You can tone your stomach muscles at home without machines.
If you are new to exercise, toning your stomach muscles is a good way to improve posture and strengthen your lower back. The rectus abdominis is the long, flat muscle in front of the abdomen that prevents excess curve in the lower back. The oblique muscles on the sides of the abdomen help you move and twist your trunk. The transverse abdominis is the innermost abdominal muscle that compresses the internal organs and helps the lungs exhale. You can perform these easy-to-learn exercises three to five times a week.
Standard Abdominal Crunch
The standard crunch helps to tone the upper part of the rectus abdominis. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Clasp your fingers behind your head and inhale. Exhale as you contract your abdominal muscles to lift your shoulders and upper back off the floor. You should relax your neck muscles and lead with your chin as your abdominal muscles move your rib cage toward your knees. Hold this position for one to two seconds and exhale as you lower your upper back and then your shoulders to the floor.
Reverse Abdominal Crunch
You can tone the lower part of the rectus abdominis by performing a reverse crunch. Lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, inhale as you spread your arms to the sides with your palms facing the floor. Exhale as you bring your knees toward your chest. Contract your lower abdominal muscles to raise your hips and draw your knees closer to your chest. You should feel your abdominal muscles working to lift your pelvis. After you hold this position for one to two seconds, inhale and lower your hips to the floor.
Crunch With a Twist
To tone the oblique muscles, you can add a twist to an abdominal crunch. Lie on the floor as you did in the standard crunch, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. As you contract your abdominal muscles and curl your shoulders off the floor, twist your trunk so that your right elbow moves toward your left knee. Hold for one to two seconds and then inhale and lower your shoulders to the floor. On the next repetition, twist toward the right and bring your left elbow toward your right knee.
The knee plank is an excellent beginner exercise to help tone the transverse abdominis. Lie on your stomach, bend your elbows and support your weight on your forearms. Exhale and raise your body with your knees and forearms supporting your weight, and pull your lower abdomen inward. Keep your back parallel to the floor and your hips level with your back. Breathe normally and hold this position as long as you can while maintaining proper form, up to 30 seconds to one minute. You also can start the plank on your knees and stretch out your legs behind you as you drop to your elbows. Keeping your back and legs straight, pull your lower abdomen inward and rest your weight on your forearms and the balls of your feet for 30 seconds to one minute.
Considerations and Precautions
Always check with your doctor before you begin a new exercise program. It is not possible to spot reduce fat in your abdomen or any other part of your body, according to Simple Fitness Solutions. You can only reduce overall body fat with increased activity and reduced calories. Good muscle tone, however, reduces a pot belly appearance because it helps you keep correct posture with your shoulders back and your tailbone pointed toward the floor. When you perform stomach toning exercises, you should do only as many repetitions as you can with correct technique. You can achieve more with eight well-executed repetitions than with 20 incorrectly performed repetitions.