Workout Routines

The Two-Part Plan to Get Ripped Abs in 4 Weeks

You can get a solid six-pack inside of a month if you follow this two-part plan to the letter.

David Sandler, MS, CSCSD thumbnail by MS, CSCS*D
The Two-Part Plan to Get Ripped Abs in 4 Weeks
milan2099 / Getty
milan2099 / Getty
Duration 28 Days
Equipment Yes

Look, getting abs ain’t rocket science, and it’s easier for most guys than getting big or putting pounds on their bench press. You have to eat right, and you have to lift weights. That’s it. Commit to being consistent with the following program—which outlines exactly how to go from “fat gut” to “lookin’ cut”—and you’ll have abs to celebrate before summer comes to a close.

Step 1: Fix Your Diet

No amount of ab training or cardio or fat-burning supplements will reveal your abs if you’re eating too much food or eating the wrong proportions of macro­nutrients. Start by multiplying your body weight in pounds by 12 to find the number of calories you should consume daily. You should take in 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight, 1 gram of carbohydrates per pound, and 0.4 grams of fat per pound. Follow the guidelines in the Muscle & Fitness Food Pyramid for the particulars on setting up a fat-loss diet, including which foods to eat.

It may be tempting to remove carbohydrates altogether, as much has been written about the effectiveness of low-carb diets. But cutting carbs too much and too soon can send your energy levels into the tank and can cost you the muscle you need to keep your metabolism burning bright. 

Step 2: Train Like a Bodybuilder

You’ve probably tried a CrossFit class and have been led to believe that your workouts must be “functional.” And you may have no interest in ever competing in a bodybuilding contest. (It’s the skimpy underwear, isn’t it?) But put these hang-ups aside for the next month, and understand that snatches and box jumps won’t give you the beach-ready physique you crave. Moves like the bench press and crunch aren’t flashy, but they will build muscle and give you the shape and definition that make the body impressive—in and out of a shirt. Focus on the basic lifts, body part by body part, and avoid the temptation to break WOD PRs for a bit.

Concentrate on how you perform each rep, too. For maximum muscle gain, slow and steady wins the race. Using a full range of motion for 12 situp reps will produce deeper ab cuts than repping out 50 fast, sloppy ones. Take at least four seconds to perform each rep on your ab exercises. You’ll train abs directly three days per week, followed by interval cardio activity to burn excess fat.

The Fast-Abs Training Plan

Perform each workout (Day 1 through Day 6) once per week. Rest on Day 7. Repeat for 4 weeks.

Day 1: Legs, Abs, Cardio

Exercise 1

Front Squat You'll need: Barbell How to
Front Squat thumbnail
4 sets
8 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 2

Romanian Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
Romanian Deadlift thumbnail
4 sets
10 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 3

Decline Weighted Situp You'll need: Weight Plates How to
exercise image placeholder
4 sets
12 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 4

Rope Crunch You'll need: Cable Machine, Rope Attachment How to
Rope Crunch thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 5

Hanging Leg Raise You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Hanging Leg Raise thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 6

Sprint
4 Tips to Fast-tracking Your Fitness Gains thumbnail
15 sets
Sprint 15–20 sec., walk 60–90 sec. reps
None rest

Day 2: Chest

Exercise 1

Wide-Grip Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench, Barbell How to
Wide-Grip Barbell Bench Press thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 2

Incline Dumbbell Flye You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Flye thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 3

Cable Crossover You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment How to
Cable Crossover thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 4

Machine Pec Flye
exercise image placeholder
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 5

Dumbbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Bench Press thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Day 3: Abs, Cardio

Exercise 1

Rope Crunch You'll need: Cable Machine, Rope Attachment How to
Rope Crunch thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 2

Decline Weighted Situp You'll need: Weight Plates How to
exercise image placeholder
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 3

V-Up You'll need: No Equipment How to
V-Up thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
60 sec rest

Exercise 4

RKC Plank
exercise image placeholder
4 sets
Hold 60 Sec reps
-- rest

Exercise 5

Bent-Knee Hip Raise
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
12 reps
60 sec rest

Exercise 6

Sprint
4 Tips to Fast-tracking Your Fitness Gains thumbnail
-- sets
Sprint 15-20 sec reps
Walk 60-90 sec. rest
*Perform 20 sets

Day 4: Back

Exercise 1

Wide-Grip Pullup You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Wide-Grip Pullup thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 2

One-arm Dumbbell Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
One-arm Dumbbell Row thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
60 sec rest

Exercise 3

Reverse-Grip Pulldown You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Straight Bar Attachment How to
Reverse-Grip Pulldown thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 4

Straight-Arm Pulldown You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Lat Pulldown Bar, Straight Bar Attachment How to
Straight-Arm Pulldown thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 5

Dumbbell Shrug You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Shrug thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
90 sec rest

Day 5: Abs, Cardio

Exercise 1

Rope Crunch You'll need: Cable Machine, Rope Attachment How to
Rope Crunch thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 2

Decline Weighted Situp You'll need: Weight Plates How to
exercise image placeholder
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 3

Hanging Leg Raise You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Hanging Leg Raise thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 4

Medicine Ball Rotation Situp
exercise image placeholder
4 sets
12 reps
60 sec rest

Exercise 5

Plank Pikes You'll need: No Equipment How to
Plank Pikes thumbnail
3 sets
Hold for 75 sec reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 6

Sprint
4 Tips to Fast-tracking Your Fitness Gains thumbnail
-- sets
Sprint 15-20 sec. reps
Walk 60-90 sec. rest
Perform 25 sets

Day 6: Arms, Shoulders

Exercise 1

Triceps Extension How to
Triceps Extension thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 2

Skull Crusher You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Skull Crusher thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 3

Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
60 sec rest

Exercise 4

Barbell Biceps Curl You'll need: Barbell How to
bicep curl thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 5

Barbell Preacher Curl
exercise image placeholder
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 6

Dumbbell Lateral Raise You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Lateral Raise thumbnail
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest

Exercise 7

Dumbbell Rear Delt Raise
exercise image placeholder
4 sets
12 reps
75 sec rest
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