Top Trainers’ Favorite Ab Exercises

Featured Article, Fitness
on March 28, 2011

The country’s top fitness trainers work with clients all day and get the rest of us in shape with their fitness books and DVD’s. But how do these exercise gurus keep their own abs looking fit ‘n fabulous? We got five of the hottest to share their secrets.


The trainer: Tracey Mallett (above), author of Sexy in 6 and Super Fit Mama and creator of popular DVDs, the latest of which is The Booty Barre.

The move: Side Plank Twist

Why this move? “This tones your whole core along with your lat muscles, which together gives you a shapely-looking waist,” Mallett explains.

How to:

A. Lie on your right side of your body balancing on your right forearm with your fingertips facing forward. Your knees should be bent to the side of your body and your left leg crossed in front of your right leg, with your left foot firmly pressed to the floor.

B. Inhale and lift your hips off the floor, extending your legs straight out to the side with your left foot on the floor in front of the right. Extend your left arm straight up toward the ceiling, keeping it in line with your shoulder with the palm facing outward.

C. Exhale, contract your abs, and twist your upper body toward the floor. Reach your left arm under the supporting right arm, without moving your hips. Inhale and return to the side plank. Bend your knees and lower hips toward the floor. Repeat 10 times, switch sides and repeat. Do 2 sets.

The trainer: Jackie Warner, star of the Bravo show Thintervention and the DVD Personal Training with Jackie: Crunch-Free Xtreme Abs.

The move: Split Lunge Flex

Why this move? “The split lunge flex involves a lot of stabilization in order to stay balanced in the lunge and bring your chest forward and back up again,” Jackie says. “It targets every muscle of your core.”

How to:

A. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Step your left foot back into a lunge position. Hold a 3-5 lb dumbbell in each hand (this is optional; you can also hold 1.5 liter water bottles or do it without anything). Bend your arms and position your elbows at shoulder level with hands in front of your forehead and palms facing one another.  

B. Bend at the waist, contract your abs and bring your body toward your knee until your hands touch your knee. Pause, then return to start. Do 15 reps then switch legs and repeat. Do 1-2 sets.

The trainer: Fitness guru Denise Austin, author of eight books including The Daily Dozen and Get Energy! and creator of more than 30 workout DVDs, the latest of which is Quick Burn Cardio

The move: Waist Twist

Why this move?“This move zeros in on the muscles that keep your stomach tight and give you an hourglass figure,” Austin says.


A. Holding a 5-8 lb dumbbell vertically in both hands in front of your chest, (or you can use sealed water bottles), stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and toes pointed out.

B. Keeping upright, contract your abs and twist from side to side, really rotating your upper body. Do this for one minute.