Get Your Ultimate Six Pack
IFBB pro and fitness model Tobias Young shares his workout for a ripped six pack.
Photos of Tobias Young by Alex Ardenti
• Abs have never been super hard for me to bring out. For me it’s all about my diet. Once that’s on track and I get lean, my abs pop. I also have a long torso, which makes my abs stand out in my physique. If you’re careless with your diet, you’ll definitely have a harder time seeing your abs.
• I prefer to use advanced training techniques for my abs rather than just doing straight sets. I do drop sets and supersets, but when I really want to blast them I’ll implement rest-pause. I’ll do as many reps as I possibly can, then I’ll stop and rest but still maintain tension in the muscle. I’ll take a few deep breaths, then kill another 5–10 reps. I do that once or twice per set and I’m toast. It beats endless sets of crunches.
• On occasion I use added resistance when training abs. I’ll hold a weight straight up over my face when I do crunches, or put one between my feet and do V-ups. But I still maintain my high-rep schematic so that I don’t get blocky or thick in my midsection.
• Each time I train abs I like to hit all the critical areas: the rectus abdominis, the obliques and the stabilizing muscles such as the transverse abdominis and hip flexors. Together, these all make up the core, your body’s powerhouse. When your core is strong, you can lift heavier and longer, which means more overall gains.
• Even though I do only 2–3 moves each time I train abs, I really, really focus on each rep. The more you can concentrate and direct all your energy and intention into your muscles, the better results you’ll have.
TOBIAS’ TRAINING SPLIT
Monday: Back, calves, traps
Tuesday: Chest, abs
Thursday: Shoulders, calves, traps
Friday: Arms, abs
Off-season, Tobias does 20 minutes of cardio six days a week; around contest time that increases to 45 minutes six days a week. Pre-contest, he also adds another abs-training day for a total of three per week.
TOBIAS’ OFF-SEASON ABS ROUTINE
Tobias does 2–3 different moves each time he trains abs. “Each workout I do a move that crunches down, one that pulls up and something for my obliques,” he says. His workouts are never the same, but these four workout groupings represent one way he likes to arrange the moves.
Exercise Sets Reps
Crunch 4 25, 25, 20, 20
Reverse Crunch 4 25, 25, 20, 20
Oblique Crunch 4 35, 35, 30, 30
SET-UP: Lie faceup with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Lightly cup the back of your head with your hands, elbows flared.
EXECUTION: Contract your abs to lift your shoulders and upper back off the floor as high as you can. Squeeze your abs at the top as you exhale, then lower to the start.
TOBIAS’ TIP: Try putting your hands in different places to change the difficulty. Reaching them toward your knees is easiest, crossing them over your chest is a little harder, putting them behind your head is still harder and reaching straight up overhead is hardest.
SET-UP: Lie faceup with your legs bent and raised so that your knees are over your hips. Extend your arms along your sides.
EXECUTION: Contract your lower abs to curl your hips off the floor, bringing your knees in over your chest. Slowly lower to the start, controlling the descent.
TOBIAS’ TIP: I like to put my hands underneath my glutes on this lower-abs move to stabilize and support my lower back and spine.
SET-UP: Lie on your right side with your hips stacked and place your left hand behind your head. Extend your right arm along the floor.
EXECUTION: Crunch up in the lateral plane, lifting your torso as high as possible. When you’ve come as high as you can, pause a moment before slowly lowering back to the start.
TOBIAS’ TIP: This is one of my favorite moves for isolating the obliques and the serratus. For an extra challenge, lift your legs in the side plane as you crunch up.