Lay flat on your back, legs straight up in the air at a 90-degree angle. Place a ball in-between the inner thighs, hands relaxed down to the side. As you press in on the ball, tip the hips up. It’s a subtle movement: Be careful not to rock your hips, just tip them up slightly, initiating all movement from your lower abdomen. Crunch in and tip the hips, release halfway, repeat. Progress it by holding weights in your hands. Do 15-20 controlled reps.
Start with your body sprawled out on the floor in an X, “like you look like you’re dead,” Stokes jokes, holding a weight in each hand. If it’s too heavy, you can also do without weights, but they will give you some extra chest and shoulder work. Lift your left hand and bring the weight towards your right shin, lifting your torso and keeping your belly pulled into your spine, until you roll all the way up to balancing on your tailbone. You can come up onto your elbow a bit to make it a little easier—don’t use it as a crutch, but as a guide. Lower back down and alternate sides. Try turning your foot out, still keeping the leg straight, to get a deeper inner thigh workout at the same time. Do 24-30 reps, alternating every time (so 12-15 each side).
“This move works your whole transverse abdominus, and again, you’re moving the legs so you’re working the lower abdomen,” Stokes points out.
Six Pack Scissor
Lay flat on your back, hug your knee into your chest your left leg straight and about two inches off the ground, right leg up toward the ceiling. Lift your upper body nice and high, use hands behind knee and then bring your hands behind your head. Lift the left foot and tap the back of the right heel, crunch and tip your hips, half release (just shoulder blades don’t drop your torso), and bring the leg back to its starting position a half inch from the ground. Do 12-15 per side, completing all on one side before switching to the other.
“Pace is last thing to be concerned about,” Stokes says. “Slower is better, slower is harder.” Again, going for quality over quantity is how you are really going to safely and effectively sculpt your muscles.