A celebrity trainer reveals why crunches won't give you rock solid abs -- here's what you should be doing instead

Ariana Grande@arianagrande / InstagramAriana is one of Harley Pasternak’s many celeb clients.

The INSIDER Summary:

• The most effective way to get rock solid abs isn’t to target them directly, but to walk and do upper and lower back exercises.

• Walking burns the fat that obstructs your abdominal muscles, and targeting the back elongates the torso.

• Targeting the ab muscles too much can lead to overstrengthening, which can shorten the torso.

The number of people who actually have washboard abs is far fewer than the number of people who want them.

Why is it that you can spend hours in the gym doing targeted ab exercises and still not achieve the elusive six pack?

According to celebrity trainer and nutritionist Harley Pasternak, who’s worked with Ariana Grande, Lada Gaga, Megan Fox, and more, ab exercises aren’t going to get you rock solid abs — walking is.

Pasternak says that what most people don’t realise is that everyone is born with abdominal muscles. So technically, everyone starts life with a four pack or a six pack.

Woman doing crunches at gymAntonio_Diaz / iStockCrunches aren’t the way to six pack abs.

However, everyone is also born with body fat, and in most cases, that body fat ends up obscuring and covering up the abdominal muscles.

Unfortunately, those ab exercises you’re doing — anything from crunches to using that random machine at the gym that says it works your abs — is doing nothing to burn the fat that’s covering your ab muscles because, according to Pasternak, you can’t target fat burn.

Walking, on the other hand, does exactly that: it burns fat.

Pasternak says that he gives all of his clients a step goal ranging from 10,000-14,000 steps per day. If they’re hitting that, they’re already halfway there to washboard abs.

Woman Walking in Pink SneakersRedd Angelo / UnsplashWalk as much as possible.

The other half comes from targeting other parts of your body that aren’t your stomach.

“If you want to have a great midsection, then don’t worry about the midsection,” Pasternak say.

Instead you should focus on strengthening your back. According to Pasternak, targeting your upper and lower back helps to elongate your torso, whereas targeting your abs too much (overstrengthening them) can actually shorten your torso, which can give you what Pasternak refers to as a “pooch.”

For lower back strength, Pasternak recommends superman exercises, and for upper back he recommends a TRX back row.

So stop killing yourself with crunches, and go for a long walk instead.

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