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Despite doing an array of abdominal exercises, there are two reasons your abs won’t show: the exercises aren’t being performed properly, or there’s layer of fat covering that ridge of hard-to-reveal muscle.

Cynthia Ekman, a physical therapist and former fitness competitor, debunks the myth that a simple 15-minute abdominal routine is enough. “You can’t expect to see your abs unless you stay consistent with a regime of exercises done with strict form, high-intensity cardio and a low-fat, high-protein diet.” Cynthia continues, “I recommend splitting the cardio sessions into two-minute intervals, alternating between two minutes of higher intensity (75 to 85 per cent of max) and two minutes of lower intensity (55 to 65 per cent of max) for a total of 35 to 55 minutes.”

These two moves are great tummy toners and they require no equipment. Try them during your next core workout for enhanced abdominal definition.

[highlight color=”black”]Plank[/highlight]

Target Muscles: transverse abdominis

Set Up: Lie in prone (facedown) position, with your weight supported on your forearms.

Action: Lift your body up onto your toes, contract your abs and try to keep your body in line; don’t sag in the midsection. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. To increase intensity, walk your elbows slightly forward and hold a little longer. Rest for one minute when you are through, and repeat up to three times.

[highlight color=”black”]Scissor[/highlight]

Target Muscles: rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, obliques

Set up: Lie on your back on a mat with your arms extended by your sides or tuck your hands beneath your lower back [A].

Action: Lift your feet off the floor and slowly open your legs [B], then cross your right ankle over the left; open and cross in the other direction for one rep. Do three sets of 20 reps on both sides or until failure.