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Warmer weather means less clothing—making spring the perfect time to start getting your abs in shape for summer! Certified personal trainer Jessica Smith, star of the “10 Pounds DOWN: Cardio Abs” DVD, designed this effective workout routine with targeted strength moves to help you develop a strong, flat stomach and cardio bursts to blast away that extra layer of belly fat.
How it works: Do this workout on three or four nonconsecutive days per week. And be sure to maintain a healthy diet for best bikini-belly results.
BONUS: Check out this full-length workout video to see the moves in action!
Elbow Plank Pike Taps
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To do it: Start in plank position with your forearms on the floor, elbows directly beneath your shoulders, feet hip-width apart. Brace your abs in tight so your body forms a straight line from head to toe (imagine you have a tight corset around your waist during this entire workout).
Next, pike your hips up higher than your shoulders as you lift your right foot off the floor and tap it in by your left. Step your right foot back to your start position and lower your hips back to plank (don’t allow them to sag below your shoulders). That’s one rep. Repeat 20 times total, alternating legs each time.
Cardio Blast: One-Arm Burpees
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To do it: Start standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart (or just outside the edges of your mat if you're using one).
Squat down to the floor and place your right hand on the floor just under the center of your chest, your left arm reaching behind your body.
Brace your abs in tight and jump both feet back and out into a full plank position.
Quickly jump your feet back in towards your hands, landing back in a squat and stand up. That’s one rep. Repeat 20 times total, as quickly as you can, changing arms each time.
Squat Cross Crunch
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To do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands clasped behind your head. Lower down into a squat. As you stand up out of it, bend and lift your left knee across to your right shoulder and rotate your torso so that your right shoulder moves in toward your lifted knee (keeping your elbows open to the sides as you twist).
Step your left foot back down to your start position and repeat to the other side. That’s one rep. Repeat 20 times total, changing legs each time.
Cardio Blast: Power Squat Chops
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To do it: Stand with your feet together, arms extended overhead, hands clasped.
Quickly jump your feet out wide and land in a squat position as you chop your arms across your body to the outside of your left hip.
Quickly jump your feet back together and raise your arms overhead again. That’s one rep. Repeat 20 times total as quickly as you can, alternating sides with your arms each time.
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To do it: Lie on your back with your legs extended and together, toes pointed, and your arms in close by your sides. Brace your abs in tight and sit up, lifting your legs off the ground and reaching your arms towards your toes (so that your body looks like the letter ‘V’ at the top).
Hold for 1 count and then slowly lower all the way back to the floor. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps total. Try not to use momentum to sit up, and if you need to, bend your knees to make it easier.
Cardio Blast: Ski Climbers
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To do it: Start in a full plank position. Step your right foot off to the side of your mat, bending your left knee and bringing your left foot into your body, with the ball of your left foot off the floor (sort of like you are about to take off in a sprint diagonally).
Keeping your arms strong and your abs tight, quickly push off the ground with your legs, lifting your hips up in the air, and switch your feet, landing with your left leg extended out to the side and your right knee bent. Push off again and switch legs. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps total.
Kneeling Cross Crunches
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To do it: Start kneeling on your mat, hands on your hips, and step your left foot forward so you're on one bended knee.
Place your right hand behind your head, elbow out to the side. Brace your abs in tight and do a cross crunch, bringing your right elbow across your left knee. Open back up to your start position. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps on this side, 20 on the other.
Cardio Blast: Skater Crunch Cross
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To do it: Stand to the right side of your mat. Bend your left knee and cross your right leg behind your left, crouching down towards the floor slightly. Bend your arms into your chest and rotate your upper body to the left.
From here, quickly push off the floor and jump out and over to the left side of your mat (try to make it all the way to the other end), reaching your arms out in front of your chest as you leap. Land on your right leg, crossing your left leg behind, both knees bent, and rotate your upper body to the right. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps total, moving back and forth each time.
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To do it: Lie on your back with both knees bent into your chest, hands clasped behind your head. Lift your upper back and head off the floor and lift your legs up into a 90-degree angle, knees together, feet flexed.
Turn your left shoulder to the right, opening your elbows to the side and turning your chest and torso to the right (your pelvis should stay square and centered on your mat). Hold the twist and then extend your legs straight out over your mat as low as you can without arching your back (if you feel this in your lower back, don’t extend your legs as low).
Bend your knees back in, holding the twist through the upper body. That’s one rep. Repeat 20 times on one side, 20 times on the other
Cardio Blast: Windmill Switches
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Stand on your left leg with your right leg extended out to the side and your right heel lifted off the ground.
Bend down into a crouched position and reach your right hand to the floor in front of you, twisting through your torso so that your left arm is extended behind the back of your body, bracing your abs in tight.
Push off the ground with both legs and jump up and to the left, keeping both arms extended, landing in a crouched position with your weight on your right leg, left heel lifted, and your left hand touching the floor in front of you with your abs pulled in tight as you rotate to reach the floor. Quickly jump back the other way. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps in total as quickly as you can.
Photo credit: Vanessa Rogers Photography