I’ve always found this subject interesting because I often get told by new clients that they have been doing a lot of core and ab exercises to help flatten their mid sections.
The short answer to this question is no, you cannot simply flatten your stomach by doing ab exercises and here is why..
‘Spot Reducing’ is a concept where you can theoretically focus on one particular area of the body (stomach) and perform exercises for that area and apparently your body will burn the fat in that localized area, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Your body simply doesn’t operate that way.
Everyone is a little bit different as to where they store excess body fat and therefore they burn it off in different areas as well. The body will use this excess body fat as energy to function and recover as a result of exercise and there is no definitive way to tell exactly which area is going to be burned first.
The closest I have gotten to documenting ‘spot reduction’ is by taking tape measurements of my clients every so often to see which areas are dropping the fastest. But even then I structure my client’s training with a lot of variety so it’s impossible to tell which exercises have been responsible for the drop in body fat.
More so, dropping body fat is the result of an elevated heart rate to which your body responds by demanding more energy in the form of calories which equals more body fat burned.
Because the majority of ab exercises do not elevate and sustain a high enough heart rate, they make the process quite slow. I personally class the majority of ab exercises as ‘toning’ exercises, meaning they build lean muscle tone, strengthen and firm that particular muscle group as opposed to say running which elevates your heart rate and sustains it more efficiently.
So what can you actually do to help flatten your stomach?
High Intensity Interval Training of course! I’ve done a really helpful article of why it’s so effective so CLICK HERE to read it.
The process that I use to train my clients and keep their workouts efficient is to choose ‘one consistent cardio interval’ followed by 5–10 ‘toning’ exercises. You’ll do 30secs of cardio, then 30secs of toning then go back to the cardio. Go for as long as you like.
This method is super effective and more importantly keeps your exercise sessions fresh, fun and engaging.