by Bob Wells, PES, CES
The stomach is probably the biggest trouble zone for everyone--men and women. I'm frequently asked for guidance about how to get rid of the muffin top or love handles, and how to get a six pack or just a flat firm stomach.
Obviously, diet is a huge part of the solution, and you can read more about diet by checking out "Sculpting the Perfect Body : One Bite at a Time." However, it is important to make sure that we are exercising properly to build the muscle that we want to be able to show off.
Doing "Ab Work" has historically meant doing countless numbers of sit ups and crunches to get a flat, tight stomach. However, these exercises are potentially injurious because of the strain that they place on the lower back and neck. Further, they don't take into account another function of the abdominals, which also function to prevent lateral motion.
A good way to think about this is to consider running mechanics. As you furiously pump your arms and legs to run as fast as you can, you are trying to prevent unnecessary lateral motion. (arms and legs moving sideways, as opposed to straight ahead.)
Ab routines that don't account for this function are incomplete and unlikely to get you to your performance or aesthetic goals. Here is a great exercise, the Joffey Press, to add to your routine.
To progress this exercise, you can add weight, or increase the complexity by trying the anti-rotational lunge, which is shown below:
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