Over the last few years, the so-called Tabata protocol has become linked inextricably in many people’s minds with fat loss. It’s simple enough: you work hard for 20 seconds, rest for 10, and repeat for the longest 4 minutes of your life.
While the original version of the protocol was on stationary bikes, there’s just something about that 20/10 model that trainers and athletes around the world have found irresistible to customize. You’ll find 20/10 protocols built around cardio machines, others that bring in free weights and bodyweight strength moves, and some that seem to defy categorization.
But you’ve never done Tabata-style training like Ron “Boss” Everline does it for abs.
This Cellucor-sponsored performance coach, who counts comedian Kevin Hart among his clients, had his aha moment when studying the training methods of boxing legend Mohammed Ali. He noticed that the champ never allowed his feet to touch the ground when working his abs.
If your abs just said “uh-oh,” then you might have figured out how you’re going to be spending your 10 seconds of so-called “rest.” Get ready for the burn that will redefine your core training!
In a nutshell, Everline’s program consists of eight exercises, each done for 30 seconds. Of the 30 seconds, 20 are devoted to the actual dynamic movement using a smooth and controlled cadence. The remaining 10 are done as an isometric hold, maintaining the peak-contracted position. “Because of the constant tension, there’s no way you can relax at any point,” Everline says. Further upping the ante, your feet always stay off the ground as you transition from one movement to the next.
There’s no letting up at the end, either. As a finishing move, Everline has his students untie and then retie their shoelaces, all while holding their legs straight up in the air. “I call it my ‘special sauce,'” he says. “It’s intense, and it really lights your center on fire.”
What’s especially appealing about this workout, says Everline, is that it’s wholly different from how most people train abs. “Most trainees follow a routine that’s separated by rest breaks between sets, but the body gets used to that type of training after a while. The change of pace with this workout means the body has to do something it hasn’t adapted to yet, forcing changes. Because there’s no rest, you’re generating more output with more intensity, maximizing results in a shorter period of time.”
The combination of exercises targets every part of your abs, including the upper and lower regions of the rectus abdominis, the obliques, and the underlying transverse abdominis. Some of the movements focus on more than a single area, and the isometric holds will ensure you’re recruiting every available muscle fiber. And because this workout requires no equipment, it can be done at home or at the gym.
Everline’s routine will challenge you, but a visibly defined six-pack requires more than just an on-point workout. Dialing in your abs is no easy feat; most of us readily store body fat in our waist, and it’s always the last to come off when you’re trying to lean up.
If you’re serious about getting defined, you need to gear every part of your training, nutrition, and supplementation to that goal. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do. You can make changes to burn more calories in each and every workout. You can dial in your nutritional approach for maximum effectiveness. And you can focus your efforts on those supplements which have been shown to help encourage fat loss.
Give this project the serious effort that you give Boss Everline’s workout, and your end goal—and your abs—will soon be in sight!
The article was originally published on BodyBuilding.com.