6 Tips for Flat Abs
Two fitness gurus offer their secrets for toning and tightening the tummy.
Flat Ab Tip No. 6: Set Realistic Goals
Though it's not an excuse to explain away a soft midsection, your genes do
play a role, Neporent says. For better or worse, you stand a chance of
inheriting Mom's thick wavy hair and her dark circles. Same goes for other
parts of the body.
"Sometimes, even very thin people can't get washboard abs," Neporent
says. "Genetically their bodies want to hold on to the extra layer on the
That doesn't mean you can't improve your appearance, but it does mean you
need to set realistic expectations. Not everyone can look like Beyonce, but you
won't stand a chance if you're still sitting around with one hand in the candy
More Exercises for Flat Abs
Ellen Barrett is a proponent of standing abdominal exercises, which
integrate balance, coordination, and body awareness and also tone the core.
Here are a few from her DVD Fat-Burning Fusion.
Canoe Twist: Stand upright, feet apart. Interlace all 10 fingers to
the webbing of your hands to create a solid grip. Exhale, and sweep the
interlocked hands, arms, shoulders, and chest to the left, as if "rowing a
canoe." Simultaneously lift the left knee up and to the right. Inhale and
return to the starting position. Exhale and perform the movement to the right.
Alternate for 20 repetitions.
Cat Kick: Stand with feet together, arms extended out like airplane
wings. Exhale, and lift the right leg forward and up. At the same time, sweep
the arms forward at shoulder level and round the spine, like a cat. The navel
should feel as though it's pressing toward the spine. Inhale, and open back up
and return to the starting position. Repeat with the left leg, alternating for
Pilates Zip Up: Stand upright with the heels together, toes slightly
turned out. Bring the arms up, into an "upright row" position, hands
just underneath the chin. Exhale, press the arms down (as if pressing down on a
box of dynamite), keeping the hands and arms very close to the body.
Simultaneously, lift your heels off the ground onto your tiptoes. Hold for two
seconds at the "top" and inhale and return to the starting position.
The abs go "in and up" and the arms go down. Perform 20