Plank pose tones the entire front of your body, including the abdominal area.
Losing belly fat can be a tricky feat, but you may not know that you can actually shave your belly fat without performing a single crunch. First, you'll need to tackle your diet and cut out all bad foods that are causing you to store extra fat -- sugar, full fat dairy, trans and saturated fat and processed foods are all culprits. Then incorporate regular cardiovascular exercise and abdominal conditioning exercises to tone and sculpt the entire abdominal area.
Break a Sweat
In order to shed the pounds around your middle, you'll need to burn more calories than you consume, creating a calorie deficit. Cardiovascular exercise that gets your heart pumping and elevates your breathing rate will help you burn calories. Choose cardio activities that engage the abdominal muscles -- swimming, kickboxing and jumping rope -- and try to aim for 20 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity cardio at least three times per week. To tone and strengthen your ab muscles, incorporate two days of strength training exercises, such as crunches, plank pose and reverse crunches.
Plank pose strengthens the entire body from tip to tail. It's also one of the top core-strengthening exercises recommended by the American Council on Exercise. To perform plank pose, start on all fours with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide and press your palms into the mat. Step back with both feet until you are in a high pushup position. Brace your abdominal muscles and draw in your muscles as if you had a corset wrapped around your entire middle. Hold plank pose for 30 seconds to one minute before gently dropping your knees to the floor and sitting back on your heels.
Circles in the Sky
Single leg circles are a Pilates abdominal exercise that uses slow precision to target your belly muscles. To perform single leg circles, lie on your back with both legs extended on the floor. Place your arms out to a "T" and turn your palms to face down. Engage your abdominal muscles and pull your straight right leg toward the ceiling until it is perpendicular to the floor. Point your right toes and draw slow circles the size of dinner plates. Draw 10 circles clockwise and then 10 more counterclockwise, before switching sides.
Make a Big Splash
Dolphin plank pose is a yogic modification of plank pose that adds an extra challenge to the lower abdominal muscles. To perform dolphin plank pose, position yourself on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Lower yourself down onto your forearms and clasp your hands together into a fist. Step back with both feet until you are in a low pushup position. Draw your belly button in toward your spine and hike your hips a bit higher, until the entire back of your body makes one long, straight line. For a more challenging modification, lift one leg and then the other, balancing on your forearms and one leg only.
Back It Up
ACE recommends performing reverse crunches for an abdominal blaster that doesn't put any extra strain on your lower back or neck. To perform reverse crunches, lie on your back with your knees positioned directly over your hips. Raise your lower legs until they are parallel with the floor, toes pointing toward the ceiling. Keeping your legs in the same shape throughout the entire exercise, draw your knees in toward your chest and lift your lower back and hips off the floor. Curl the back and hips to the floor and repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions.