Flat Abs – The Truth
“Flat abs fast” – the title of an article on a popular fitness web site. The article serves a wide audience; people of both genders, and also of a variety of ages, wish to achieve a flatter and firmer midsection. What was a little more puzzling, however, was the lack of discussion regarding diet, or even cardiovascular activity! In fact, the whole article was composed of four exercises, only two of which look like they would directly stimulate the muscles of the abdominal. The other two exercises were poses. I would argue such a routine would most definitely not lead to “flat abs fast”! So, what would?
Fat loss is essential for flat abs
Direct abdominal exercises, such as crunches, will not solely lead to a flat stomach. Abdominal exercises directly stress the muscles of the midsection, which may result in some muscle hypertrophy (growth) to occur. Those who seek an athletic look will want to perform direct exercises, with the goal of having some notable abdominal muscles. Those who seek a flat midsection with no notable muscles will likely be best avoiding direct exercise. The main goal should be fat loss, and this is not achieved by direct exercises. A lifestyle change may be needed to ensure the correct dietary intake and cardiovascular activities are followed to ensure fat loss.
The current lifestyle of the individual, the age, health conditions, current condition etc will all need to be taken into consideration before beginning such a program, and it would be wise to seek advice from your GP beforehand.
For a sample weight loss plan (which would suit those looking to lose body fat), see the following article – weight loss plan. The diet plan located in that article is merely a sample, and should not be followed strictly. Those with greater muscle mass and size may find a diet with greater serving sizes better suited, as it is important to tailor the diet to your specific requirements.
As for cardiovascular exercise, three to four sessions per week, each between thirty and sixty minutes in duration will likely prove fruitful. Again, this is not set in stone and individual requirements should be catered for, such as daily activity levels, abilities, and preferences.
Build the muscle
Hopefully the information above should make it clear about the use of direct abdominal exercises for a flat stomach. If the goal is merely a flat stomach with no notable “six pack”, simply focus on overall fat loss, following the advice given above. If the goal is to achieve notable muscle tone and a visible “six pack”, direct exercise is required to stimulate the muscles.
There are a variety of abdominal exercises available, many of which can be performed easily at home. The most common, and highly effective, is the crunch. The crunch should be preferred over the full sit-up, which is less effective due to greater hip flexion involvement, and reduced stress to the abdominal muscles.
The abdominals can bet rained two to three times per week, with at least a day’s rest between each session. A session does not need to last any longer than twenty minutes, with the use of two to three exercises. For a list of exercises, see our core exercise directory.