8 Weeks to Super Abs

Two training programs for developing chiseled abdominals.

8 Weeks to Super Abs

I swear by two different abdominal workouts. Each one will work — as long as your diet is on track every step of the way.

My plan as a competitive bodybuilder in the 1980s and early ’90s was to constantly keep on top of my abdominal development. Being unable to see my abs — even in the offseason — would make me very concerned.

The only way to see your abs year-round is to monitor your nutrition carefully. Never allow more than 15% of daily calories to come from fat-based food sources.

There’s no need, though, to starve yourself or to do eight million abdominal exercises. Do three effective movements at least every other day, alternating between workouts one and two before or after a bodypart training session. Why overtrain? Stay focused on success with my time-tested approach.


Incline Situps:  This basic exercise targets the rectus abdominis (the muscle running from your rib cage to your pelvis). Lie back on an  incline board, secure your feet under the pads and crunch up about halfway, squeezing your rib cage and pelvis together and flexing your abs. Move slowly. Rely on your abdominal strength — not momentum — to complete each  rep. Focus on the squeeze, isolate the muscle and build a sharp set of abs without screwing up your back.

Do four sets of 15-20 reps with strict form.

Vertical Leg Raises:  This is a modification of standard hanging leg raises. Grasp the handles of a leg-raise station and rest your elbows on the pads. Hang straight down and lift your legs without bending your knees — don’t swing your legs via momentum. “Crunch” your abs at the top, when your legs are horizontal to the floor — this crunching movement puts both upper and lower abs into play.

Do three sets of 15-20 reps.

Seated Leg Raises: This exercise is also known as jackknife situps. Sit at the edge of a bench. Extend your legs, then bend your knees and pull your upper thighs in toward your chest. Exhale during the contraction and inhale during the stretch.

Do three sets of 10-15 reps.


The first two exercises are incline situps and vertical leg raises, as in workout one. Use the same set and rep scheme.

Standing Cable Crunches: Perform this exercise in place of seated leg raises. Attach a rope handle to a pulley and lean forward. Grasp it with both hands so that your arms are stretched out in front of your body. Bend forward, pulling the handles down and crunching your rib cage and pelvis together. Pause at the bottom, then return to the top for a stretch.

Do four sets of 15-20 reps to conclude the workout.


Workout One

  • Incline Situps | SETS: 4 REPS: 15-20
  • Vertical Leg Raises | SETS: 3 REPS: 15-20
  • Seated Leg Raises | SETS: 3 REPS: 10-15

Workout Two

  • Incline Situps | SETS: 4 | REPS: 15-20
  • Vertical Leg Raises | SETS: 3 REPS: 15-20
  • Standing Cable Crunches | SETS: 4 REPS: 15-20

Note: Perform this regimen every other day, alternating between the two workouts.

That’s it for my ab routine. Remember that it’s impossible to burn fat through abdominal exercises alone — spot reduction is a myth! The only way to shed the spare tire around your waist is through a low-fat diet and 30 minutes of cardio three or four times per week. After eight solid weeks on this program, you’ll have serious abs that will make a serious statement  about your physique. – FLEX


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