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You've probably already figured out that dutifully doing those 50 nightly crunches doesn't cinch inches. That's because your midsection is made up of more muscles than meet the mirror, says FITNESS magazine consultant Michele Olson, PhD, professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama.
Sit-ups can strengthen the front muscle (aka the rectus abdominus), explains Olson, but they don't work all the way around your core to slim your sides (obliques), lower back (erector spinae), or the inner muscle that encircles your midsection like a corset (transverse abdominus). It's this 360-degree assault that is actually going to bring your belly in an inch or two and ultimately change the appearance of your abs. It's time to relearn how to exercise your abs!How the Ultimate Ab Workout Plan Works: 6 Weeks to Better Abs
We put together six weeks of ab workouts using ultra-effective exercises -- just four moves per workout -- that will give your middle the 360 degrees of TLC it needs to actually shrink a size. With our Ultimate Ab Workout plan, you'll learn how to target all of your problem areas -- from the pouch below your belly button to the dreaded "muffin top." And the best part? We're giving you a day off in between each mini-workout -- so you're actually doing FEWER sessions to get those amazing results!
We've provided weekly workout instructions and videos. Post on our message boards to tell us how you did each week and to find extra support and motivation from your fellow recovering crunch addicts! We'll be there with you every step of the way to help you learn the right way to beat belly bulge and keep it from coming back.
Ready to get the abs you've always dreamed about? Let's get started!Your Weekly Workouts
Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, June 2008.