While many people want the benefits of situps and crunches, not everyone likes getting down on the floor to do them. Fortunately, there is more in the abdominal workout bag of tricks than just these two exercises and their variants. You can experiment with a variety of other exercises to get the flat tummy you crave.
One crucial part of getting a flat stomach is proper diet and nutrition. Avoid fat whenever possible. Choose foods that are rich in protein with moderate amounts of carbohydrates. Don't skip breakfast, as eating within 30 minutes of waking up can increase your metabolism by as much as 30 percent. Try and eat many small meals instead of a few large ones. Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet will also help your abdominal muscles see the light of day.
You cannot spot train for fat removal. This means that you can do as many abdominal exercises as you like. but it won't remove fat from your waistline. For this, you will need cardio. It's important to pick an exercise that you enjoy so you will stay with it. Some exercises that burn a high amount of calories include running, rollerblading, tae kwon do and high-impact aerobics. Those looking for something a little gentler might consider swimming, cycling or golfing -- but make sure you carry your clubs.
Getting rest is an important component of any workout, especially when you are going for a flat stomach. Taking a week off your cardio regimen when you feel you have hit a plateau in terms of weight loss may kick-start fat burning again. Shortening your rest period between sets to 30 seconds will help kick your metabolism into overdrive. Make sure to get enough rest every night, as inadequate amounts of sleep cause a fat-storing hormone known as cortisol to be released.
To get a flat stomach involves more than just cardio, rest and watching what you eat. You'll also have to do abdominal exercises. Alternatives to situps and crunches include the rotating plank reach, a dumbbell workout that exercises your core and shoulders. The swing-and-hold is another dumbbell exercise that works the core, glutes, legs and shoulders. The squat pivot exercises the same muscle groups using resistance bands. Hanging knee raises work your lower abdominal muscles. Work your abs no more than three times a week, progressively increasing the difficulty of the workout for maximum results.
- "Shape" Magazine: The Best Flat Stomach Exercises
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in One Hour
- Bodybuilding.com: 6 Tips to Get Gut-Busting Abs; Steve Halvorson
- Bodybuilding.com: 6 Exercises to Build Your Six Pack; Chad Shaw
- Bodybuilding.com: 5 Things You Need to Do Right Now to Get a Flat Stomach; Shannon Clark
- Bodybuilding.com: The Secrets to a Flat Stomach; Jesse Cannone