow the motion of your body,” said Crowson. “If you have lower back problems, another way to do this is on a stability ball…hold the weight out straight then turn to the side and back to the center doing 10 to 15 reps each side.”

Crowson does say it is important to remember that sculpted abs require more than just exercise. 

“I don't know if you've heard the phrase ‘abs are made in the kitchen’, but we do really have to watch what we eat,” Crowson said. “You want to make sure to really clean up your diet.  Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy carb sources. Cut out the night alcohol.  Sometimes I recommend to my clients to cut out dairy for a short time.  Almond milk has a lot of calcium so you can get your calcium that way.  Just really clean it up, lots of water and you should be able to see a little definition there in no time.”

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - If you have a fitness question for Tamatha, send a message to Amanda Hanson's Facebook page or send her an e-mail.

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