Great abs without the crunches

It's time to peel off the layers to reveal abs that may have been hidden this winter — and if you don't like what you find, there's a workout that can help.

This ultimate ab routine skips crunches because they inefficiently sculpt the surface layer, said Suzanne Bowen, Florida-based creator of the BarreAmped program — a mix of Pilates, yoga and dance moves, and star of the BareAmped Classic and BarreAmped Bootcamp DVDs ($20 each,

"You want a routine that is going to burn fat and work the abs in all directions," Bowen said.

Grab a mat, a towel or something soft to work out on and you can get started.

Plie arrow ab twist

Step deeply into a plie squat with legs in line with feet, spine straight and arms bent at shoulder-level. Step up and twist to face right, straightening and pivoting your left leg as you reach left arm up. Bend back down to your start position and repeat on the other side.

Time: Repeat for 1 minute.

Troubleshoot: Make sure your knees don't pass your toes.

Mountain climber

Start in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders, arms straight with your legs hip-distance apart and parallel, toes tucked. Bring one leg to your chest and return it. Alternate rapidly with control, focusing on pulling your abs in and up.

Time: Repeat for 1 minute.

Troubleshoot: Don't let your hips rise. If you start to lose your form, stop and rest and begin again when you feel ready.

T stand reaches

From a plank position, drop your heels to one side and lift your front arm, stacking your body in one line. Make sure the top leg is in front of the bottom leg for support. The heel of your bottom hand should be almost directly under but slightly ahead of your bottom shoulder. Keep your abs pulled in and inhale. As you exhale, reach up and over with your top arm.

Time: Repeat up to eight times. Rest and repeat on the other side.

Troubleshoot: Bring your bottom knee to the mat to support your body weight.

Forearm plank hip dips

Lying facedown on the mat, bring your elbows under your shoulders and clasp your hands so your body is in a plank position. Your abs should be pulled in without tucking your hips. Drop your heels and hips to one side on the inhale — and slowly with control and on the exhale, lift your hips back up to start. Repeat on the other side.

Time: Repeat for 1 minute.

Troubleshoot: If this move is too hard, drop to your knees. Do not let your back sag, as this puts stress on your lower back.