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7 Flat-Ab Tips for Men

By Michael Esco, PhD
WebMD Feature

Even when you exercise extra hard for “six-pack” abs, you might not get the results you want. That’s because it’s hard to lose abdominal fat, especially if you’re not exercising correctly.

Make sure you’re following these 7 training to-dos.

1. Go Beyond Crunches and Sit-Ups

There's a good reason these exercises are a go-to for abdominal training -- they work!

But your muscles adapt quickly to certain exercises. If this happens, they may stop responding altogether.

Changing your workout every 4-6 weeks will ensure the results keep coming.

It’s also important to do a variety of movements to fully target all of the ab muscles, not just the “six-pack” -- aka the rectus abdominis. Other muscles include the external and internal obliques, which are located on the side of the trunk. Try side bridges, planks, hip-ups, bicycles, and Pilates for variety. You can also incorporate stability devices, and do crunches on a Swiss ball for an advanced move.

2. Give Your Abs a Break

When it comes to training your abs, the more you do does not mean the more results you’ll get. As a matter of fact, doing too much can actually increase the risk of injury to the lower back.

If you’re working your midsection on a daily basis, you’re probably overdoing it. Like all other muscles in your body, your abs need rest to fully recover and repair from a strenuous workout. A good abdominal workout should only be performed on 2 to 3 nonconsecutive days per week.

3. Include Cardio

The biggest mistake men make when attempting to lose belly fat? Avoiding cardiovascular exercise. No matter how hard you try, you can’t spot-reduce. You must burn stored calories.

If a layer of fat is covering your abs, there isn’t any ab-specific workout that will show results without help from cardio training.

Strive for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week. But an even better way to torch belly fat is with vigorous exercise like jogging or an indoor-cycling class. And it’s a great time-saver too, giving you the same benefits in just 25 minutes 3 days a week.

To trim the layer of fat over your abs even faster, throw in high-intensity intervals.

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