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Better Ways to Get Abs That Don't Include Crunches

As the spring quickly approaches, we're all reminded just how fast bathing suit season comes each year. If you're like most people out there, you're worried about the way your tummy is going to look on the beach, and have probably started to incorporate endless crunches into your fitness routine to flatten and tone your belly. Well ladies and gentleman, here's a secret; crunches are NOT the best way to get flat abs.

That's right, we've been lied to all of these years being told that we need to strain our necks and backs doing 1,000 crunches a night if we want that beautiful stomach. The truth is that there are a number of better ways revealed by  to get those abs you want quicker than with crunches. However, there is something else you must first understand about a tight tummy before you start your quest for washboard abs. There's a phrase used in the fitness  world by those who dawn that six pack so desperately wanted by people everywhere; “abs are made in the kitchen”.

The fact of the matter is, it doesn't matter how toned or muscular your abdominal muscles are, you won't be able to see them if there is a layer of fat over them. If you truly want abs of envy, you have to clean up your diet and get rid of the fat that is on your stomach. This means eating mostly whole, natural and healthy foods, while cutting down on sugar, sodium and processed items. Once you've done this, you can start using different exercises including some of the better ab workout methods to really get your stomach noticed. Burning belly fat requires you to incorporate cardio into your regular fitness routine to torch calories. After working on your diet and cardio, you can start using some of these four best ab exercises that don't include any crunches to really flatten and tone your tummy.

1. Planks

Front planks, side planks and all plank variations are an amazing way to work your abs. Planks are beneficial because they don't focus on one area of the abdominals, but rather target the entire stomach as well as your back, arms and legs. To do the traditional plank, start in a push-up position with your arms shoulder-width apart and your legs hip-width apart. Align your shoulders, back and hips so they are in a straight line, without your butt dipping too low or raised to high. Keep your core tight and hold this position for as long as you can. Engage your abdominal muscles and you will certainly feel this crunch-less ab exercise right away.

2. Mountain Climbers

This ab exercise works your core in an intense way to get your muscles toned quickly. To perform the mountain climber, start in the same position as the pushup or plank ,with your arms under your shoulders and your feet aligned with your hips. Once in this position alternate bringing your right foot in and your knee close to your elbow; then switch legs kicking your right leg back to its original position while bringing your left leg in. Alternate legs quickly for 20-30 repetitions.

3. Side to Side

To do this abdominal workout you can start by just using your hands clasped in a  fist, eventually work up to holding a medicine ball or other weight in your hand. To perform this move, sit on the ground resting on your tailbone with your feet lifted about an inch off the ground. Staying sitting up right with your hands together, alternate rotating your torso side to side touching the ground next to your hip with your hands each time you rotate, all while keeping your feet off of the floor. Do this for 20-30 repetitions. This move is great for targeting your obliques as well as your entire core.

4. Hanging Leg Raises

This simple abdominal exercise can be adapted and changed to work your abs any way you wish. To perform this exercise you'll need to have a chin up bar or something similar which you can hang from. Beginners will probably only be able to bring their knees to their chest, while more advanced moves include touching your toes to the bar. The key here is to let your abs do the work without swinging. This move works like a reverse crunch but requires you to use all the strength in your stomach to raise your legs as close to the bar as you can. You will definitely feel these the next day.