Flat front flooring is high on the wish list for many of us. But are you doing the right thing to get the stomach exercise of your dreams?
Reiss Mogilner, Owner and Personal Trainer at F45 Mill Hill Here are six exercises that are a total waste of time if you have a flat stomach and you’re working on something.
However, there are often toasted exercises that will flatter your midsection, but don’t believe the hype.
From crunches to squats, it’s time to make a few changes to your workouts and ditch some of the classic “flat stomach” moves…
“Crunches are problematic for a number of reasons,” says Reiss.
“When many think that they are going away quickly, this thought could not be more perverse.
“Crunches are a mass exercise if you don’t pay attention to the position of your head and neck, and they can cause pain, aches and injuries if not done correctly.
“Also, while crunches can strengthen your core, they won’t take away from you unless they’re combined with other full-body exercises.”
Plus, crunches won’t burn the fat that lies above the abs, so if you’re losing fat, other forms of exercise will be more beneficial.
The plank, a classic exercise that involves resting your body on your arms and toes in a straight line, can build strength, but they don’t necessarily flatten your stomach and take it away from you.
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“Boards are a great way to challenge the body and mind – we’ve been known to feel like crawling for a second when holding a board,” says Reiss.
“But it’s important to manage your expectations when it comes to the tables.
“Boards are great for core strength and posture, but you’re wasting your time if you’re relying solely on them.
“Of course your heart rate tends to stay low if you’re on the floor as the movement is steady, so the real way to burn fat and develop your abs is by introducing cardio into your routine like planks.”
Not familiar with 100? For these, lie on your back, then lift the floor with your abdomen and legs, with your arms outstretched in front of you.
Keeping your body still, slowly feel your arms up and down, ideally one hundred times.
“The 100s are back, quite static movements, despite moving your arms.
“If you’re someone who’s looking for a defined six pack, the 100s aren’t going to get you there,” says Reiss.
“If you’re wearing fat that covers your abs, you’re not going to let 100s get away from it and your abs will go through.
“Introducing HIIT (High Intensity Interval) into your training is the best way to lose fat, increase your fitness levels and reduce your body fat content so you can build defined muscle.”
Another exercise that uses minimal movements to burn the core.
Lie on the ground, knees bent, feet flat on the ground. With your arms at your sides, gently touch your left hand to your left heel, then to alternate sides.
“Heel taps strengthen your core, lower abdominal muscles, and oblique muscles, but again, they’re a waste of time to abstract,” says Reiss.
“That being said, it is important to consider that your body fat content may be too high for your abs to show through.
“I recommend that you change your diet and focus on nutrition in order to increase your chances of getting rid of it.
“Upping your protein intake will help you build and maintain muscle while allowing you to lose weight and get lean at the same time.”
Look to include more lean proteins like fish, chicken, turkey, eggs and full-fat dairy in your diet.
5. Russian twist
The twisting motion of Russian twists is great for helping build your obliques—the muscles that run along the side of your midsection—but Reiss thinks they won’t do too much on the flat side of your tummy.
“The Russian twist will test your core strength and endurance, but it’s unlikely to take it away from you.
“It’s really important to push yourself, and if you’re confident with your exercises, your body will get used to doing the same exercises and you won’t feel challenged,” he says.
“I recommend combining exercises with dynamic Russian exercise, such as mountain climbing, which will allow you to get your heart rate up and burn fat and calories while still engaging your core.”
6. Bicycle crunches
A popular movement for many, Reiss says bicycle crunches are good for mobility and core strength, but they shouldn’t be your go-to if you’re looking for abs.
“Bike crunches can also be problematic for your back and neck if you strain your neck while performing the exercise.
They are a staple in many workouts, yet they are more difficult than people think.
“If you include bicycle crunches in your workout, start slowly to ensure that your form is correct.
“This exercise will help with coordination but it won’t take you away.”