Generally, the best way to tone your tummy is to eat a healthy diet that’s free of processed foods and foods that are high in empty calories, sugar, salt and fat, and practice both cardio and strength-training exercises. Unfortunately, you cannot reduce fat in certain areas of the body — such as the abdomen —without reducing fat throughout your entire body. That being said, here are three of our favorite tummy-toning exercises to incorporate in your comprehensive fitness routine.

Ab Hold

For this exercise, you’ll need a sturdy chair.

  1. Sit on the edge of the chair, placing your hands on the edge, with your fingers pointed toward the back of your knees.
  2. Contract your abs and lift your butt (and legs and feet) off the chair. Your feet should be about 2 to 4 inches off the floor.
  3. Hold this position as long as you can; shoot for five to 10 seconds.
  4. Lower yourself back down, on the chair.
  5. Repeat this exercise as many times as possible, for one minute.

Side Crunch

This exercise helps tone your oblique muscles.

  1. Kneeling on the floor, lean all the way over to your left side and place your left palm on the floor.
  2. Slowly extend your right leg, pointing your toes. Make sure to keep your weight balanced, so you don’t topple over.
  3. Place your right hand behind your head, making sure your elbow is pointed toward the ceiling.
  4. Slowly lift your right leg to hip height (keeping your leg straight), meanwhile extending your right arm straight out, so it is above and parallel to your leg. Make sure your palm is facing forward.
  5. Glance out over your hand while bringing the right side of your rib cage in, toward your hip (crunch the right side in).
  6. Lower yourself to the starting position. Repeat the movement six to eight times, on this side.
  7. After you have completed two sets of six to eight reps each, switch sides and repeat on the other side.

The 100

This Pilates move is a staple in most gyms and group exercise classes.

  1. Lie down on your back, with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
  2. Extend your arms out, on either side of you, with your palms facing the floor.
  3. Exhale as you lift your head and shoulders off the floor.
  4. Vigorously pump your straight arms up and down, about 6 inches off the floor. Reach your fingertips toward your feet as you do this.
  5. Inhale for five pumps then exhale for five pumps.
  6. Make sure to curl your chin in slightly, toward your chest, to protect your neck.
  7. Complete 100 arms pumps, which should equal 10 full breaths.
  8. Make sure to keep your lower back pressed to the floor and your lower abs engaged, or contracted, throughout the entire exercise.
  9. Once this becomes too easy, you can try this exercise with your legs straight out in front of you and raised off the floor. However, if you do so, make sure your lower back stays pressed to the floor, to protect it.

Need Help Toning Your Tummy?

If you follow a healthy diet and exercise routine, but still can’t tone your tummy, outside factors may be to blame. Sometimes, major weight loss, pregnancy or the natural aging process leave individuals with loose, excess abdominal skin and greatly damaged abdominal muscles that cannot be toned without surgical intervention. If this sounds familiar, Dr. Bohley can help. He offers abdominoplasty, or “tummy tuck” surgery, to remove excess abdominal skin and tighten the underlying musculature, for a tight, toned tummy.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Bohley to find out more about tummy tuck surgery, contact his practice by calling (503) 253-3458.