Believe it or not, if you want a ripped midsection, training your abs directly should be last on your list of priorities.

The first step is cleaning up your diet. The second should be this program, which focuses on training the biggest muscles in your body to burn the most calories (thereby shedding the fat that covers your abs). In six weeks, you’ll already be revealing some of the definition you may have buried beneath a layer of lazy belly fat. And you’ll be shocked at how few abs exercises it took to get there.

How it works

This program comes in two parts. You’ll do one phase of workouts for three weeks and then another three-week phase with different workouts.

The first part has no direct ab training at all, just circuits of tough, big-muscle exercises like squats and presses that rev up your

In the second phase, once your body-fat levels are down enough to reveal some ab definition, we’ll target the six-pack with a hanging leg raise and weighted crunch variations, two of the most effective moves for adding dense ab muscle that pops through the skin.

Directions

Alternate each workout (Day 1 and Day 2) for three total sessions per week, resting a day between each. So you can do Day 1 on Monday, Day 2 on Wednesday, and Day 1 again on Friday in the first week. (You’ll do Day 2’s workout twice the second week and repeat the cycle.)

The first three weeks make up Phase 1. After the third week, switch to the workouts in Phase 2, which are done in the same pattern. Exercises marked “A,” “B,” and “C” are done in sequence. Perform one set of each, and then rest after C. Repeat for the prescribed number of sets. Note that in Phase II, the ab exercises are A and B (not C), so rest after B.