What's the best way to tone a stomach without buying anyting?

In spirit of this thread.

I would guess the obvious choices are sit ups and crunches, but there are a lot of flavors of those exercises.

Let’s discuss exercises that helped you the most?

Here’s a whole slew of 'em.

Have fun!

Actually the stomach is one of the EASIEST places to tone and muscle up.

I have six pack abs. How do you get them? You’re not gonna like it. No it isn’t sit ups, crunches or any other thing like that. You get them by aerobic exercise.

Do a whole routine of crunches and in a week or two, you will feel some rock hard abs. Of couse you will probably feel these UNDER a layer of fat.

That is the real issue. After your bicep, abs are the easiest to build up. The problem is getting the fat off your gut so you can SEE them.

You do this by cutting down your food intake and running. You run, run, run and when you think you can’t run any more, you run some more (You can do any aerobic exercise in place of running actually)

You can’t spot reduce off your stomach. Each person has a unique way of placing fat on his/her body. In general the first place the fat goes on your body is the LAST place it comes off.

Markxxx is right on the money.
Ab excercises don’t reduce ab fat, aerobic excercsie and diet does.
You can do a plethora of ab excercises all you want and you’ll probably get a mighty strong stomach. But you’ll never see it until you melt the fat off in front of it.

Just quoted for emphasis. The most important exercise for slimming your midsection is pushing yourself away from the table, closely followed by aerobic exercise.

There are benefits to a strong abdomen even if you can’t see it: less back pain, better posture, increased physical endurance (in fact, you are much more likely to injure yourself running if you have really weak abs). Y’all are making it sound like there’s no point in bothering with ab work until your BMI gets to 22 or so.

No, of course there is benefit to strengthening the core. However, that doesn’t mean your stomach will look “toned” – as noted it is not possible to spot reduce. Washboard abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym, from overall low bodyfat, and not from any particular strengthening excercise one does.

It is not unusual for your stomach to look less “toned” when you develop your core muscles, because the muscles growing in size pushes the loose fat forward.

Basically what Hampshire said.

thanks everyone for the great answers.

I’ve been doing sit ups and crunches and all that BS for 6 months.
Now I have to stop eating too?

Yeah, I’ll echo run. Run run run. If you have A LOT of extra time on your hands, and you’re really committed, you can bike or swim instead, but nothing has more bang for your buck than running-- and for god’s sake don’t even bother with a hula hoop. There are no easy outs.

But be sure to take a holistic approach to core building. If you do all abs and neglect your lower back, you’re going to be all out of whack; bad posture, pulled muscles, etc. Make sure your work your whole core.

And abs are fairly dense and not as easy to build up as people in this thread are making them out to be. I’d say after forearms and calves, they’re one of the hardest muscles to build. The easiest muscles to build are the huge, voluminous ones; upper legs and chest. Someone stepping into the gym for the first time can easily double their squat, deadlift, and bench press in a few weeks with a time investment of like 30 minutes a week, if that. You’re not going to see those kind of results in that little time with your abs.

Diet is the main factor in what your abs look like. Genetics are secondary, and the type of exercise you do doesn’t matter much. I am naturally thin (small) and have lower body fat, habits regardless, just like my dad; but by following the advice below I gained very defined abdominal muscles for a woman. I’ve also put on a lot of muscle in my formerly bony back and arms.

For abs that look ‘toned’:

  1. Stop eating sugar and high-carb processed foods.

  2. If you’re at a normal weight, restrict carbs to under 150 grams per day. If you’re fat you might have to go lower than 50g per day to lose abdominal fat (and/or restrict calories as well).

  3. Eat plentiful protein and natural fats. Meat and eggs are the best sources with the most nutrition.

  4. Do moderate exercise. Strength training will produce the most aesthetically pleasing body. No special ab exercises are necessary.
    I think the PPs who say to do lots of cardio to burn fat have a point; but it’s a lot healthier for your body to eat less of the foods that produce excess abdominal fat and focus on building strength and muscle tissue. Any sort of ‘chronic cardio’ leads to a certain body type; thin of course, but unappealingly wiry with low body fat everywhere (a really terrible look for women) and little muscle mass anywhere but the thighs.

Not to say cardio should be totally avoided; but I prefer to emulate Olympic sprinters (who avoid excessive running and do strength training to give them that explosive power). This picsays it all.

There are three components to a gut:

What’s under the skin.
What’s inside the gut.
What’s holding it in.

The subcutaneous fat on top of the abdominal muscles are what makes you look flabby; the visceral fat surrounding your internal organs is what increases the volume of your abdominal region. Combine these with weak abdominal muscles and the whole thing hangs out above your belt with an added pillowy radius caused by the subcutaneous fat.

But even without all that fat you can still get a gut: I have a friend who calls himself “skinny fatman”, because he’s very slim, but does no abdominal exercise at all, and therefore has a very prominent beer gut.

So, if you’re only moderately overweight, abdominal exercises can help to hold in your organs and their visceral fat, thus reducing the appearance of your gut - even if you lose no body fat whatsoever (though with your clothes off you will still look flabby).

Yep, you nailed it.

If one of my coworkers mentions another “OMG EAT THIS AND ONLY THIS FOR 3 WEEKS AND LOSE A BILLION POUNDS” dieting scheme, I’m going to go crazy.

There are no easy outs, I agree. But for the time/calorie burn tradeoff, try a rowing machine. I burn calories in 2/3rds the time I do on a treadmill, work out my core, back and shoulders as well as my legs, and have less impact while doing so.


I got into the rowing machine for awhile a couple years ago. It’s anything but an easy out. I doubt it burns more calories than road/trail running (and impact is not necessarily a bad thing), but it certainly can be a mother #$%^er!

One tip: don’t brag to your friends that you “rowed” 5 miles, because they’re going to reply: so what? I ride 5 miles just to get to the trailhead! :smiley:

The WiiFit program has some easy and fun ways to exercise your core muscles. If you do hard aerobic workouts on alternating days, you could play some wiifit games on your off days to give extra core benefits. I was doing that for a while (willpower? what?) and I could really notice a difference, both with what I could feel when I poked through my fat layer and with how my back pain decreased.

You might also want to consider stopping breathing as well. I hear that long term exposure to our atmosphere are the #1 causes of old age and death.

Same thing with that DiHydrogen Monoxide stuff I’ve been hearing all about.

I’ve been reducing my caloric intake by 1/2, walking 2 miles a day, and about 20-30 crunches.

You should say to them:

Absolutely fucking fabulous! Come back and see me in 3 weeks. If I like what I see, then I’ll consider your advice unfucked.

At least you won’t have to buy anything.