For many people, a flat stomach or even a six-pack is their main reason for exercising. As well as being something that looks good, a lack of fat around your midsection is also a good indicator of health; abdominal fat being closely linked the risk of suffering from diabetes and heart disease. However, when it comes to abs training, many people make mistakes and end up frustrated with their lack of progress. Use the tips in this article to get better results, faster.

Do eat clean – abs are made in the kitchen or so the saying goes. It really doesn’t matter what exercises or workouts you are doing if your diet is unhealthy. You simply cannot out-train a bad diet! If you eat a lot of fatty, processed, or sugary food, you can exercise from now until the end of time and will still be frustrated by your lack of progress. Clean up your diet and your workout routine has much better chance of succeeding.

Do perform a variety of exercises – many people perform the same old abs exercises over and over again. However, if your body is exposed to the same exercises too frequently, it simply gets used to them. To maintain progress, you must perform a variety of exercises to prevent your muscles from getting used to your workout. For this reason, make sure you rotate your workouts and exercises regularly – every four to six weeks is ideal.

Do make your abs workouts intense – bodyweight abs exercises such as crunches and sit-ups present very little challenge to well-conditioned abs muscles. Doing these exercises will produce very little training effect in fit individuals. If you have moved beyond beginner status, you need to work your abs with demanding exercises. This may mean adding weight in the form of medicine balls, resistance bands, using stability balls, or simply choosing more demanding abs exercises. However you do it, your abs workouts need to be tough enough to produce results.

Don’t do high reps – doing more than 20-reps of any abs exercise is really just a waste of time. Your abs are no different to your arms, legs or back and will respond best with reps ranging from 6 to 20. Higher reps do not magically melt fat; there is no such thing as spot reduction. Save time and get better results by embracing intense abs work and keeping your rep count to 20 or less.

Don’t forget your other midsection muscles – in an effort to work their abs, many people focus solely on the rectus abdominus, the muscle at the front of your midsection. As important as this muscle is, it is only one of several that you need to exercise if you want a strong midsection. In addition to rectus abdominus, make sure you include exercises for your obliques or waist muscles, erector spinae or lower back muscles, and your transverse abdominus which is your natural weight training belt.

Don’t train your abs every day – for some reason, some people believe that abs can be trained every day. This is a mistake! Your abs, like any other muscle, need rest after they have been worked. You wouldn’t bench press seven days a week and yet daily abs training is not uncommon. Work your abs hard two or three times a week and preferably on non-consecutive days for best results.

Abs training is not some mystical art and yet many people make it out to be far more complicated than it really is. Work your abs hard but not daily and make sure you clean up your diet. Work your abs as part of a well-designed, balanced weekly program and not in isolation. If you follow these tips, flat, strong abs can be yours. Will you get a six-pack? Maybe – but that’s as much to do with genetics as it is diet and exercise.