Flat Belly Core Workout

Scientifically Proven Ab Training Guide


At FitnessRx, we always give you the latest cutting-edge research to back up our recommendations of which exercises to include in your workouts. Usually we rely on EMG studies, a sophisticated diagnostic method that determines which exercises work your muscles best. New research using ultrasound imaging also gives a ‘thumbs up’ to the exercises inThe Super Flat-Belly Core Workout.

Researchers used ultrasound to measure changes in abdominal muscle tone when test subjects performed six ab exercises. The side plank (aka side-bridge) and the abdominal crunch— both included in theThe Super Flat-Belly Core Workout—resulted in the greatest increase in muscle tone in the transverse abdominis and internal oblique muscles. The researchers concluded that side-bridges and crunches contract the muscles more than other ab exercises. We conclude that if you want the latest, scientifically researched information about exercise, health and nutrition, read FitnessRx. (J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 2008 Oct;38(10):596-605).

Description of Exercises

  • Crunches On Floor: Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor. Place your hands across your chest. Contract your rectus abdominis (front abdominal muscle), drawing your breastbone downward. Try not to lift your neck or shoulders; let the abs do the work. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.
  • Crunches (with feet on a bench):Lie on your back perpendicular to a bench. Place both feet flat on the surface of the bench and your hands across your chest. Contract your rectus abdominis, drawing your breastbone downward. Try not to lift your neck or shoulders; let the abs do the work. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.
  • Bicycles: Lie flat on the floor on your lower back with your hands beside your head. Bring your knees toward your chest to about a 45-degree angle and make a bicycle pedaling motion with your legs, touching your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.
  • Crunches on Exercise Ball: Lie on the ball on your back and bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands across your chest. Contract your front abdominal muscles, drawing your breastbone downward. Try not to lift your neck or shoulders; let the abs do the work. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.
  • Reverse Crunches on Bench: Lie on a bench and stabilize your body by grabbing the bench above your head. Lift your legs so your feet are pointed at the ceiling and bend your knees slightly. Contract your lower abdominal muscles and lift your tailbone off the bench by pushing your feet towards the ceiling and pushing your lower back into the bench. Return to the starting position. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.
  • Side-Bridges: Lie on your side and support your body between your forearm and knees. As you increase fitness, first move your non-support arm across your body as you hold the side-bridge; later, support your weight between your forearm and feet. Do this exercise on your left and right sides and try to hold your spine in a neutral position (normal curves)—avoid letting  it sag during the exercise. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Rest. Repeat as fitness increases.
  • Front-Bridges (plank): In a prone position, support your weight between your forearms and toes. Keep your back straight and head in a neutral position. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Rest. Repeat as fitness increases.
  • Supermans: Lie on a stability ball at chest level with your legs extended to the rear. Extend your arms and place both hands in front of you as though you were flying like Superman. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Rest. Repeat as fitness increases.
  • Bird-Dogs: Bal ance on your hands and knees. Lift your right leg and left arm and extend your leg to the rear and reach to the front with your arm. Don’t arch your back during this exercise. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Rest. Repeat as fitness increases.

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