Ok ladies before you run off to the gym to use the ab machines in order to get a flat stomach I’ve got some very important news you’ll want to hear. I’m going to share with you some insight that will save you a lot of time and a lot of frustration. The ab machines you’ll find at most health clubs are NOT effective at reducing your waistline. In fact, many of these machines can make the appearance of that dreaded “pooch belly” every woman hates even worse!

The reason is these machines work by isolating one or two abdominal muscles while neglecting the deep core muscles that actually hold your stomach in. As a certified Charleston personal trainer I see the “pooch belly” problem a lot with women even after they’ve lost weight and toned up from doing resistance training.

The best ab exercises for bringing in your stomach will work the deep core muscles like the transverse abdominis, which gets neglected with isolation machines. You need to do exercises that integrate all the core muscles if you want to naturally draw in your stomach. These include chops, planks, knee tucks, vacuums and others.

As a general rule you’ll want to avoid any ab machine where you do the exercise while sitting down. A lot of female clients I see have some degree of “lower crossed syndrome” where the low back muscles and hip flexors are tight and the glutes and core muscles are inhibited. Any idea on what is a common cause for this muscle imbalance? If you guessed sitting too much you’re a winner.

It’s not too hard to figure out that an activity that helped to create the problem in the first place won’t likely be part of the solution. The best exercises to naturally draw in your stomach will also help to improve your posture, eliminate low back pain and give you better flexibility. Best of all, most of these exercises require very little or no equipment and can be completed even in the privacy of your own home.

Functional exercises are always superior to isolation exercises for the abdominals. You could never do a single crunch again and have a perfectly flat stomach. Of course your diet will play the largest role in removing the layer of unwanted fat covering up your abs. The best approach will be to follow a Primal Blueprint of Paleo type diet that is free of processed and refined foods. Regular resistance training and cardiovascular exercise will be the other two essential components.

Look to do abdominal exercises that work your entire core with integration and not isolation. This is essential as your abdominals don’t ever work in isolation with normal human movements. Exercises like wood chops, knee tucks, plank variations, cable rotations and others are superior to crunches and machines because they work deep core muscles. You can see some of my favorite ab exercises by visiting the exercise video library at my website.

Author's Bio: 

Shane Doll CPT, CSCS is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. As a specialist in burst training for body transformation and weight loss he provides nutrition and fitness coaching along with e-books, videos, and other resources on his website: www.shapingconcepts.com. To learn more about how to get a flat stomach check out my DVD training system “How To Get A Flat Stomach In 30 Days.”