Contrary to previous claims that abdominal exercise alone is the best way to improve your stomach muscles recent studies prove that combining dieting and plenty of cardiovascular exercise - to streamline overall body fat - with the usual abdominal workouts is the best way to those flat abs.
Most abdominal exercises help strengthen the muscles but have little effect on fat deposits that sit above them. And, liposuction notwithstanding, there is no way to "spot-reduce" stomach fat, just as doing side leg lifts will not trim fat from the hips.
A recent study by researchers at Kansas State University found that the expensive devices advertised on TV for that abs might not be worth the enormous sums of money Americans spend on them.
The study, published last year, had a group of 23 men and women in college exercise with various devices - an abdominal "roller" and an abdominal "slider," among others - while electrodes measured the stimulation to their abdominal muscles. The study found that, on average, the products elicited no greater muscle activity than traditional crunches.
And two of the devices, an ab "slide" and a type of Swiss ball called "FitBall," caused more activity in the hip flexors than in the stomach, "an undesirable feature of abdominal exercises," the study said.
This research therefore stresses the importance of diet and cardio-exercise along with abdominal crunches for firmer abs.
Source: Kansas State University