Ugh, the lower gut — it's often the last thing to go, right? Lower-abdominal flab can be downright persistent, but it can be reduced with the right diet and exercise regimen. If your gut instincts are telling you to start crunching, you're on the right track. Although crunches by themselves won't burn belly fat, they will strengthen your core, burn intramuscular fat, and help you build lean, calorie-burning muscle. If you want an exercise that specifically targets the lower and transverse abs, try the Reverse Crunch.
- Lie on your back with your feet off the floor, knees bent, and ankles together. Bring the tops of your quads inward and onto your stomach so that you don't swing your legs to gain momentum during the movement. (This also helps you isolate your lower abs during the crunch instead of engaging the hip flexors.) Relax your head, neck, and shoulders, resting them on the floor. Rest your arms at your sides, palms facedown on the floor.
- Lift your pelvis off the floor, and curl it toward your rib cage. Make sure to exhale fully while you're crunching in order to maximize the contraction.
If you really want a challenge, hold your arms out at your sides and several inches off the floor. This helps to further isolate your abs, prohibiting your arms from assisting in the crunch by pressing off the floor with your hands.