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You Can Have A Flat Belly (part 1) - Work your core

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Sit-ups alone won’t give you a trim tummy. You need to focus on your whole core

Hands up if you’ve sweated your way through hundreds of crunches in the hope of a flat stomach but have still been left with that little section of belly flab that just refuses to budge.

The frustrating reality is that the midsection can be one of the trickiest areas to tone. If you’re spending hours every week working on your tummy, then take heart – even women dedicated to a good diet and regular exercise often can’t iron out their abs.

The secret, according to experts, is a strong core rather than over-developed abdominal muscles.

“The reality is you won’t ever get a washboard stomach if you don’t work your whole core,” says personal trainer Prue Jones. “While it’s important to tone your actual abdominal muscles, we’re also talking about your transverse abdominus muscle, which wraps around each side of your body and acts like a corset to pull everything in.

Description: The secret, according to experts, is a strong core rather than over-developed abdominal muscles.

The secret, according to experts, is a strong core rather than over-developed abdominal muscles.

“Then there’s the oblique muscles on each side which can help create a waist, and even the muscles in your lower back and bottom can help improve the look of your stomach if you work them in the right way.”

Work your core

“Think of how the body of a dancer or gymnast looks,” says Jones. “Just looking at their upright posture and lean, lithe muscles will tell you how strong and developed their core muscles are.”

Workouts such as yoga, Pilates or Barre classes are ideal for developing the muscles in question.

“Ideally you want to aim to incorporate exercises such as the plank that include multiple muscles and also require the stabilization of the core,” says Elizabeth Nable from Xtend Barre studio in Mosman, NSW. “The result is the creation of lean muscle and strength in the muscles that have worked, including the abdominals.”

Description: Workouts such as yoga, Pilates or Barre classes are ideal for developing the muscles in question.

Workouts such as yoga, Pilates or Barre classes are ideal for developing the muscles in question.

Learn the plank

Lie on your front with your legs extended. Place your forearms on the ground and move into a position similar to a push-up except you are balancing on your forearms instead of your hands. Pushing into the ground through your shoulders, raise your body and straighten your legs so you’re supported on the balls of your feet. Engage your core and keep your back flat and your tailbone tucked. Hold this for a minute, or longer if you can, and then repeat.

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