Bye-bye muffin top

When most people think “abs,” they think the muffin top that blooms over the top of too-tight pants. But abdominals, a set collectively known as the core, includes the many interconnected muscles that run up the back and stretch down to the butt and the front and inner thighs, says Michele Olson, PhD, professor of physical education and exercise science at Auburn University–Montgomery, Alabama.

Here are 24 moves, from simple to killer, that will keep your daily core workouts interesting!

Get more from your core

You’ll get more from your Pilates, yoga, or core-focused moves—meaning a slimmer, flatter belly—by following these tips:

•Move from your waist. Whenever you twist, make sure the movement happens from your bottom rib up. Keep hips still.
•Tighten up. Throughout each move, you should feel a tightening, similar to zipping up a pair of tight jeans, from one hip bone to the other.
•Exhale deeply. To help strengthen your abs and protect your lower back, be sure to exhale thoroughly with every breath.

A new kind of crunch

Try this two-in-one abs-and-obliques move from David Barton Gym owner David Barton. Here’s how: Sit so thighs and upper torso form a V shape, with lower legs crossed and lifted.

Hold a 5-pound medicine ball (or dumbbell) between both hands. Swivel left to right and back, bringing ball across body while maintaining the V shape.

Do 3 sets of 15 reps 3–4 times a week.

Bridge opposite arm-leg reach

Take inches off your waistline with this do-anywhere move from fitness expert and teacher Jessica Smith.

1. Lie faceup with your left knee bent, left foot flat on the floor, and right leg extended toward the ceiling. Reach toward the ceiling with your the left arm and keep your right arm down by your side.

2. Without moving your hips or shoulders, open your raised leg to the right and raised arm to the left. Now, concentrating on your abs, return your raised leg and arm to the center. Do 10–12 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

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Written by Amy