Despite adding a variety of ab routines into your daily workouts, if you’re still finding it hard to burn off unwanted fat around the waist and getting those abs to show, you may be on the wrong path. Read the following tips on how you can get sexy abs.

First off, let’s put this myth to rest: while doing endless sets of crunches, sit ups and ab exercises may result in powerful core stabilization muscles, it won’t do much to physically reveal your abdominal region. “Spot reduction” is a myth that dates back to the fitness and bodybuilding circles of the 60s.

Among the key factors that govern ab development are of course the way you train them and especially how you eat. Even though some folks have nailed the diet part down to near-perfection, they still find it hard to get that flat washboard look.

What, then, are you missing here? Let’s talk about the role abs play in certain exercises and every day movements.

Doing ab-specific exercises is not the only time you’re using your abdominal muscles. We use them in daily activities such as walking, squatting down in a chair or getting up, reaching up to get something placed on a shelf or bending over to pick something up from the floor. The way we walk especially says a lot about the level of development in our torsos. Stay active and stay on the move throughout the day.

Apart from sit-up and crunches, there are a host of gym movements that heavily incorporate your abs. Take deadlifts or squats for example: you take a deep breath and brace your abs to stabilize your spine, as you go down and pull the bar up with force. You use your abs throughout to keep your posture upright and control the weight. The squat forces you to keep your chest upright as you go down deep and almost explode back up.

Another example is the barbell curl: as you make the transition between lowering the bar and pulling it back up, it’s in fact, your abs and lower back muscles that are keeping the body upright and preventing it from swaying back and forth.

Doing power cleans, standing military presses or even standing calf raises employ your abs to a great degree. Without them, you simply would not be able to execute these movements with sharp form.

Another factor that tends to limit abdominal prowess is lower back strength and development. Think of it like this: the fuller your biceps are, the safer it is for you to engage the triceps, since the biceps act as a cushion. Sound ab development and lower back strength complement each other; with both, you can safely execute even the toughest ab movements with finesse and good form.

Try this: before an intense push or pull session with weights, warm up your abdominal region with at least 5 to 8 sets, 20 reps each. Choose any two ab exercises. This may seem like a lot, especially before lifting weights, but it engages your torso and abdominal region more as you crank out each rep. You may lower the volume accordingly.

Fully engage the abs on days when you’re not training with weights. Usually, right after cardio gives you a good burn, in addition to burning some extra calories. Do full-body stretching afterwards.

As you see someone attractive walk by, usually the first thing you tend to glance at is the waist. A healthy clean diet is rounded off with a smart training drill, and, with enough determination, you can get your abs to strand out.