Katrina Hodgson, NASM CPT, BS Health Science, has helped thousands reach their goals by designing fitness programs with her workout videos and her website ToneItUp.com. As one of Diet.comís featured personal trainers she hopes to share her passion for fitness and continue to make a positive impact for the Diet.com community.

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Fitness Expert Katrina

by Katrina Hodgson, Diet.com Fitness Expert

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Anyone who has wasted hours of their life doing thousands of sit-ups or working out with a high-priced, heavily hyped "belly-be-gone gadget" can tell you: Some ab exercises are more effective than others!

5 Worst Ab ExercisesI've rounded up five of my all-time WORST ab exercises for today's blog. If these five exercises are all that you do, then I suggest you change up your workout.

If you don't know what exercises work best to deflate and tighten your belly, be sure to check in next week for my 5 BEST ab exercises to get the best results!

Your abdominal muscles consist of many different parts. We want to target all muscles and perform different movements to isolate each one.

An important part of your core -- one that too many people do not consider -- is the lower back. With all abdominal routines, you should always perform lower back strengthening exercises. This balances your core and keeps your lower back strong so you are able to perform all your exercises correctly.

Another important thing to remember: Stretching after a workout prevents injury.

OK, so here are my five most inefficient ways to exercise your core, which includes your all-important abs!

1. Crunches!

These are actually an excellent exercise... if done correctly and coupled with a good routine. Too many times I have heard people say they did 300 crunches every night for two months and couldn't understand why they did not have a flat stomach! Just doing crunches can cause imbalances in your core. They only focus on flexion of the spine. We want to move our core muscles in more directions so that they become functional to everyday twisting, bending and turning.

2. The AB Rocker!

Remember these contraptions? The Rocker movement is the same as a crunch. It moves you through one range of motion and isn't functional to everyday movement. It definitely will not give you a six pack stomach. This gimmick is only for show. I confess that I learned this the hard way a long time ago and I am happy to say my Rocker is long gone.

3. Side crunches!

These exercises are done by lying on your back, twisting your knees to the side and crunching your shoulders up. Yes, these work your obliques. But again, they will do so in only one range of motion and therefore will not give you a flat stomach! If side crunches are incorporated with an effective ab workout routine, they may help a little. But even doing 100 on each side will not be effective enough.

4. Standing side dumbbell crunches!

Sorry, but standing and laterally flexing your body will not get rid of those love handles!

Your obliques are very strong. This exercise does work your obliques... just not in the most efficient way. Instead of wasting your time with a very heavy weight and bending, I have some great suggestions in my next article!

5. The Ab Energizer!

This is not an exercise. If you do not know what these are, consider yourself lucky! The Energizer is an electrical pulse that "contracts" your muscles by zapping them. The ad copy promised that "Without a drop of sweat you can get a six-pack."

I think it's more effective to do 5 sit-ups a day than to pay for one of these devices, rub gel all over your stomach, strap on the belt and then worry that it's going to burn your skin! It is very deceiving and even I had to question it a couple times. If these belts would have worked, I would have bought it too. The concept originated to prevent atrophy (muscle breakdown) for patients with serious injuries. Will it help you get a flat stomach? No.

Here's something you can count on: If it seems too good to be true -- like sitting on a couch getting zapped into six-pack shape -- then that's what it is... too good ...    Continue

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@ 3:56pm ET on February 29, 2008
I can't wait for your next blog!!!

@ 8:39pm ET on February 29, 2008
thanks for posting this great info!

@ 8:55pm ET on February 29, 2008
Thanks! Can't wait to read next weeks blog!

@ 6:21pm ET on March 7, 2008
there are so many diet,s out there how do you what one really work,s?do you have any idea,s?

@ 11:23pm ET on March 7, 2008
I agree, lets hear the good thing we can do, HAHA!

@ 11:37am ET on March 16, 2008
thanks for posting this great info
but plz tell me wht is Abs Rockers

@ 8:53pm ET on February 22, 2009
Thanks for the great info!! Look forward to next week's blog!

@ 9:29am ET on February 23, 2009
I have done all those exercises! Except for the last weird one with the gel and electricity. I always liked the ab rocker though, it keeps my neck from hurting. Oh well.

@ 10:44am ET on February 23, 2009
So do the old fashioned hands behind your head situps we all did in junior high really work before I go trying them again...

@ 8:51am ET on February 25, 2009
I had an ab isolator (rocker) I liked it a lot. never gave me a six pack, but under all that fat I had rock hard abs. I used that thing until it wore down and broke.

I'm anxiously awaiting your next post (as is everyone else it seems :)

@ 7:22pm ET on February 25, 2009
Thanks for preventing me from wasting lots of precious time.

@ 8:19pm ET on February 28, 2009
Dang, so much for all those crunches!! LOL

@ 10:28pm ET on March 19, 2009
i've been decieved! Trechary, what a cruel world, what a cruel world! how could this be? why o lord, what sn injustice...

first i hear that running is better than the eliptical, now that crunches are not the end all be all...

i'll be in my closet, eating chocolate.

@ 9:41am ET on August 1, 2009
But Sarah and Stephen just had #4, Kat!

@ 7:04pm ET on August 11, 2009
great info!! never know these

@ 11:22pm ET on October 12, 2010
Nice post some of them were cracking me up haha.

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