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Men's Health

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Flat Abs for Men: Go-to Exercises

Want 6-pack abs? Here's how to get them.

Flat Abs Exercise: The Plank continued...

Here’s how:

Lay on your stomach with your arms bent, keeping your forearms flat on the floor, palms down. Your elbows should be in line with your shoulders and close to your sides. Bend your feet forward so your toes grip the floor. Stiffen your torso and legs. Slowly raise up your whole body, keeping your legs and torso in a straight line, without letting any part sag or arch up. Hold the position and then lower yourself back down.

Get it right:

  • If you feel any lower back pain while doing this exercise, stop right away.

Flat Abs Exercise: Pilates

Pilates isn’t a single exercise. It’s a fitness system that involves many different exercises and routines that can be done on exercise mats or with a special machine. Many people practice Pilates with a certified instructor at a health club or private studio, but instructional books and videos are also available for doing it at home.

Pilates is increasingly popular. An annual survey of health and fitness professionals conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine lists it among the top 10 "fitness trends" for 2010.

Robinson says he trains people in a variety of fitness techniques, but he thinks that Pilates is "the best core exercise modality out there."

If you have the impression that Pilates is somehow unmanly, consider Robinson. Here is a guy who is Oprah’s personal trainer and a punisher in a martial sport that can make Western boxing look like patty-cake. He says that his Pilates and Muay Thai martial arts training are all of a piece.

Kraemer says he thinks the main benefit of Pilates is the novelty of exercises involved, which get people to move in ways they normally wouldn’t. But he cautions against following any "prepackaged" exercise program exclusively because they all have different strengths and weaknesses.

Flat Abs Exercise: "As Seen on TV"

You’ve probably seen TV ads for ab exercise devices. Studies have shown that some of these devices were more effective than the traditional crunch, while others were about the same or less effective.

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