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Crunch Time: How to Flatten your Stomach

Everyone sets out in the New Year with a certain set of goals in mind, to lose weight, to get in shape, and to finally get that flat stomach to show off once the warm weather approaches.  There are five simple rules that apply to all of those: diet, exercise, diet, diet, and cardio!  What this article will examine is the “exercise” aspect of those steps.

You might be an avid gym veteran, just picked up a new membership, or decide to tackle your goals at home.  In any case, what you’ll find here is a way to attack your midsection no matter where you are (I don’t suggest plopping down on the floor in a general public area).  That exercise is the good, ole’ fashion crunch.

Find a flat surface, preferably clean and comfortable, and lie down.  For the first set, you’ll want to make sure your thighs, your heels (with toes pointing up in the air) and your back are touching.  Place your fingertips so that they are barely touching the side of your head.  Lift your shoulder blades off the ground, keep your eyes looking directly up, and then return to the starting position.  Make sure not to move/bend your neck during this attempt.  Do this as many times as you can and then rest for 1 minute.  The second set is very similar except in the position of your legs.  You will want to have your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent.  Again, do as many as you can then rest for 1 minute.  For the final set, you will want to keep your feet off the ground, bend your knees so that your calves (lower legs) are parallel to the ground.  Do as many crunches as you can and then repeat each of the sets until you’ve completed 3 sets of each position.

Note: Personally I found that using a high-quality massage gun helps loosen up my abs.

A couple other items to consider.  The speed to which you perform each repetition.  For the first 3 sets, you will want to do a 3 count (slowly count 1…2…3) as you lift your shoulder blades up and perform the crunch, then a 3 count down as you return to the starting position.  For the next 3 sets, you will want to do a 3 count up, but then hold for 10 seconds before you do your 3 count back to the starting position.  For the final 3 sets without moving/bending your neck, do each crunch as fast as you can. Try doing this 3-5 times a week as your only abdominal exercises for 4 straight weeks.

Once you’ve set your focus here, you can then cut these exercises back to 1-2 times per week and throw in other abdominal exercises to keep your muscles from adapting and allowing more continued growth, strength and definition for a flatter and more firm stomach.

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