Why you’re not getting your ‘perfect’ abs….

  1. You’re all about the crunches

Sure, you can do crunches until you’re blue in the face, but that won’t get you the abs youve always dreamed of. You need to think bigger, your core contains far more muscles than crunches can target. Such as, your internal and external oblique’s. Make planks and wood chops (try them with a cable or holding onto a medicine ball) part of your regular routine.

These bigger movements engage a larger range of muscles in your body.

  1. You’re not targeting deep muscles

There’s a muscle group that doesn’t get enough credit: your transverse abdominus (TVA),

It’s a very deep muscle that acts like a corset. When strong, it helps pull your abdomen in like a girdle, he explains.

Activate your TVA by incorporating compound movements into your routine, such as, squat presses or dead lifts.

  1. You’re not getting your back in on the action

Here’s an area you probably didn’t think you needed to focus on for awesome abs: your middle back. (If you need specifics, it’s your rhomboids and middle trapezius.)

By strengthening these neglected muscles and stretching typically tight chest and lat muscles, you can realign your posture. Having good posture will make you stand taller, look more confident, keep your core engaged throughout the day, and look and feel leaner.

  1. You’re not focusing on building muscle

A lot of people move too fast and lift too light. In order to build muscle (which you need for great abs), keep your weights heavy.

What that means: You can only perform six to 12 reps until exhaustion. Rest periods between sets should be 60 to 90 seconds.

  1. You haven’t mastered the pelvic tilt

Ever notice that your lower back aches when you’re blasting through your abs workout? When that happens, you’re engaging the muscles in your lower back—not the front of your core.

If you want to hit your abs, your hips should be tilted forward so there is no arch in your back. To maintain proper form, remember to tilt your pelvis in and push your lower back to the floor by pulling your belly button into your spine.

  1. You only do abs on #absday

Oh, could you throw in some legs and arms, too? “There shouldn’t be a one-muscle-group-only day at all, That never makes it into my routine,” she says. Instead, focus your efforts on more full-body functional training.

Not only does that engage more muscle to boost your burn, but it also mimics how your body naturally moves during day-to-day activities.

  1. You’re ignoring HIIT

Yes, sprints can be torture. But they also serve as a serious fat burner. Short intervals of high intensity mixed with short periods of active recovery are the most effective way to burn more calories and boost your metabolism so your body burns more calories all day.

Do HIIT in a variety of ways: sprint outside or on the treadmill, skipping between sets during a strength workout, or incorporate heart-pounding movements like box jumps, squat jumps, and skater jumps into your routine.

Your lungs may be burning, but it’s your abs that will thank you.