There is no secret sauce.
If you want a six-pack this summer, you’ve gotta put in the work at the gym and put down the fast food. Period. But there are ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout.
First, understand that your abdominal muscles are just that—muscles. Doing a thousand crunches is going to be as effective for building up your abs as doing a thousand curls with 5-lb. dumbbells.You want exercises with three to five sets and less than 15 reps per set. Here are a few moves to get you on your way to ripped.
1. Hanging Leg Raises
Equipment: Pull-up bar or equivalent
Sets x Reps: 3-4 x 6-8
Tip: Go slow and think about pulling the bar to your feet versus throwing your feet toward the bar.
- Start from a hanging position, arms and legs fully extended
- Slowly, raise your feet up to the bar, keeping your legs straight
- Lower your feet (yes, slowly) until you return to the starting position
2. Mountain Climbers
Sets x Reps: 3-4 x 12-15
Tip: Focus on contracting your abs with each movement and check out the many variations—all are great for melting fat around the midsection and working your core.
- Start in a standard pushup position, arms shoulder-width apart and fully extended
- Bring your left knee up toward your left elbow and as you return it to starting position, bring your right knee up toward your right elbow
- Continue alternating until you’ve completed 10 reps on each side
3. Kneeling Paloff Press
Equipment: Cable machine
Sets x Reps: 3-4 x 10-12
Tip: It's important to keep your back straight and shoulders down in order to receive the full core-strengthening benefit.
- Set a cable handle to chest height in a kneeling position
- Face 90 degrees from the cable and pull the handle to your chest with both hands (make sure the cable is taut in this position) - Push the cable straight in front of you and hold extended for about five seconds
You’ll notice a common theme here—all of these exercises go beyond the abs and target your core. That’s the key to bringing your abs out and your waistline in. You won't get a six-pack overnight, but by committing to this regimen, you will begin to see more tone in your mid-section. So grab your gym bag, stocked with Jack Black-approved must-haves, and get to work. Summer's not going to wait forever.