It’s no secret that everyone wants a six pack, and wants it yesterday. But to create that hourglass figure, it’s not enough to simply eat clean and do sit ups and planks until your face turns blue. You must target the different layers and angles of the abs rather than the whole target, and you have to be careful about which moves you choose to prevent getting boxy and growing outwards by over developing your oblique muscles, which are on your sides.

Cross Over Crunches

Cross Over Crunches


One of the most common exercises gym goers try out to hit their obliques is the side bend, usually with weight. This is a huge no-no for those trying to cinch their waists; this builds the muscles outward rather than pulling them in. When working obliques, avoid using weights and instead focus on twisting movements through the transverse plane, like stick turns, bicycle crunches, and crossover crunches. These pull the midsection in at the sides, creating a curve from the rib cage to hip bones, and forming the side lines of the six pack.


Also important is the rectus abdominis, the top layer of abdominal muscles responsible for the washboard abs. This does much more than simply look great in a swimsuit – this region is important for stabilizing your body during every exercise. To get the greatest benefit, contract your abs during EVERY exercise. That is, every exercise is an ab exercise – suck your belly button towards your spine to engage those muscles during squats, chest flies, rows, etc.


When you are targeting this layer, make sure to hit both the upper and lower regions. For the upper abs, crunches with your legs in the air or on a stability ball will get the burn going. Always lift your head straight towards the ceiling. For those lower abs, try hanging leg raises (or knee raises if you swing too much), hip lifts, reverse crunches, and V sit-ups.

Leg Raises

Hanging Leg Raises


Abs are Made in the Kitchen

Of course, it almost goes without saying that the key to noticeable abs and losing those love handles is diet. Whether you follow a clean eating regimen or IIFYM, as the adage goes, “Abs are made in the kitchen” and you won’t shed that last layer of fat without a proper diet plan. A daily fat burner during the last stages of fat loss may also contribute to visibility of those desirable lines.

Lastly a Video – a bit of inspiration, fitsporation for Women Who Lift Readers. Click Here for the Link in the Video.


  • Gale says:

    What about when you do torso twists with a medicine ball? I like doing those as it helps me get good burn in my obliques, but should I not be using the medicine ball?

    • Tera Jean says:

      I use a medicine ball. I’d say, if it works for you, go for it :) I also really like using the big ball and do different angled crunches. Twist left, straight, twist right = 1 set

    • michelle says:

      Do what works for your body. If you feeling it in your core and it burns then you are deffinatley working it out with the medicine ball is a awesome use for your core. Look up other ways to work it out too. Lay on your back. Legs bent. Have them drop side to side by twisting your hips with your back flat on the floor. When you raise your legs back to the middle do a crunch and drop to the opposite side you just droppes. Left middle, right middle. So on so on.

      • Gale says:

        Oh yea I definitely do different ab exercises, I just feel the burn the most in multiple areas with medicine ball twist. .

  • Kaylee Williams says:

    Very misleading for women… You can’t create an hourglass figue

    • James Strong says:

      Give it a try Kaylee you might be surprised, anyway you won’t know unless you give it a go. Its likely, if you are healthy and able, the worst thing that could happen is you get a good workout. Many women have the same idea, but for a good number it can be done…but there are always exceptions.

  • Alicia Sida says:

    Please take a look at this. I think it is a great article.

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