4 Weeks to Gorgeous Abs
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Fitness

4 Weeks to Gorgeous Abs

Follow this 4-week workout plan for a slim, toned tummy.

Your Great-Abs Plan

How it works: For jaw-dropping results, you need to think outside the box. "Exercises that work every angle of your core not only give you incredible abs, they also improve your posture and reduce your risk of injury," says trainer Jeremy Cheung, owner of Twisted Twilight Personal Training in San Francisco, who put together our routine. To keep challenging your body (the key to results!), choose one move from each zone, doing an abs circuit of one exercise for your transversus abdominis, your rectus abdominis, your obliques, and your lower back, hips (Iliopsoas), and glutes.

Follow our 4-Week Plan on the following pages to structure your workouts: You'll do abs at least three times a week and follow our cardio, strength-training, and nutrition recommendations.

What you'll need: A stability ball, a pair of 2- to 5-pound dumbbells, and a mat.

 

Week 1

Use your Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) to gauge your cardio intensity. Light = 4-6 RPE (walking, riding a stationary bike). Moderate = 5-7 RPE (jogging, swimming laps, cycling 12 to 16 mph). High = 7-9 RPE (jumping rope, sprinting, hiking).

Monday

Cardio (moderate; 30 min.)

Abs circuit (1 set)

Tuesday

Cardio (moderate; 20 min.)

Total-body strength (20 min.)

Wednesday

Cardio (high-intensity; 5 min.)

Abs circuit (2 sets)

Thursday

OFF

Friday

Cardio (moderate; 20 min.)

Total-body strength (20 min.)

Saturday

Abs circuit (2 sets)

Sunday

OFF

 

Week 2

Monday

Cardio (moderate; 30 min.)

Total-body strength (15 min.)

Tuesday

Cardio (high-intensity; 20 min.)

Abs circuit (2 sets)

Wednesday

Cardio (moderate; 30 min.)

Total-body strength (20 min.)

Thursday

Cardio (high-intensity; 15 min.)

Abs circuit (2 sets)

Friday

Cardio (moderate; 30 min.)

Total-body strength (15 min.)

Saturday

Cardio (light; 45 min.)

Abs circuit (2 sets)

Sunday

OFF

 

Week 3

Monday

Cardio (high-intensity; 20 min.)

Total-body strength (15 min.)

Abs circuit (2 sets)

Tuesday

Cardio (moderate; 30 min.)

Abs circuit (2 sets)

Wednesday

Cardio (high-intensity; 15 min.)

Total-body strength (20 min.)

Thursday

Cardio (moderate; 30 min.)

Abs circuit (2 sets)

Friday

Cardio (high-intensity; 20 min)

Total-body strength (15 min.)

Abs circuit (2 sets)

Saturday

Cardio (light; 45 min.)

Sunday

OFF

 

Week 4

Monday

Cardio (high-intensity; 15 min.)

Upper-body strength (20 min.)

Abs circuit (3 sets)

Tuesday

Cardio (moderate; 30 min.)

Lower-body strength (20 min.)

Wednesday

Cardio (moderate; 30 min.)

Abs circuit (3 sets)

Thursday

Cardio (high-intensity; 15 min.)

Upper-body strength (20 min.)

Friday

Cardio (moderate; 30 min.)

Lower-body strength (15 min.)

Abs circuit (1 set)

Saturday

Cardio (moderate/high-intensity; 1 hour)

Abs circuit (3 sets)

Sunday

OFF

 

Your Abs Explained

Transversus Abdominus

The deepest layer of abdominal muscle, it's key to stabilizing your trunk and core. "When you sit for long periods of time, the transversus keeps you from slouching over," says trainer Jeremy Cheung. Strengthen this muscle to help improve your posture.

Rectus Abdominus

Otherwise known as the "six-pack" muscle, its primary function is to bend your spine forward. "Weakness here can cause chronic pelvic instability and lower-back pain," says Cheung.

Obliques

These muscles run on a diagonal up the sides of your midsection, from your pelvis to the bottom of your rib cage. "Life is full of twisting movements, and strengthening your obliques helps support your spine during any type of rotation," explains Cheung.

Iliopsoas

Working these hip-flexor muscles, as well as your lower back and glutes, helps stabilize and support your abs as they work, says Cheung.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July 2008.

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