Flat Belly Workout

Flat Belly Workout

By Christina Macdonald Personal Trainer
Workout by Mark Hatfield Conditioning Coach

Seeking a flat belly for the beach? Hopefully you’re already watching the quality and quantity of your food and it’s certainly essential to burn more calories than you consume if your goal is to lose weight.

If you want a nice flat tummy, these moves will help.

This is a core workout with a difference. You might get a sweat on and that’s a good thing.

Trimming your waist is all about managing how much energy comes in (food and drink) and how much energy goes out (activity and movement) so we’re going to work your core with as much movement as possible to boost energy expenditure.

Our flat belly workout maximises results by combining a low intensity core exercise with a dynamic higher intensity exercise.

The torso is a 360-degree marvel of movement and muscle and should be exercised in such a way that encompasses the different muscles and their respective roles in your body.

In the front of the body, these muscles not only bend the spine (concentric contraction) but to also decelerate the spine arching too much (eccentric contraction).

The muscles at the side between the ribs and pelvis help to create and minimise bending and rotation the torso, helping to pull your ribs down towards the pelvis.

And there are the often-forgotten back muscles, important for a strong spine and creating a balanced body.

All of the exercises in this workout have been designed to provide a variety of stimuli to work the muscles in all different ways. Some will challenge them to create movement, others designed to decelerate movement.

The exercises give you a variety of speeds, loads and forces to totally challenge the muscles around your torso.

Switching them On

The first three exercises are slow and controlled. The focus should be on feeling the muscles working with lots of tension in the torso.

Perform three sets of each of the following exercises:

  • 1A: Toe Taps (8-10 each side)
  • 1B: Hot Hands Plank (12-16 alternating hands)
  • 1C: Side Plank + Hip Abduction (6 lifts per side)
a Toe Taps 8-10 each side
b Hot Hands Plank  12-16 alternating hands
c Side Plank + Hip Abduction 6 lifts per side

Flat Belly Workout - Top Taps Exercise

1A Toe Taps

(Front Abdominal Muscles)

  • Lay with your back fully supported
  • Position both knees above your hips
  • Slowly lower one foot towards the floor as if you were going to rest it on a snail
  • Pause for a second before returning to the top and swapping sides

Technique Tip: Watch out for the resting leg sneaking backwards towards your chest. It takes the tension off the muscle so less benefit to you.

Flat Belly Workout -Hot Hands Plank Exercise

1B Hot Hands Plank

(Front Abdominal Muscles - Oblique/Waist)

  • Adopt your plank position with your feet wide and hands just inside the width of your shoulders
  • Keeping the body tight, reduce the pressure on one hand and peel it from the floor
  • Slowly lower it back down and repeat on the opposite side

Technique Tip: This is a tough exercise so either do it on a raised surface such as a step or chair. Alternatively, start by just un-weighting one hand and build up to lifting it completely.

Flat Belly Workout - Side Plank and Hip Abduction Exercise

1C Side Plank + Hip Abduction

(Glutes – Oblique/Waist – Back)

  • Support yourself on the side of your foot and forearm
  • Raise the hips so you are in a straight line – make sure you still have a neck!
  • Aim to raise the top leg away like opening a pair of scissors

Technique Tip: If you’re finding it hard lifting off the floor, put your arm on a raised surface such as a step or chair and progressively lower the height to increase the challenge.


Making them Work

Now you have started the muscles working, it’s time to raise the intensity. Complete The following exercises as two pairs.  Do both exercises (e.g. 2A straight to 2B) then rest for 45-60 seconds between sets.

Perform three sets of 2A+B and three sets of 3A+B.

  • 2A: Reverse Lunge Chop x 8-10/side
  • 2B: Leg Lift Curl x 12-15
  • 3A: Single Swing + Pull x 12-15/side
  • 3B: Kneeling Overhead Lateral Bend x 8-10/side
a Reverse Lunge Chop   8-10/side Rest for 45-60
between sets
b Leg Lift Curl  12-15
Repeat for 3 sets

Flat Belly Workout - Reverse Lunge Chop Exercise

2A Reverse Lunge Chop

(Front Abdominals - Thighs – Glutes)

  • Holding a dumbbell, take a step back and bend the knees
  • As you bend the knees, swing the dumbbell up and over the head
  • Tighten your abs to stop your back from arching
  • With a little momentum, return the weight under control as you step back to the start position

Technique Tip: Don’t step too far back or you might over-arch your back. Practice without the weight and it’s the right top position when you feel a mild stretch down the front of the body.

Flat Belly Workout - Leg Lift Curl Exercise

2B Leg Lift Curl

(Front Abdominal Muscles - Oblique/Waist)

  • Laying with feet flat and knees bent, lightly place your hands by the side of your head
  • As you raise your shoulder blades from the floor, lift one foot
  • Rotate the torso as if you were trying to touch your elbow to opposite knee
  • Release slowly and alternate sides

Technique Tip: Don’t worry about how far your knee comes back – focus on curling up your torso. Imagine trying to close the gap between your bottom rib and your pelvis on every repetition.

Flat Belly Workout - Single Swing and Pull Exercise

3A Single Swing + Pull

(Oblique/Waist - Glutes – Back of Thighs – Back)

  • Holding the dumbbell or Kettlebell, slightly bend the knee and drive the hips back – imagine looking over the edge of a cliff
  • Push the weight back between your legs so your forearm lightly connects with your hip
  • Push the hips and stand up straight in one powerful movement
  • As the weight swings up, pull your elbow back shaving your ribs
  • Quickly punch the weight forwards and allow it to fall under control before driving the hips back again to absorb the swing

Technique Tip: Timing is everything so if it feels clunky, don’t worry. If you have done a Dumbbell Row before, it’s the same movement but standing. And a fast pull and punch!

a Single Swing + Pull 12-15/side Rest for 45-60
seconds between
b Kneeling Overhead Lateral Bend  8-10/side
Repeat for 3 sets

Flat Belly Workout - Kneeling Overhead SIde Bend Exercise

3B Kneeling Overhead Side Bend


  • Kneel on the floor, back knee down and your front foot flat.
  • Holding the weight above your head, push the hip away and allow your spine to gently bend so you feel a mild stretch down the side.
  • Tighten and pull yourself straight

Technique Tip: This is a small, focused movement. It’s not about how far your arms reach. Think about the ribs lifting away from the top of your pelvis as you lean and then pulling them back together.

Mark Hatfield

Mark Hatfield @fitnessxl is the Fitness Acadamy Trainer for Nuffield Health where he trains personal trainers to be their best. He is has been training clients for the past 19 years and is the owner of Fluid Coaching.

Photos: Eddie Macdonald | Workout model: Kristen @ MOT Models

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