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Eyes on the Prize

Go heavy and go over | Two of the best ways to build your abs are hopefully already second nature to you. Lifting heavy weights on any exercise forces your core to contract hard to keep your spine safe-so you're getting an automatic ab workout every time you go after a big lift. Also, core activation is even greater in any exercise that's done overhead, so shoulder presses (especially done standing) are an ab workout in and of themselves. Want to fire up the abs even more? Actively squeeze them throughout your sets. Picture yourself wringing all the fat out of your abdomen with every squeeze-the end result will be the same.

Burn calories | More than any other strategy, this is the one that is most responsible for revealing the tight abdominal wall beneath your layer of chub. To burn the most calories, you must work the greatest possible number of muscles. For a multiplied calorie-burning effect, try combining various exercises, such as lunges with an overhead press, or Romanian deadlifts with a bentover row.

Work your abs in reverse | You already know how to crunch, but reverse that motion by bringing your torso away from your body and you'll open up an entirely new avenue for growth. Try the reverse woodchop. Grab a medicine ball and stand with your feet at shoulder width, staggered heel to toe. Reach down with the ball to the front of your back knee (as if you'd just finished chopping into a log), and then quickly extend up and back to the opposite side, as if you were throwing the ball over your shoulder. Perform three sets of eight reps on both sides, resting 90 seconds between sets.


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