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Fab Abs: What Works, What Doesn't?

Gizmos and supplements promise a "six-pack" with very little effort. Can they really give you the washboard abs you've always dreamed of? WebMD asked the experts.

The Best Exercises continued...

Diet is 85% of weight loss, so 15% of your effort should involve fitness and strengthening, he explains "You've got to have your diet under control, then add in all your cardio and abdominal work."

"I'm not a big 'machine person,'" says DeGennaro. "When you're doing a machine, the same muscle fibers are working in the same sequence every single time. You can develop 'pattern overload' -- your body becomes accustomed to that pattern, and after awhile you're not accomplishing anything. Your body plateaus, gets more efficient at burning the calories. Pretty soon, you're not burning any calories."

"You've got to add variety, do a different routine, so your body doesn't plateau," he says.

Like DeGennaro, Bookspan doesn't believe that machines, ephedra drugs, or simple crunches are the answer to flatter abs.

A Simpler Approach

She believes in an isometric approach -- teaching people exercises that can subtly be integrated into your normal, daily routine. All are aimed at attaining better posture and less back pain -- along with more attractive abs, she tells WebMD.

"Most people can't imagine using their abs while standing," she writes. "Yet this is what will keep your back supported and prevent pain and injury during daily activities. Use this whenever you reach overhead -- from pulling shirts off to reaching cabinets, to washing your hair, to lifting weights."

"Using abs correctly will firm your abs and help you burn calories," she says. "It's a free workout you can give yourself every day."


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