1. Don’t do sit-ups
Jamming your feet under a bench and lifting your chest up to your knees works your hip flexors, not your abs,’ says Kriss Tottman, director of HealthPro Personal Training. ‘Crunches are a better exercise but they’re just one of a range of moves you need to do to get a sixpack
2. Work your whole body
Don’t focus solely on abs moves in your quest for a six-pack,’ says Paul Campey, a master trainer at Virgin Active. ‘Using your core in larger movements such as squats or deadlifts creates great stimulus for both deep-lying stabilising and outer-core muscles.
3. Hit your absfrom all sides
To build strong abs you need to hit them from different angles,’ says Tottman. ‘Standard crunches will only make your top four abs look good. To hit the lower ones you need to do exercises such as reverse crunches. And you should target your obliques, the muscles on either side of your six-pack, with rotational exercises such as twisting crunches.
4. Save your abs until last
You should never jump straight into the abdominal part of your workout,’ says Campey. ‘Doing these moves before big lifts, such as squats, can fatigue your core muscles, which means you’ll reduce the amount of weight you can lift when you’re working the big muscle groups.
5. Keep cardio short and intense
Don’t just go for long steady-state runs,’ says Tottman. ‘Do hill and speed intervals, too. You’ll work your body more explosively and burn more calories in a shorter space of time, meaning you’ll get rid of that layer of fat covering your abs.
6. Don’t forget deep-lying muscles
If your deep-lying core muscles can’t remain stable during an exercise, your outer muscles will never be as strong as you want them to be,’ says Tottman. ‘To work your inner stabilisers, try doing exercises such as the plank.
7. Eat right
Save your non-fruit and non-vegetable carbs, such as pasta, rice and bread, until after your workout,’ says Campey. ‘They causes your body to produce more insulin, the processing of which increases the level of fat stored under the skin.
8. Think about posture
You can develop your six-pack while you’re just sitting at your desk,’ says Campey. ‘By maintaining good posture throughout the day you can activate the deep-lying stabiliser muscles, such as the transverse abdominals and internal obliques.’ You heard the man – now sit up straight.