Flatten Your Abs-- Exercises That Actually
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Updated May 7, 2009

By Amanda Gillespie, Featured Columnist

Most of us hate some part of our bodies. Ask anybody.
They secretly hate their thighs or their butt or something.
But almost everyone I know has a secret hatred of their
abs. Why the heck won't they get flat, no matter how
much I exercise and diet?

Truth be told, your middle is different from the rest of
your body. It's stronger. That makes these muscles very
difficult to impress with normal exercise.

To get your abs' attention takes time and a multiple-angled
strategy. You have to hit them from several different

Remember when Janet Jackson had those amazing abs?
She finally revealed on Ellen Degeneres' show that she did
an ab roller, the kind that looks like a rolling pin and that
you roll out like you are scrubbing a floor. Well, she did
this torture for like 40 minutes a day.

Here is what works for me:

Basic 100.  Ask any really thin person what's their
secret and they won't tell you. But I have listened closely
over the years to friends who never have trouble
maintaining their weight, and a consistent theme
emerged. They all do 100 sit-ups a day.  So, I started doing
this 100-a day thing. I started out with 25 for the first
month. I got up to 80 a day by the third month. Ladies, it
really does make your abs stronger.

Rolling Pin. This means getting down on your knees and
doing the scrubbing the floor motion. Your abs hate it. But
it does make them flat over time. The reason that the
rolling pin or "ab roller" works is that it is actually a plank.
The plank hold is a highly effective way to flatten your abs.
Then, the rolling pin makes the plank hold harder by
forcing your abs to maintain your back in a safe position
through a range of motion. That's about the hardest thing
you can ask your abs to do.

Kick. Ladies, remember Tae Bo?  Well, even if you don't,
almost all forms of martial arts require leg kicks. And it leg
kicks that are the world's best exercise for to shrinking the
sides of  your waist line and that lower part of your belly
that is below your belly button.

Vertical Leg Crunch. It is what the women is doing in
the picture above. Raise your legs and crunch up toward
them. Try for 3 sets of 15.

Plank holds. These are killers but they truly work to
flatten and strengthen your abs. Aim for a hold of at least 1
minute before resting. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

Finally, a word  about the difference between crunches
and sit-ups.  Some of you may be asking- -are sit-ups what
I mean or are "crunches" better than sit-ups. I know the
controversy over which is better is all the rage. Sit-ups
supposedly are worse than crunches because they don't
engage a muscle called the "psoas". These are the muscles
that connect your back to your legs and enable you to pull
your legs closer to your chest. Supposedly, sit-ups activate
the thighs more than the abs..blah,blah, blah.

For this reason, you'll see a lot of words around the web
devoted to downing sit-ups as a way to whittle your waist.
Listen, this is what I know first-hand. Most people don't
do sit-ups or crunches. So, the question of which is better
is just nibbling at the margins.  Ask yourself this question.
Is your stomach sore after you do 100 st-ups? Can you feel
it in your abs? If you can, then that means you have used
those muscles. Period. Don't stress over whether you have
just done a sit-up or a crunch. Believe me, you can't raise
your body up from the floor without using your abs. Just
can't do it.

So, aim for 100 a day. Better yet, rest every other day for
faster results, since your body needs a day of rest for your
muscles to get stronger.  

If you use an exercise ball to do your abs work, you'll also
accelerate your results. Why? Because the ball forces you
to maintain your balance, and your body burns calories
when it tries to maintain its balance.

After about a month, you will notice a little something.
You are starting to lose weight. The added muscle fibers
will burn about 70 calories a day per pound of muscle.
Nice bonus.

Find out more information on daily routines that can help
you lose weight
:Get Your Thighs Skinny--Thighs, Legs Buns
Exercises / Small Steps to Lose Big Pounds  / Smoothies You Can
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