Laura Williams


SPANX pants for men controversially launched a couple of weeks ago, but if you’re not a guy who’s content pouring his tum into body-shaping undies, we can help you get a good stomach for real: here are the five most effective abs exercises out there.

SWISS BALL CRUNCHES: Sit atop the ball and slowly roll forward until your lower back is supported by the curve of the ball. Your shoulders, hips and knees should all be in alignment. Fold your arms behind your head. Slowly curl your trunk off the ball (visualise pulling the bottom of your ribcage down towards your hips), stopping when your head and shoulders are 45° from the rest of your body. Then lower back down until your shoulders are once again in line with your knees. Do at least two sets of 20 crunches.

NAVY SEALS FLUTTER KICKS: From a seated position, bring your legs off the floor and extend them out in front of you at a 45° angle from the floor. Extend your arms out in front of you in line with your shoulders. Take care not to let your body collapse – you should be forming a V shape between stomach and thighs. Keeping your stomach tightly pulled in, scissor your feet together by crossing them over at the ankle. Try for 30 scissors, relax down and repeat.

THE NO-CRUNCH CRUNCH: From a standing position, place your fingers on your hip bones and trace them inward. Then, breathing deeply, imagine that you’re wearing a belt or a tight pair of trousers, and pull your tummy button back towards your spine. Don’t hold your breath and hunch your shoulders – just pull in that lower part of your tum. Hold this pulling-in for 10 seconds, relax and repeat. Do 5-10 of these at a time.

THE PLANK: Lie face down on the floor resting on your forearms. Slowly push off the floor rising up onto your toes and resting on your elbows. Make sure that your back remains flat, in a straight line from head to heels, and contract your abdominals to prevent your bottom from sticking up in the air. Hold for a count of 10, relax down and repeat. Build up to holding position for 30 seconds, then one minute.

SWISS BALL SCISSORS: Lie on your back with the ball clamped between your feet and legs extended up in the air. Keeping your legs and ball level with your hips, slowly lower the ball down to one side and as you get close to the floor, rotating your hips so that the ball twists in the air. Then pull the ball back up to your starting position and repeat on the other side. Do 12 reps, rest, and repeat.