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Trainers Recommend These 7 Exercises to Lose Your Gut

Achieve a flat belly with these trainer-approved exercises. 

When it comes to losing your gut, there is some good news and bad news. The bad news is, there is no such thing as a shortcut, explains Samantha Harte, Doctor of Physical Therapy and founder of StrongHarte Fitness, "especially to highly defined muscle tissue," she notes. "A high protein, high fiber diet coupled with regular strength training has more to do with a six-pack than any exercise on earth." The good? If your diet and lifestyle are healthy and consistent, there are a few basic core exercises that help enhance the tone of the rectus abdominis. Harte and Sandra Gail Frayna, founder of Hudson Premier Physical Therapy & Sport, reveal 7 ab exercises to help flatten your belly and lose your gut. 

Basic Crunches

Man doing crunches in front of the TV in the living room

Though most people engage their hip flexors in abdominal work, it is unnecessary, says Harte. "Basic crunches from 0 to 45 degrees of trunk flexion are a great way to feel the burn without activating the hip muscles," she says. 

Next Level Crunches

young black woman working out
iStock / PeopleImages

Harte explains that  you can progress a basic crunch by changing the arm position. "Elbows parallel to the spine are easiest. As the elbows fan out and become perpendicular to the spine, the lever arm against the abs increases, making the crunch more difficult," she says. To build strength, you can simply do three sets of decreasing reps: 20, 15, and 10, with the arm position shifting from easiest to most difficult.

Rotating Crunch

Beautiful young woman exercising Russian twist with med ball from sitting position for strong abs during group workout class for women at the gym (Beautiful young woman exercising Russian twist with med ball from sitting position for strong abs during

To add to the core routine, you can work in the internal and external obliques. "Take the basic crunch and rotate it to one side and then the other continues to work the 'six-pack' while layering in other superficial abdominals," she suggests. "For example, taking the right elbow towards the left knee, lowering all the way down, and then reversing it."

Same Sided Crunches

paloff press abs woman

She also recommends "same-sided" crunches, "where you take the right elbow towards the outer right hip. Each of these exercises begins with a basic crunch before adding in the rotation or side-bending component."


Forearm plank

"This is a great exercise to achieve a flat belly since it works all the core muscles simultaneously and will tone the abdominal area," Frayna says about the plank. Here's how to do it: Get into a push-up position and rest your forearms in front of you while keeping your body in a straight line and core engaged. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

Leg Raises

leg raises six-pack abs

Leg raises are "an easy exercise to practice on the go that will also help tone the abdominal area," Frayna explains. Start by lying down flat on your back and with straight legs. Lift them up to 90 degrees and lower slowly. Avoid bending your knees or arching your back. 

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Dead Bugs


"Dead bugs will help challenge the stability of your core and work on your coordination while strengthening and toning," says Frayna. Begin by laying on your back and bending your knees to 90 degrees. Lower one leg and the opposite arm slowly and alternating sides, avoiding touching the ground. 

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more
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