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Battling belly fat is all too real when you’re gearing up for beach season or prepping to jet off on a tropical getaway. That’s not to say belly fat hibernates in winter. It’s just as stubborn when you’re trying to squeeze into form-fitting pants, suits, or sweater dresses for holiday parties. No matter the time of year, suffice it to say, dealing with belly fat can be a real pain in the you-know-what. Plus, carrying around extra fat in your midsection is unhealthy. But rest assured, you can turn things around by following just the right healthy diet and fitness routine. We spoke with Sydney Yeomans, NASM-CPT and director of fitness for BODY20, who shares with us the five-minute ab and oblique workout to shrink belly fat.
According to Yeomans, tweaks to your diet come first and foremost. “When it comes to the abdominals, stubborn belly fat is all about the diet,” Yeomans says. “Finding your ideal body type is going to be 80% what you eat and 20% working out. Once you find the proper nutrition, this five-minute ab workout will help [you] have more toned and defined abs!”
Your core is “the base of the body” as far as strength is concerned. If you don’t have a strong core, you can suffer from poor posture, back issues, and other injuries. When performing any exercise, it’s important to engage your core in order to avoid injuries while working out and to also boost your balance and posture. “If you have a hard time engaging your core BODY20 and EMS workouts would be a great fit for you,” Yeomans suggests. “At BODY20, we involuntarily contract your muscles for you, therefore helping to create a mind-muscle connection and making sure your abs are working and engaged throughout every movement.”
Keep reading to learn about the following exercises that make an excellent five-minute ab workout. You can do them for a certain amount of time or for reps, and repeat two times.
1. Russian Twists
To get started with Russian Twists, situate yourself on a workout mat with both knees bent and your feet raised. Lean back a bit so your upper body makes a 45-degree angle with the floor. Keep both arms extended in front of you or your hands clasped together. You can also hold a weight plate, dumbbell, or medicine ball for added weight. Engage your core muscles as you alternate twisting to your left side, then back to the center, then to your right side, and back to the center.
2. Wood Choppers
For the cable wood chopper, adjust the cable so it’s at the highest pulley slot. Take hold of the handle with one of your hands, and step away from the machine. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart. Now, make sure both hands are on the handle as you lower it across your body toward your knee as if you’re “chopping wood.” Your torso should rotate as you do this, and you should have a bend in the knees. Then, reverse the motion so you’re in the start position.
3. Standing Side Oblique Crunches
For standing oblique crunches, place your right hand on your hip, and extend your left arm above your head. Then, breathe out, and crunch your left knee up as you simultaneously lower your left elbow so they almost touch. Exhale as you return to the start position. Complete the same motions on the opposite side.
4. Plank Holds
To perform plank holds, begin by positioning your hands shoulder-width apart on a mat and rolling up onto the balls of your feet. Your legs should be extended behind you. Lower down to your forearms to further challenge your core; your elbows should be directly below your shoulders. Activate your abs and squeeze your glutes as you hold this position.
5. Side Plank Holds
Side planks begin by positioning your right forearm on the floor for support. Stack your feet, and place your opposite hand on your hips or extend it. Engage your abs to press your hips up and off the floor. Your body should form a straight line. Hold this position before repeating the same steps on the other side.