So you want abs like Brad Pitt's in Fight Club, huh? Not a bad idea. After all, flat abs not only help you look better in a bathing suit, they also confer many health benefits. Strong abs:

  • Help improve your posture

  • Prevent you from injuring your back when lifting heavy objects

  • Lower your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes (because you have less body fat)

  • Protect you during your athletic activities (just ask Derek Jeter of the NY Yankees, who has been sidelined more than once for a strained abdominal muscle).

Having a tight stomach is partially determined by genetics. It is just a cruel fact of nature that not all human beings are blessed with a body type like Sylvester Stallone or Cindy Crawford. Nevertheless, if you persistently follow an abdominal-building routine, you may be in contention to win the newly instituted Nobel Prize for 'Most Ripped Abs.' (Really. Check this article out.)

We will warn you, though. It's not just about crunches, or diets, or exercise, or reading intriguing SYWs (as fun as those things can be). It's really about committing yourself to a program and sticking to it.

If you are even finding committing to reading this article tough, we've provided a quick overview of tummy-flattening ideas in a how-to video.