Why You Should Workout for Strong Abs, Not a Flat Stomach

man exercising

If there’s one body part people can change in their bodies, most would probably say they’d instead get a flat and sculpted belly. A toned abdomen is something that most people would want to improve their physical appearance. 

However, the truth is that not everyone’s body can achieve this. Every body is built differently, and trying to achieve a flat, toned stomach can mean more work than most of us are capable of. Moreover, genetics is also a factor, so the goal of flat and toned abs may be out of reach for many people.

Here’s why your dream of getting a flat six-pack is unreachable:

1. Sit-Ups Build Core Strength, Not Reduce Fat

No matter how much ab exercises you do, it’s unlikely that you’ll achieve flat, six-pack abs. However, that will make your core stronger. Studies show that even with six weeks of constant ab exercises, considering that no other training was done, fat concentration around the abs wasn’t reduced at all. Still, ab exercises can significantly improve muscular endurance in your core. 

2. Your Genetics Matter

Genetics plays a huge factor in whether your dreams of getting flat, toned abs are achievable. Women also have a tougher time building muscle in the ab area more than men since the former are predisposed to storing excess fat. Moreover, women generally build more fat in the abdominal area more than anywhere, especially after menopause.

3. Strong Abs Are Better

Six-pack abs may look great when you hit the beach or the gym, but strong abs offer better protection for you. A solid core properly supports your spine and protects it from lower back pain and any injuries. 

When you focus on building your core muscle strength with numerous exercises, you provide your body with more support for daily activities. It also helps relinquish the idea of getting flat, six-pack abs. Once you understand that everybody’s six-pack abs aren’t achievable, you can let go of the frustration of not achieving it. 

How to Optimize Your Ab Workout

Doing hundreds of crunches every day does not always guarantee six-pack abs. If you want an effective way to strengthen your abs, here are some things you can do:

  • Perform five to ten exercises that work all your core muscles, such as the Transverse Abdominis (TVA), rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, and the lower back. You may also perform exercises that involve flexions like ball crunches, rotation like bicycles, and bracing or isometric exercises like the plank.
  • Do standing ab exercises and floor exercises to target strength and functionality. Do 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 16 reps of every exercise 3 to 5 days a week.
  • Perform all exercises in slow, controlled movements. If you go too fast using momentum, it can make the exercise less effective. It’s also effective to add resistance, such as holding weight during crunches for more intensity.


Instead of focusing on the physical appearance of a good-looking, six-pack ab, work on building your core strength, which can serve you better in any situation. Having good core strength makes you stronger and healthier overall. 

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