We all come from a long line of crunch-happy abs trainers—descendants who have taken the path of least resistance by performing a few perfunctory sets of this common exercise after tougher workouts. But if you want to carve out a shredded six-pack, you’ll have to do better than that. 

It’s time for us to construct a lineage that’s more determined and more devout when it comes to developing magazine cover-worthy abs. To do that, we’ll first have to evaluate some fundamental truths.

Click through for four tips to live by if you want to sculpt an enviable set of abs.