Flattening Your Stomach Without Crunches

By: Tim Kauppinen

You've probably seen hundreds of ads, commercials and infomercials promising a lean, flat, sexy stomach and six-pack abdominals.

Most of those programs probably recommended some sort of crunch as a main training method to get the results you were after. Hey, crunches are the best way to target your abs, right? They isolate your abdominals and won't hurt your back like regular situps...

But, what if I told you that crunches are not the best way to develop the abs you've been after (or at least they're only part of the solution).

Truth is, adding exercise to burn the fat that's covering your abdominals and to build lean, functional abs and core muscles will accelerate your results.

First of all, we all have abdominal muscles - yup, they're there. Unfortunately, those muscles are to often covered by some layers of fat and blubber. Best thing to do about it? Burn that fat off to reveal the muscles underneath.

All you need is an exercise that burns fat while you work out,, kicks up your metabolism after your workouts and targets the jelly belly area. And guess what? Traditional cardio in the "fat-burning zone" is NOT the answer.

Research has shown that the best technique for achieving these three goals is to include heightened intensity (HI) exercise in your routine. HI training involves taking you out of your comfort zone and raising the intensity of your workouts. Sprinting, interval sprinting and plyometric exercises meet the definition of HI training.

But, intensity in your training is relative.

"Sprinting" is not the same speed for everyone.

For example, if you currently walk, walking faster raises the intensity of your workout.

If you jog, then striding at a faster pace is high intensity.

(Another great way to add intensity to whatever you already do is to move your exercise onto hills or stairs).

Intense exercise will burn fat while you work out and raise your metabolism so that you continue to burn fat long after your workout is over.

Sooner than you think, you'll be able to see your abs like you haven't in a long time.

Besides burning fat covering them, you'll also want to build the muscles in your abs and core. Crunches will do this to some extent.

But, since that exercise isolates your abdominal muscles, it does almost nothing for the rest of your core. Better to find an exercise that works all of those muscles in unison - making them work in synergy with one another.

One of the best ways to meet this goal is to use the same exercise used to beat back belly fat. HI sprint-type training (especially on hills and stairs) will work your midsection like nothing else.

This is because when you run fast (and sprint correctly), the muscles in your core work to raise your legs on each stride. Your abs and obliques also work to keep your trunk upright and stable - not twisting from side to side.

(This functional strength is also a big protector against back problems...)

All this leads to exceptional development of your abs, hip flexors and core (don't believe me - look at world class sprinters. There's a reason they're never afraid to take their shirts off).

With summer just around the corner, there's no better time than now to start focusing on your lean, flat sexy stomach. If you're doing crunches, there's nothing wrong with continuing. But, if you want maximum results, be sure to include some HI sprint training in your program.

You'll be ready for the beach and the pool in no time flat.

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