Forget the workout DVDs you rented, the personal trainer you hired, the brand new ab machine you bought and the guy in the ab-roller commercials. Once you start eating and exercising right, flattening your abdomen will be no problem. The problem most people face while trying to get that six-pack is that the exercises they perform don’t focus on all the muscles in the abdomen. You need to do exercises that work each part of your abdomen, fit in some cardiovascular training and eat well.
First things first—avoid fast food. While the occasional trip to Subway is OK, burgers and fries are big no-no’s. Try to eliminate red meat entirely and replace it with sources of lean protein. Lean protein helps speed up your metabolism and helps you lose weight; chicken and fish are great sources. Eat lean proteins with every meal, but limit sushi and other fish to once a week to reduce your mercury intake. Next, don't skip breakfast. When you do, you probably tend to overeat by the time afternoon rolls around because you’re so hungry. You also want to make sure you get plenty of fruits, vegetables, fiber, whole grains and good carbohydrates mixed in, and drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
When most people start doing crunches or using ab machines, they're usually working the middle and upper abdomen. A core exercise for these areas is the abdominal butt raise. Get into a push-up position. Instead of using your hands for support, use your elbows and forearms. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then take a one-minute break. Repeat the process three to four times, and increase the time you hold the position over time. Once you've mastered this, get into the same position, lift your butt in the air, putting pressure on your abs, and then return to the starting position. Begin by doing three reps of 10 and increase the number of sets as you become stronger.
The lower abdomen is probably the hardest part to work, because traditional ab exercises don't target those muscles. Use a series of exercises called abdominal flutter kicks to firm this area. Lay on your back with your legs fully extended in front of you and your arms by your sides. Lift your feet 6 inches off the ground and hold that position for 30 seconds, then rest for a minute. Repeat this three to four times a day and increase the time you hold the pose as you become stronger. After you've mastered that, try this exercise. In the same position, lift your feet 6 inches off the ground—this is the starting position. Slowly lift your legs up as high as you can and hold them there for one second, then return to your starting position. Do three sets of five and increase reps as you get more comfortable. Now you're ready for actual scissor kicks. Get in the starting position-—feet 6 inches off the ground—and begin to perform small, rapid, back-and-forth scissor kicks with your legs. Use your midsection, or core, to control your movements. Do this for 15 seconds and increase the time as you get more comfortable.
Your obliques make up the side muscles of your abdomen and are often the most forgotten part when people are working on a six-pack. Do finger-to-heel oblique touches to target these areas. Lay down on the floor in the position of a crunch, but keep your arms by your sides. Move one of your hands to touch your heel on the same side. Come back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Make sure your back stays flat on the ground and that you mimic the motion of a crunch—except sideways.
The best cardiovascular exercises to flatten your abs involve interval training. This is advanced cardio exercise, so you might have to work your way up to this level. Interval exercising consists of alternating between running at full speed and jogging or walking. Start by loosening up by walking or jogging for five minutes. To perform the interval training, start jogging at a steady pace for about a minute. Then you’ll sprint for about 30 seconds, then go back to jogging for a minute before you sprint for another 30 seconds. If you can’t sprint for 30 seconds, try 10 seconds and work your way up. And if you don’t have the energy to jog, walk for a minute until you work up to jogging. Do this for about 20 to 45 minutes a day, and you’ll see your abdominal fat simply melt away.