Q: What are some abdominal exercises that I can do to get more definition in my abs? I do crunches, Russian twists and planks now, but I just don’t get sore so I’m wondering if those exercises are working.

A: Both of those exercises are better than doing nothing. However, neither are highly effective abdominal exercises. The function of the abdominal muscles are generally to tilt or lift the pelvis toward the ribcage.

Exercises like the Reverse Crunch, which is performed by lying on a bench holding on to the bench above your head. Extend your legs so they are both six inches above parallel to the floor. Bend your legs and move your knees toward your chest lifting your glutes slightly off the bench and then returning your legs to an extended position. Knee lifts done by hanging from “ab slings” work well.

The Dumbbell Bicycle Crunch works extremely well. Windshield wipers are excellent for your core and rotation. The Incline Side Crunch is effective for the obliques and intercostal muscles that sit between your hips and ribcage. Rotate these around and do them at the beginning of your workout. Delegating them to the end of a workout usually means you’re too tired to do them intensely enough to make a difference.

A couple of other points, though, about being able to see your abs. You can’t really reduce body fat in a specific area by doing more exercises for that area even if you’re working hard enough to get sore. You can’t see your abs if they are covered by body fat. Clean up your diet and include cardio in your routine. God bless and keep training.

Daryl Laws is a certified personal trainer and owner of Body Unlimited Inc., 325 Holly Hill Lane, Burlington, NC 27215. Contact him at 336-538-0012 or daryllaws@aol.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BodyUnlimited.