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How can I strengthen my abdominal muscles?

Sorry, but situps, or crunches, just don't cut it anymore when it comes to working your abdominal muscles. While slimming your midsection requires an integrated program of healthy eating and cardiovascular workouts, you won't create the flat belly you've always dreamed of without strengthening your core, and that means a focus on your entire abdominal muscle.

There are many variations of abdominal exercises, but four of the most effective -- and complementary -- are the decline crunch, exercise ball crunch, the intercostals cable pull-down, and the leg-up off a bench.

Prior to prescribing any form of exercise, it would be best to know your current fitness level, age, and exercise history. However, below is an exercise to get beginners started but be sure to only complete if you feel comfortable. Also, please contact me so I am able to further assist you after receiving feedback from the list above:

  • Extended plank – lay face down. Place your hands next to your chest. Lift your body up so you are balanced on your knees. This position might be challenging so start here. If you are able to hold this position then lift your body so you are balancing between the palms of your hands and the toes of your feet, a push-up position. Hold for :30 or up to :30 and rest. Complete 2-3 times.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.