Balance Your Way to Flatter Abs

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Balance Your Way to Flatter Abs

self logoThink celery is the only thing that should crunch? Are sit-ups your exercise equivalent of a root canal? Good news: You can achieve firm, flat, sexy abs without doing either. “Strength moves requiring balance work the tough-to-reach myfitnesspal Self Effortless Abstransversus abdominis more effectively than traditional ab toners do,” says Robert Sherman, a trainer in Rockville, Maryland, who designed this sneaky sculpting routine. You’ll need anything that creates an unstable surface: folded bath towels, a BOSU or a pair of balance pods. Complete two sets of each move up to three times a week on alternate days, and you’ll be ab fab in a flash!

Lunge up
With left foot on pod, lower into lunge, knee over ankle, thigh parallel to ground, right knee bent with heel raised, hands on hips (as shown). As you straighten left leg, push off ball of right foot, bringing right thigh in front and parallel to ground, balancing on pod. Slowly return to start. Do 12 reps. Switch legs; repeat.

Get-lean lift
Stand with feet hip-width apart, pod under right foot, arms down. Raise arms to sides at shoulder level as you engage abs, then slowly extend left leg to side as high as you can (as shown). Slowly return to start. Do 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Power plank
Start in plank position, forearms resting on pods (spiky side down), hips lifted, legs behind you, resting on toes (as shown). Hold pose as long as you can; work up to 60 seconds. Lower to knees; repeat twice.

Shaky squat
Stand on pods with feet hip-width apart, knees soft, arms down. Engage abs and raise arms to shoulder level for balance as you slowly squat as low as you can (as shown). Return to start. Do 12 reps.

Tree 2.0
Stand with right foot on pod, sole of left foot pressed inside left shin, knee out, and palms pressed in front of chest. Engage abs and hold pose. If you can, slowly extend arms overhead (as shown), then lower. Hold up to 30 seconds as you maintain balance. Switch sides; repeat.

Turbo twist
Start in push-up position, with ball of left foot on pod and right leg raised in line with hips. Engage abs, bringing right knee toward left armpit (as shown). Return to start. Do 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

The gymnast
Sit with legs extended, heels on pods, wrists directly below shoulders with palms flat on ground, fingers pointing forward. Lift hips off ground. Maintain hip lift as you engage abs and raise left leg as high as you can (as shown). Slowly return to start. Repeat on opposite side for one rep. Do 12 reps.

Time to roll up a towel or grab a BOSU! Try this workout and let us know what you think in the comments!


SELF is the magazine that makes living healthy easy and fun. SELF’s motto: Being fit, strong and active means feeling great, being happy and looking your most beautiful. With trademark authority, SELF speaks to women about three key areas of her being: her body, her looks and her life. SELF makes it fun and fulfilling to be your happiest, healthiest, best self. Reaching a total audience of 12 million each month, SELF is the founder of the Pink Ribbon for breast cancer awareness and an ASME National Magazine Award winner for excellence in journalistic achievement in print and digital. SELF is published by Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair, Bon Appétit, GQ, Glamour, The New Yorker, Wired and other celebrated media brands. Visit and follow @SELFmagazine on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Foodily and Google+.

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Photos: Jorg Badura

About the Author

SELF is the ultimate wellness resource and community. We recognize that wellness is as much about self-expression and self-esteem as it is about exercise and nutrition; that it’s not an all-or-nothing lifestyle; and that every person’s individual goals for healthy living are different, and that’s OK. We’re here to celebrate, motivate, support, inform and entertain you—and make you laugh, too. Join the conversation and catch the latest SELF news, recipes, advice, laughs and more on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.



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