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Top Tummy Toning Exercises

Learn 3 of the Best Abdominal Exercises


Updated June 06, 2014

If you know great toning exercises, you can add them to any workout you do. In the three tummy toning exercises below, we focus on the upper abs, the lower abs, the obliques and, really, all of the abdominal muscles. Click on the detailed instructions links for modifications and safety precautions.

1. Double Leg Lower Lift

Pilates Machine
Kristian Sekulic/E+/Getty Images
  • Lie on your back and extend your legs straight up toward the ceiling. Rotate the legs out slightly, keeping the heels together and inner legs pulled in to center line.

  • Place your hands behind your head, keeping the elbows and wide and chest open. Inhale.

  • Exhale: Pull your tummy down toward the floor. Allow that motion to press your lower back into the floor as your curl your upper torso up off the floor.
  • Inhale: Keeping abdominals pulled in and the back pressed to mat, lengthen your legs out of your hips as you lower them.

  • Exhale: With control, deepen the abs. even more as you return the legs upright.

  • Repeat this tummy toning exercise 6 - 8 times.

2. Criss Cross

criss cross stomach exercise
(c)2007, Marguerite Ogle
    • Lie on your back in neutral spine.

    • Bend your knees and bring your shins up  parallel to the floor.

    • Place your hands behind your head. Keep the elbows wide.

    • Exhale: Pull your abs into a deep scoop. Leave the pelvis in a neutral position (not tucked or tipped), curl the chin and shoulders off the mat up to the base of the shoulder blades.
    • Inhale.

    • Exhale: Reach your left leg out long, and rotate your torso toward the bent right knee.

    • Inhale: Switch legs and bring the trunk through center

    • Exhale: Extend the right leg. Rotate your upper body toward the left knee
    • Start with 6 leg switches and work up to 10

    3. Dolphin Arm Plank

    tummy toning exercise
    (c)2009, Marguerite Ogle
      • Begin on your hands and knees. Then move your elbows to the floor directly under your shoulders.

      • Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in to support the movement as you step back into a plank position. Your legs are together. The length of your body is supporting this move -- it is not focused only in the upper body.

      • Don't sag in the middle or let the butt be too high. Both positions make things easier on the core, but it's the core that we want to work for out tummy toning effect! So make sure you are in a straight line.

      • Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Release and repeat 1 or 2 more times.

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