Side plank for firm abs

Tone your stomach and strengthen your core

Raphael says the best exercise of all is the side plank (which involves lying on the floor on your side and lifting your hips off the ground).

Not only has this exercise been shown to offer the highest level of activation of all the abdominal muscles, it also puts the least load on the spine.

Lie on your side, on the floor or a mat, with your elbow on the floor directly underneath your shoulder, and your top arm along your side. Your knees can be bent (easier) or straight (advanced version).

Keeping your body in a perfectly straight line, lift your hips off the ground. You should be in a straight line from your head to your knees (or feet if doing the straight leg version).

Hold for up to two minutes (or as long as you can). Raphael says you will probably feel a strong burning sensation in your abs, shoulder or hip muscles. Repeat on the other side. Do this exercise twice each week, about three to four days apart, and you will soon notice the results.

Next: Foods for a beautiful belly

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