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Abdominal Exercises
Double Cable Rotations For Superior Abs
Prone Swiss Ball Rolls For Developing Strong Core Muscles
5 Sandbag Exercises For Rock Hard Abs
Trunk Twists With A Twist - Tighten Your Love Handles Now!
Bench Press Leg Raise Crunches For Lower Abs
Crunch Pulldowns For a Great Six-Pack
Two Exercises With a Twist For Rock-Hard Obliques and Explosive Core Power
Seated Les Raises - A New Approach To An Old Favorite
2 Dumbbell Swings For a "Steel Corset" Core
The Best Ab Exercise You Never Heard Of

Ab & Core Workouts
The New Method For Six Pack Abs
Build 3-Dimensional Abs In 2010
The Effectiveness Of Sand Bag Training For Abdominals
How To Get 6 Pack Abs & Lose Stomach Fat
Workout Complexes For Hardness & Conditioning
Old School Workouts To Develop Granite Hard Abdominals
The 3 Best Abdominal Exercises that Are Not Abdominal Exercises!
2 Challenging Exercises For Powerful Rock Hard Abs
How To Get Six Pack Abs Using Neglected Cable Exercises
Attack Your Abs With These Underground Power Moves
Killer Abs At Home In 12 Minutes

Recent Ab Training Articles
3 Unique Abdominal Exercises That Work Like Magic
Lose Ab Fat With 3 Non-Traditional Ab Exercises
The Top 55 Foods For Rock Hard Six Pack Abs
The Rise of SandBag Training
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The Ultimate Secrets to a Flat Stomach and Six Pack Abs
Can You Really Lose More By Exercising Less?
Three Unusual Secrets For Awesome Abs
Super Sexy Swimsuit Six-Pack In 12 Weeks
The Best Exercises For Your Lower Abs Revealed
Bulletproof Your Abs And Injury Proof Your Back
The Truth And Secrets Of Getting Ripped Abs
Abdominal Fat Dangers
Abs Without Effort
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Punch Proof Abdominals: How To Get Abs Like A Pro Boxer
The 7 Sins Of Baseball Specific Core Training
The 2 Major Keys To Golf Conditioning Success
Core Training For Martial Arts: Abs Like Bruce Lee!

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Ask the Ab Guru
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Powerful Exercises For A Strong Core
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The Truth About Ab Machines
Core Training: Legit or Just The Latest Fad?

Ask the Fat Loss Guru
Concurrent Muscle Gain & Fat Loss: Is It Possible?
The Amazing Abdominals Mistake
Foods That Burn Body Fat
How to lose loose skin after weight loss
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The Truth And Secrets Of Getting Ripped Abs
By Craig Ballantyne, MS, CSCS

Ripped Abs!There is no shortage of ab training programs on the Internet or in magazines. And the truth is, people will succeed (and fail) with all sorts of abdominal training programs, good and bad. You’ve probably seen great abs on people who train their abs for 30 minutes every day and washboard stomachs on other people who have never done a single sit-up in their life. The bottom line is that great abs are not limited to people that perform hundreds of crunches each day – you can get ripped abs too!

The most important factor in developing eye-catching abdominal muscles is having a low body fat percentage, plain and simple. If you want to show off your abs at the beach, you have to get lean. In fact, if you did nothing else but lower your body fat levels through nutrition and proper training, then you’d be 90% of the way to having ripped abs. Focusing on ab training workouts is just the icing on the cake. And that’s why we’re going to talk about nutrition and interval (cardio) training first, before we get into the sets and reps for the ab training program.

To have abs that are certified in ripped-ness, you need to get your body fat below 10% (in the teens if you are female). To assist you with this goal, it’s important to monitor your body fat on a consistent basis to make sure that you are heading in the right direction. So if you can, have your body fat tested every 3-4 weeks by a highly-skilled professional under the same conditions each time (i.e. before a workout, at the same time of day, on the same day of the week, and after eating the same meal each time).

You’d be surprised how small fluctuations in these simple variables can influence the outcome of body fat tests. Getting the body fat testing done will help you evaluate your progress, your program, and your potential, so that you can alter your training and nutrition as you make your way to the best beach body you’ve ever had.

How to Prepare Your Weekly Nutrition Plan

Nutrition is the most important factor in a fat loss program. That’s tough for me, a training expert, to admit. But you could be using the best workout in the world, and you won’t lose fat if you are eating according to the “Supersize Me” diet.

If your current nutritional plan is preventing you from losing fat, then it's time for you to start working on building better eating habits. This can be as simple as committing to one small nutritional improvement per day (such as replacing your lunchtime soda with water) and one large change per week (such as setting aside time on a Sunday to shop and prepare for your weekly meals). Once you have established good nutrition habits, you'll find yourself making better choices on a daily basis, but you have to work on consistent improvement. If you mess up, don’t worry about it, just get right back to eating right.

You need to have a plan to make your nutrition work, just like you need a plan to make your training work. You should outline a weekly eating schedule, including the contents of every meal, as well as your grocery and supplement list for the week. This will enable you to have meal alternatives for nights when you might be running from one event to the other with no time to prepare a perfect lean protein meal. It will also help you plan lean protein snacks for when you are on the road between meetings.

It's important that you make your plan something you can follow. If you are currently eating 7 meals per week at the Golden Arches, it isn't realistic to plan to replace each of those meals with carrot sticks and protein shakes. A better plan would be to substitute a couple of those meals with healthier, lean protein options and then work on improving your eating plan a little at a time over the following weeks.

So here's my three-step guideline for building a better nutrition plan:

1. Prepare a weekly menu. Outline each meal and snack for every day of the upcoming week. Take into account the possibilities that you might work late or get invited out to lunch. The more options you have and the more preparations you make, the better you will be able to stick to your fat loss plan.

2. From your menu plan, make your grocery list and stick to it. Grocery shopping is your first opportunity to break some bad nutritional habits. You can't eat chips, cookies, or cakes if you don't have them in the house – so don't buy them and you'll avoid any future temptation. 

3. Prepare the meals or prepare the ingredients so that making the actual meal doesn't take a lot of time. Like shopping, it's best to do all of these preparations at one time (such as on a Sunday or another day off).

Ab Training

Here’s a secret that you’ll love…The more muscle you have, the better the odds you have of getting your abs to show through, even if your body fat is up at 15%. A male bodybuilder with loads of muscle might be able to get away with a “4-pack” at that level.

To get ripped abs, you have to build muscle and lose fat. Fortunately, the training methods for lowering your body fat are simple. The #1 principle is that you have to work hard at lifting and doing some type of cardio. For those that are just joining us in the world of training, I want to remind you that you can’t spot reduce. That should be something that everyone knows, but you still see experienced bodybuilders using high-rep ab training hoping that will help them get 6-pack abs. Unfortunately, high-rep ab training doesn’t work on its own. You need to do the real work (lifting, interval cardio, and proper nutrition) to get your body fat low enough in order for any ab work to be effective.

The best way to sculpt abs is not with endless sets of hundreds of abdominal curl-ups. There is no need to waste your precious time with that type of training. While most individuals in the gym believe that daily, high-volume ab training is best, there is nothing that shows the abs have to be trained that way.

And don’t try and get ripped abs by doing endless cardio if you only weigh 150 pounds and are 6 feet tall. That’s the worst thing you can do if you have that kind of body type. In fact, what you need most is to gain muscle through strength training and proper nutrition – that will make your physique a lot more impressive. Choose compound exercises (exercise using many of the body’s large muscle groups; i.e. the squat, bench press, pull-ups, deadlifts, etc) to get the most results in the least time.

For cardio, you don’t have to perform an hour each day in order to get lean. Instead, most people will get great results using interval training. When you perform compound exercises and interval training, your muscles work harder and boost your metabolism higher than high-volume ab training or slow and steady stairmaster sessions.

Interval training burns more calories and fat long after you have left the gym when compared to steady-state traditional cardio training. Therefore, intervals help you shed more fat while you are resting. While aerobic exercise (traditional cardio) is beneficial for individuals with a lot of fat to lose (i.e. if you test at greater than 15% body fat), if you only have that last bit of fat to lose before you have a 6-pack, then dietary manipulation and interval training should be your priorities. 

Getting back to lifting, one the trademarks of my “turbulence training” strength-training programs is to use supersets as often as possible. Your training goal is to get in, work hard, get out, pound a post-workout shake, get home, eat and grow.

As for specific abdominal training recommendations, isolated abdominal training 1-3 times per week is sufficient. Abdominal training should be brief and to the point (i.e. 1-3 sets of 3-5 exercises). This will require passing on the basic ab crunch and switching to exercises that incorporate resistance. Like any other muscle group, the abdominals should be trained in a broad rep range of 6-20 per set.

Another way to increase the effectiveness of the training program is to focus on the tempo of the exercise. Tempo just means the speed of the exercise. For example, a 3-1-1 tempo means you’ll take 3 seconds to lower the weight, then you’ll pause for 1 second, and then you’ll lift the weight back up in 1 second.

You may have gone through a tempo phase in the past for a couple of weeks and then due to human nature you probably got lazy and forgot about using it. But for the next training phase, I want you to stick to the prescribed tempo for these ab exercises. We’ll use tempo in the ab training program to make the exercises safer and more effective. You’ll see and feel the benefits after the first workout.

Educate yourself, and to identify what works best for your body, be sure to log your workouts & nutrition and pay attention to the results.

The sample “turbulence training” abdominal workout below should be performed twice a week after your strength training. Be sure to change your workout program after 3 weeks.

The "Turbulence Training" Ab Workout

Exercise Sets Reps Tempo
A1 Side Plank 3 1 30 sec hold
A2 Ab Wheel 3 10 301
B1 Swiss Ball Jacknife 3 12 222
B2 Bicycle Crunch 3 20 212

* A1 & A2, and B1 & B2 denote superset pairs

Side Plank

  • Lie on a mat on your right side.
  • Support your bodyweight with your knees and on your right elbow.
  • Raise your body in a straight line so that your body hovers over the mat.
  • Keep your back straight and your hips up. Hold your abs tight. Contract them as if someone was about to punch you in the stomach, but breath normally.
  • Hold this position for the recommended amount of time or 8-10 seconds if you are doing multiple repetitions.

The Side Plank Exercise For Core Stability

Ab Wheel

  • Kneel on a mat with your hands on the ab wheel.
  • Keep your body in a straight line, brace your abs, and keep your low back tensed.
  • Slowly roll out as far as is comfortable.
  • Keep your abs braced, and contract them maximally to come back up to the start.

ab wheel start positionab wheel finish position

Stability Ball Jackknife

  • Brace your abs.
  • Put your elbows on the bench and rest your shins on the ball.
  • With your arms straight and your back flat, your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
  • Keeping your back straight (don't round it), roll the ball as close to your chest as possible by contracting your abs and pulling it forward.
  • Pause and then return the ball to the starting position by rolling it backward.
  • Do NOT round your lower back. I am not letting my back round in the photo.

stability ball jacknife start positionstability ball jacknife finish position

Bicycle Crunch

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees & hands behind your head.
  • Lift your feet off the ground and bring your knees back towards your chest.
  • Curl you body off the ground and bring your right elbow to your left knee.
  • In the process, you should be able to bring your right shoulder blade off the ground. You don't need to curl up any higher.
  • Return to the start position. Then repeat the movement for the left side.
  • Continue to alternate sides for the desired number of reps with each movement counting as a single repetition.

bicycle crunch start positionbicycle crunch finish position

-Craig Ballantyne

About Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, M.Sc., is one of the top Strength & Conditioning coaches in North America. He trains athletes and executives in Toronto and is a member of the Training Advisory Boards for Men's Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines. Craig also works extensively with athletes and is currently a consultant to Rugby Canada helping the National Team prepare for the 2007 World Cup. Craig's fat loss and workout tips are featured every month in Men's Fitness and Maximum Fitness, and in numerous on-line newsletters. Craig’s trademarked Turbulence Training workouts and comprehensive workout manuals are featured on his website

Craig’s most popular programs  include:

Turbulence Training - Advanced training tips and workout programs to help men and women gain muscle and lose fat. An excellent alternative to traditional bodybuilding style routines for men and women who want something new and different, while maximizing time efficiency in the gym. Fantastic for home training and for those with limited time to work out.

Turbulence Training For Women- Secrets of Female Fat Loss – 6 of North America’s top personal trainers reveal the ultimate secrets of fat loss for women . Ideal for: getting ready for your wedding, fitting into your bikini, or improving your body composition for on-field fitness. Effective and efficient workouts to change the shape of female trouble areas and cater to the needs of the female body, while eliminating at least one hassle from you already hectic lifestyle – which workout to choose (there’s so many out there!)

6-Month Bodyweight Training Manual: No gym, no problem!  This course includes over 100 body weight exercises including: Over 20 different ab exercises (that give you a 6-pack and help protect your back), 12 different push-up variations that will help men and women build nice, defined arms (that will look perfect on the beach during your winter holiday), and 8 different versions of the regular squat (and 3 advanced single-leg squat variations), plus a lot more.

Fat Loss Transformation Program

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