While women are often taught that a high number of reps will help define abs, strength training may actually be the key. “Whether it’s your plain Jane crunches or leg lifts, incorporating a strong, heavy-weighted dumbbell can show progress quicker,” says Shannon Hamilton, a personal trainer at Fitness Together Hudson and Chagrin Falls. The more muscle you create in your core, the more efficiently you’re able to burn fat. Hamilton suggests a hybrid of a leg lift and a crunch with added weight to work the abdominals.
Step 1: Lie flat on a mat with legs pressed against the ground and using ankle weights. While grasping moderate weights, extend the arms above the chest, where they’ll remain in position.
Step 2: Lift legs 6 inches off the ground, hold for one second and lower.
Step 3: Roll upward to initiate a crunch while keeping the dumbbell balanced above the chest.
Step 4: Repeat for three sets of 15 reps.