What I Do: Carly Hess's Workout for Amazingly Strong Abs

Try this amazing abdominal workout to strengthen and tone your core. Want to see yourself 10 pounds thinner? Our free Virtual Weight Loss Simulator can give you the inspiration and motivation you need to attain your weight-loss goals.


Begin with Cardio

"The first thing I do at the gym is cardio — whether it be an elliptical machine (my machine of choice) or a treadmill, I do anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes. Instead of focusing on how fast I go, I focus on keeping my stomach muscles tight."

Beauty tip: "I always wear workout apparel that pulls the sweat from my skin to reduce my chances of a post-workout breakout. I especially like Under Armour HeatGear Shortsleeve T."

woman doing crunches
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"I typically have three different crunch groups; on the stability ball, on a floor mat, and on a machine at the gym. I do 50 reps of each type of crunch and typically do between 6 and 10 sets. It is important when you crunch to make sure you keep your neck parallel to the ground. To ensure this, while lying flat on the ground on my back, I place my hands under my head. When I lift my shoulders off the ground to crunch (using my stomach muscles), I make sure to look at one spot on the ceiling the entire time."

Stability Ball Crunches

"An example of a stability ball crunch: In push-up position with the stability ball underneath my ankles, I pull the ball into my chest with my feet and then back out. This really works the lower abdominal area and at the same time helps strengthen my entire core."

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Mat Crunches

"Crunches on the floor mat don’t have to be the crunch we all used to do in gym class. I like to lie flat on my back with my legs out straight and my feet pointed. I put my hands behind my head and lift slowly. I always look at the ceiling to ensure that I am not using my neck and only using my stomach to lift. Another example is getting those hard-to-work oblique muscles. I sit down on the floor with my knees bent in halfway to my chest and my ankles crossed. I twist my body placing both hands to the left of me on the floor, then twisting the other way and placing both hands to the right of me on the floor. These are typically called Russian Twists."

Machine Crunches

"I'm old school when it comes to crunches, so the only machines I like to use are a flat bench and the dip machine. Using a flat bench, I sit at end of it and put my legs up so my body forms a V shape. I place my hands behind me to hold onto the bench. I slowly lower my legs so they are parallel to the bench and then raise them back up; these are typically called V-Ups."