Why is this abs workout different from any other? Simple: This eight-week program has been carefully selected to work your entire midsection, hitting your abs from every angle, three times a week. The abs, while actually one muscle, really function as three different sections (upper, lower, and obliques). There’s also an area that lies beneath the upper and lower abs, normally referred to as the core. Paired with our belly-flattening menu, this is a surefire plan that will help you blast through that unwanted tummy flab and boast abs that are leaner, sharper, and more defined than you ever thought possible.
THE TRAINING PLAN OVERVIEW
Dial in Your Training
You’ll continue with your regular weight-training routine and use the workouts detailed below to zero in on your abs three times a week, resting at least two days between sessions.
Angle Your Attack
Each two-week phase includes abs workouts consisting of four different exercises, all of which challenge four different areas of your midsection (one upper, lower, oblique, and core movement) to get your abs popping from every angle.
Carve with Cardio
Weeks 1–4, you’ll perform 30 minutes of cardio 4–5 days a week, working at 60–70% of your max heart rate (MHR). Then, Weeks 5–8, you’ll increase your cardio to 45 minutes for 5–6 days a week, working at 70–75% of your MHR. Do cardio workouts after your abs routine.
Works: Upper Abs
- Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent, and your feet and lower back on the floor.
- Grasp the ends of a dumbbell in both hands with your arms extended toward the ceiling.
- Crunch up contracting your abs to lift your shoulder blades off the floor while keeping your arms straight.
- Pause, momentarily holding the contraction at the top of the movement before lowering back to start.
Reverse Oblique Crunch
Works: Lower Abs, Obliques
- Lie faceup on the floor with your hands by your sides, feet up and together, thighs perpendicular to the floor.
- Contract your lower abs to roll your pelvis upward and raise your hips off the floor.
- As you pull your legs in, twist your torso and angle both knees toward your right shoulder.
- Slowly return to start, then repeat, twisting legs to the left side.
Exercise Ball Side Crunch
- Lie with your upper back on an exercise ball, feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your knees bent 90 degrees and lightly place your left hand behind the left side of your head.
- Slowly crunch your upper body toward your right hip, squeezing at the top for one count before returning to the start position.
- Complete all reps for one side, then switch sides.
- Lie facedown on the floor. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and curl your toes under you, resting your weight on your forearms and toes. Your body should form a straight line from the top of your head to your heels.
- As you keep your back straight and pull your abs in tight, hold plank for 30 seconds.
- Relax, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat.
Exercise Ball Lying Cable Crunch
Works: Upper Abs
Hanging Leg Raise
Works: Lower Abs
- Grasp a pullup bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip, arms fully extended and legs hanging straight down toward the floor.
- Keeping your legs straight, bring them up in front of you until your legs are just above parallel to the floor.
- Pause at the top of the movement for a moment, then reverse the motion, slowly lowering your legs back to start.
Medicine Ball Stand-Up
Works: Upper & Lower Abs
- Lie faceup with your knees bent and your feet and lower back flat on the floor.
- Hold a medicine ball with arms extended toward the ceiling.
- Contract your abs to curl up explosively, bringing your shoulders and upper back off the floor. Push through your heels to stand up fully.
- Slowly lower back to start.
Medicine Ball Windshield Wiper
- Lie faceup with feet and lower back on the floor. Place a medicine ball between your feet. Extend your arms out to the sides in a T position. Lift both legs perpendicular to the floor.
- In a slow and controlled manner, rotate your hips so that your legs move from left to right, in a “windshield wiper” motion.
- Lie faceup on the floor, arms extended toward the wall behind you and your legs straight.
- Engage your core and raise your shoulders and legs about six inches off the floor.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then keeping your arms and legs raised off the floor, roll over onto your stomach.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
Works: Upper Abs
- Hook a rope attachment to a high-pulley cable and grasp the handles, holding them near the sides of your head.
- Get on your knees and tilt forward at your hips 30–45 degrees, keeping your thighs perpendicular to the floor.
- With your head neutral and upper body rigid, contract your abs, bringing your face toward the floor.
- Stop just short of the floor, squeeze abs momentarily, then slowly return to start.
Exercise Ball Pike
Works: Lower Abs
- Get into a pushup position, hands shoulder-width apart on floor, legs extended behind you with feet on ball.
- Keeping your legs straight, bend your hips and try to pull your feet toward your chest, rolling ball forward.
- Pause, then slowly return to start position.
Exercise Ball Plank Hold
- Place your forearms on an exercise ball and extend your legs behind you, with your balls of your feet on floor.
- Keep your abs contracted and your back straight, with your body forming a straight line from head to toe.
- Hold position for 30 seconds, rest, and repeat.
Twisting Medicine Ball Toss
Works: Upper Abs, Obliques
- Sit on the floor with your left side a few feet from a wall, holding a medicine ball with both hands in front of your chest, knees bent, and feet on the floor.
- Turn your torso to the left and throw the ball against the wall. Catch it in both hands and twist your body to the right, slowly lowering your torso toward the floor as you go.
- Allow the ball to touch the floor briefly, then toss ball across your body toward the wall again.
- Repeat for reps, then switch sides.