6 Steps to Upgrade Your Ab Workout

Bikini pro and Olympia and Arnold champion Ashley Kaltwasser shares her favorite tricks to achieve a head-turning midsection.

Photo: Getty Images / Icon Sportswire

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Have you heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen”? I find this to be 100 percent accurate. Diet plays a major role in unveiling abdominal definition. But if you don’t develop solid muscle in this region of your body, you won’t have as much to show for your healthy eating choices.

Abs come in all shapes and sizes, with genetics playing a big role in their exact form. Some are wide, while some are narrow. Some are symmetrical, while others are “crooked.” These specific traits cannot be changed, but you can work with what ya got! You may naturally have a little extra flesh in the middle, but you shouldn’t lose hope. You may just have to work a little harder if your goal is ab definition. Hey, we all have our strengths, weaknesses and unique beauty!

I try to work my abs twice a week. They can be trained in a short amount of time if you work them out efficiently. There are many bodyweight exercises that can be performed almost anywhere that can engage your core effectively.

Here are some of my top tips for tighter abs.

1. Add HIIT Training for Extra Calorie Burning

Why not end your ab training session with a high-intensity interval training fat blast to speed up the process of getting those beautiful abs?

2. Add Weight to Standard Ab Exercises

Keep in mind that traditional ab exercises such as regular/reverse crunches, V-ups, bicycles and even planks can be taken a step further by adding either plates or ankle weights to your usual regimen. For some movements, you also can try using a resistance band.

3. Give Your Abs Enough Time to Recover

Like any other muscle, be sure that you are giving your abs the rest they need after training. For example, I train my abs on Monday and again on Thursday. I don’t do back-to-back ab sessions because I want to make sure they have fully recovered. Remember, your muscles grow while resting.

4. Use Your Mind-Muscle Connection

Think of the muscles that you are engaging. Don’t just go through the motions. Stay focused.

5. Don’t Forget About Your Lower Abs

Lower abs can be harder to target and are oftentimes forgotten. Try movements such as reverse crunches, hanging leg raises and the Roman chair.

6. Diet, Diet, Diet

At the end of the day, to burn fat, you must burn more calories than you’re taking in. Make sure to drink plenty of water, too!

My Favorite Ab Workout

  • Hold a 90-degree “L” on the Roman chair for one minute.
  • Do 30 reverse crunches using ankle weights.
  • Do 20 Roman twists (each side), using ankle weights.
  • Do one-minute flutter kicks on the Roman chair.
  • Do 10 V-hold-ups using ankle weights and/or small plates.

Repeat the workout three times.

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