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Abs & abdominal

Exercising your abs and abdominal muscles, or abs, has a host of benefits for your all-round fitness.

Sadly, abs & abdominal exercises won't make the fat on your stomach disappear, but once your overall weight loss programme has begun to get results, that's when a sculpted set of abs will come into their own. You don't have to wait until you shed the fat from your stomach before you start developing the muscles, however.

Even before you can see them, having strong abs and abdominals can benefit your overall health and fitness. Strong stomach muscles aren't just about making you look good; developing your abs helps contribute to your overall core strength, improving your posture and agility.

Exercises for developing your stomach muscles include:

  • Basic floor crunches
  • Hanging leg raises
  • Leg raises
  • Lying hip thrusts
  • Side bends
  • Sit-ups
  • Weighted sit-ups

Most of these are simple floor based exercises, which require very little investment in equipment, and can be done safely at home. A small investment in simple fitness accessories can dramatically increase the effectiveness of these exercises however. Performing your crunches or sit-ups on a Swiss ball can increase their effectiveness by 60%.

However, no state-of-the-art piece of gym equipment can miraculously give you a six-pack overnight. The most important factor in creating an effective programme for this area of your body is a carefully thought out plan, which includes plenty of variety, so that you define and separate your stomach muscles. And the other most important factor is to make sure you stick to it.