Want abs of steel? While planks, twists and crunches will sculpt your abdominal muscles, there are other factors at work. Chiefly, body fat, which can mask your hard work. Think of this simple year-round plan as the rope for the stage curtains.

1. Strength training

Don’t forget to lift! Hit the gym for cardio, but make sure you pick up those weights, too. Strength training for 30 minutes three to four times a week will increase your metabolism and pave the way for your tight, shapely fitness body. This is an essential component for a well-rounded fitness regimen.

Photo credit: Jamie Watling Photography