If you want to know what it takes to look like a fitness model, just ask one. Chris Ryan, 35, isn’t only a top-flight model who’s graced our pages many times in the past, he’s also one of New York City’s leading personal trainers (check out his site at chrisryanfitness.com), and a walking encyclopedia of ab-training tips. Ryan offers up his own favorite workout for getting six-pack abs here and shows you how to do it.
HOW IT WORKS:
“This workout rocks,” says Ryan, explaining that you “can’t just work your six-pack muscle, the rectus abdominis,” which crunches mainly target.
“Each movement in this routine works your whole core, from hard-to-reach areas like the obliques and transversus abdominis [deep core muscles] to the much neglected muscles on your backside, which are also part of the core.” The posterior muscles—glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, in particular—“also need to be strong to counterbalance your front muscles, both for safety and to have that overall tight midsection look,” he says.
Get ready for some very challenging plank variations and other moves inspired by gymnastics and CrossFit.
Hey, no one said getting magazine-worthy abs would be easy, but at least now you’ll know how. Try this workout and stick to a good meal plan; you should see results within a month.
Perform the exercises as a circuit. So you’ll do one set for each move, resting in between, and repeat until you’ve done four total sets for all the exercises. You can repeat the workout three to four times per week. “Another option is to take two or three of the exercises and add them at the end of workouts you’re already doing,” says Ryan. “Just make sure to get through at least two cycles of all seven exercises each week to see the results you want.”
Set two benches or boxes of equal height far enough apart that your feet are supported on one side and your shoulders can rest on the other. Lie back on the boxes and make your body rigid and straight. Point your toes and reach your arms overhead. Keep your core braced and hold.
Loop a thick resistance band around the back of your neck and stand on the other end with feet shoulder width. Bend your hips back and lower your torso until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Don’t lose the arch in your lower back.
Lie on your back on the floor and reach your arms overhead while extending your legs in front of you. Point your toes and pull your ankles together so they touch. Engage your abs so your belly hollows and your lower back rounds a bit. Lift your legs off the floor while you raise your shoulders at the same time. Now rock yourself back and forth; maintain the hollow-body position.
Lie on the floor with arms extended overhead and legs straight in front of you. Tuck your chin to your chest and raise your upper body off the floor while you raise your legs. Your body should form a V shape in the top position. Slowly lower your torso and arms before you begin the next rep.
Set up as you did for the V-up, but hold a weight plate with both hands overhead. (It should be parallel with the floor in the down position). Now use your back muscles to pull the weight over your chest while you raise your legs up and toward your face, stopping just short of your arms. Lower your arms and legs back down, stopping a few inches short of the floor.