The answer is simple...crunches aren't all they're cracked up to be because they only target the rectus abdominus muscle and hip flexors, and do not include the back and other muscles responsible for creating a strong central area.
You need a varied, full body workout and a healthy diet to really tackle a bulging belly.
Not convinced? Try these Pilates and yoga inspired moves that focus on core strength, stability, and giving your deeper muscles a workout ....
Flat stomach exercises
The mountain climber
Start on all fours, with your hands shoulder width apart and knees hip distance apart. Extend your left leg and right arm out, hold for four seconds, exhale as you extend the arm and leg, and then pull in the abdominals. Now, pull your elbow and knee towards the navel, rounding the back and pulling in your abs. Repeat four to eight times on each side.
The downward dog
Get on all fours again, with your hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip-distance apart. Now, lift your knees off the floor and straighten the legs, making sure you press the heels down. Bend the knees and then return the knees towards the mat, but keep them about one inch off the ground. Repeat the exercise four to eight times.
Start on all fours with your weight resting on your forearms. Extend one leg back to rest on the ball of the foot and hold it while you extend the other leg to join it. You should now be in what looks like a full 'push-up' position. Hold this position, keeping the shoulders and buttocks in line like a table top.
The running plank
Start in the classic plank. Then push up so your arms are straight. In turn bring your left knee up towards your right shoulder, and then return to start. Now bring right knee up to left shoulder. Do ten on each side.
The cycle crunch
Lying on your back with your knees bent, place your hands behind your head to support the neck. Lift and lower the upper torso while keeping one foot raised two inches off the floor. Keep your focus towards the top of your knees and exhale on the upward movement. Repeat eight to ten times then change the legs and perform another set.
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