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All About Abs: ABS101 and Weekly Ab Workout

Rocking absBonnie asked me to put together a new weekly ab workout plan for her. Before I share the program I wrote for her, I wanted to explain why we need to do more than just crunches and sit ups – and why (and how often) we can do weighted and non-weighted exercises. After this short “class” you’ll better understand each muscle, how it’s worked and why we work it.

Welcome to ABS101. I’m professor Pfiester. 🙂

PS: I studied Exercise Science and a have degree in Physical Therapy. I am passionate about anatomy and love teaching.


flat stomachTransverse abdominals are largely slow twitch (slow to fatigue) muscle fibers needing to be work over a long duration with more frequency.

aesthetic purpose– compresses the abdomen (keeps your stomach flat)

six-pack absRectus abdominus has a strong fast twitch (fast to fatigue) component and needs to be worked both with high reps and frequency and with increased resistance with lower reps at least once or twice per week

aesthetic purpose – most commonly referred to as the “six-pack”, compresses and flattens the stomach region while adding definition and tone to the abdomen (even when you aren’t standing against a fence, lol).


Side PlankInternal Oblique, while still being largely slow twitch, internal obliques are comprised of more fast twitch fibers than the transverse abdominals.  To fatigue these muscles we need to work some days with High repetition, but we can not leave out the fast twitch, quick to fatigue, fibers which should be worked with higher resistance, lower reps, and less frequency.

aesthetic purpose– compress the abdomen during exhalation reducing the volume of the mid section for a tapered look through the waist.

Serratus_anteriorSerratus anterior (pictured right) originates on the surface of the 1st to 8th ribs at the side of the chest and inserts along the entire anterior length of the medial border of the scapula, and are mostly fast twitch muscles.

aesthetic purpose – adds definition and depth to the region lateral and inferior to the pecks the actual movements for our purposes are punching movements(scapular protraction) also overhead lifts, and strong scapular depression (like at the end of a dip)

obliquesExternal Oblique is similar to the internal oblique comprised of more fast twitch fibers than the transverse abdominals.  To fatigue these muscles we need to work some days with High repetition, but we can not leave out the fast twitch quick to fatigue fibers which should be worked with higher resistance, lower reps, and less frequency.

aesthetic purpose– compression of the abdomen and tapering on the lateral sides of the waist

NOTEThe right internal oblique and the left external oblique contract as the torso flexes and rotates to bring the left shoulder towards the right hip. For this reason, the internal oblique are referred to as “same side rotators.”  

Weekly Abdominal Workout Plan

4 Day Workout Program:
Do A OR B Workout 3 X a week and C OR D Workouts 1 X a week
Click on the exercise to view video instruction. 

High Rep Day

Improve resting tone, muscular tone, decreasing waist size, increasing definition.
REST: Recover for approximately 30 seconds between exercises.

25 reverse cross leg crunch left
25 Oblique Crunch left
25 side elbow plank hip pulse left (NOTE: don’t let your hip touch the floor like this girl does)
(repeat right)

25 decline sit ups/25 decline crunch (super set)

25 creverse cross leg crunch left
25 reverse cross leg crunch right
50 cartwheel with PVC (these are done much faster than the video)
25 reverse crunch (or roll up)
25 ball pass (8-12lbs)

High Resistance Day 

Build hypertrophy and definition of rectus abdominus and serratus anterior.
REST: allow for more rest/recovery between sets (1min)
15-20 Rope crunch
15-20 angled roman chair
15-20 hanging abs

15 plate crunch
15 decline weighted plate crunch
15-25 abdominal machine (hammer strength)


Ball Pass Ab Workout

Have a ball with your ab workout! Instead of doing boring crunches, use a medicine ball to increase the intensity and fun. Here are a few exercises you can try with a small med ball.

med ball pass ab exerciseBall Pass Ab Workout

12 Single Under Leg Pass

12 Single Scissor Leg Pass

12 Double Under Leg Pass

12 Double Scissor (Figure 8) Leg Pass

12 Triple Under Leg Pass


For more fun workouts, check out 



Abs on Fire

six-pack-absSince spring is just around the corner, I put together a fresh new ab workout for you to try out. Let me know how you like it!

Abs on Fire Workout

15 Med Ball Throw
15 Russian Twist
15 Oblique Crunch L
15 Oblique Crunch R
15 Side Plank Pulses L
15 Side Plank Pulses R

Grab your tools and get ready to follow me through one round. Then repeat for a total of 3 rounds.

If you train hard and desire to live a life on fire for fitness, follow @Reebok on twitter and use the hashtag #livewithfire.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

How to Get Perfect Abs

I love fundamentals.  Fundamentals are the foundation from which more complex and effective derivatives are built upon.  So many pro athletes achieve stardom and fame only to eventually fall into a slump and return to the basics.  Many coaches and athletes alike will tell you, if you perfect the fundamentals, there may be no need for much else.

My Striking, and grappling skills are continuing to get better.  As I get more advanced,  I’ve noticed that every class starts with repeating basic drills that I learned from the very first day; and so it is with abdominal work.

You can do V-ups, X-ups, sit ups, roll ups, knee ups, or just about any abdominal exercise you want,  and without using basic fundamentals,  you will never effectively work the target area.  Most ineffective abdominal work is caused from poor set up.  If you can accomplish a good starting position and maintain good positioning during the range, your abs will cry sweaty tears of bliss.  So, how do we set up to get all the “goody” out of our abdominal training? glad you asked!

1. Lay down on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor
2. Roll your belt line (low back)  into the mat or ground (a slight posterior pelvic tilt)
3. Use the hamstrings to lock your pelvis into position.  Do this by digging your heels into the ground and pull them toward your buttocks to tighten your hamstrings holding your pelvis in a posterior tilt
4. Place your hands behind your neck holding the base of your noggin (nuchal line) and keep your elbows open and wide.
5. Look straight up keeping your chin off your chest.
6. Pull your naval into your spine AS YOU EXHALE.

Congratulations, you just executed a perfect crunch!

Continue to use these same principals for all abdominal work.  These fundamentals will help facilitate and recruit more abdominal musculature durring your workout giving you “perfect abs”.

NOTE: Don’t forget – no matter how great your ab exercises are, you’ll never see them if you don’t diet. Diet is 80% of getting the abs of your dreams!

Tractor Tire Abs

Here is an entire ab & core workout I put together for GNC utilizing a tractor tire. Since many MMA camps and boot camps us tractor tires, I decided to come up with a few exercises to help you make the most of your tractor tire. Don’t have one? You can get a used on free at your local tractor repair store or dealer – or you can use a stability ball or bench.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.

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