Think you follow all the necessary rules for getting toned abs, yet the results are not quite what you expect? If focusing on the big picture isn't doing the trick, analyzing your behavior more in-depth might be a good idea. Check out a few simple rules that might improve your workouts and even make them more effective.

Most of us are pretty well aware of the things we need to do for an effective flat abs workout: focusing on engaging as many muscles as possible instead of just trying to spot train, using ab toning Pilates and yoga moves or engaging in strength training rather than cardio sessions alone. These general guidelines are a wonderful place to start when it comes to training your core. However, if the results are unsatisfactory, you might need to focus on smaller, seemingly less important details. Here's a list of things you might need to take into account:

Embrace instability. Endless sets of crunches and sit-ups might not get you very far if you want an ab worth flaunting. Instead of relying on traditional moves only, why not try to spice up your workouts with the help of a fitness ball? Aside from being fun to experiment with, this simple fitness device forces you to use your muscles for stability, engaging your entire core and makes it rather difficult not to focus on proper form, so it's a real winner all around.

Try slower repetitions. While it might seem like fast, multiple sets of ab exercises are some of the most effective ones for defining the core muscles, the truth is that going slower can actually be more beneficial as it requires more muscle control.

Keep more muscles engaged. Tightening the abdomen when performing ab exercises might seem like a no-brainer, however we can often neglect other muscle groups if we are not careful. Closing the rib cage or squeezing your buttocks while performing ab exercises will help you get more out of your workouts, so make sure you don't neglect them.

Breathe correctly. Breathing is another often underrated part of ab workouts as it is often thought to be less important. But while a gym trainer might stress its importance, during home workouts it can be far too easy to just focus on the number of repetitions. Inhaling on the easiest part of the move and exhaling on the hardest part of the move will help your muscles work at full capacity, according to Shape magazine experts.

Protect your neck and lower back. While ab exercises will most likely not put you at risk of developing serious injuries, improper posture will put unnecessary strain on sensitive areas such as the lower back and the neck. Focusing on exercises that train the lower abdomen and keeping your neck properly aligned are two tips that can make a big difference when it comes to your overall experience.

Change things up. Do you like to do certain effective ab exercises over and over? Well, that might just be the answer as to why things aren't progressing. As our muscles adjust to a certain type of moves, less effort is required in order to do them. Therefore, to ensure constant progress, finding new ways to challenge our muscles becomes mandatory.

Eat healthier. Getting a six pack is difficult at best if your diet is less than satisfactory from a nutrition standpoint. Because losing belly fat is essential before even beginning to distinguish a six pack, watching our diet and making some changes is crucial. Focus on getting enough macro-nutrients and don't neglect any food group. Also, avoid thinking that low calorie snacks offer a free pass for eating more.

Little Rules for More Defined Abs

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