T Nation

Ab Cramping

Hi everyone, whenever i train my abs, i can’t train them more than 2x15…because after that my abs will cramping very easy…and it’s painful…

i did search this topic in T-Nation, but no one is giving out the answer or solution to this situation…

can anyone explain that to me?

I think you need to explain this “cramping” a little bit further…

Uhh, aren’t abs supposed to burn when training them? If it were easy, everyone would be doing hanging pikes like nothing.

[quote]Myllz wrote:
Uhh, aren’t abs supposed to burn when training them? If it were easy, everyone would be doing hanging pikes like nothing.[/quote]

Yeah, if by cramping you mean burning pain then that’s just the way it is (lactic acid). If you mean actual charlie horse type knots it could be an electrolyte deficiency, usually potassium, but then you should be getting that in places other than just your abs.


No no no he means they lock up and hurt like hell, kind of like a charley horse in your abs. I get that when I havent trained em in a while, but it usually goes away in a few weeks with steady training.

I get those too. WTF?

I have to lay on the ground for a few minutes before I can move.

I also have this problem when I try to do high rep crunches. I asked myself why I was doing so many reps for abs when I wouldn’t normally do such high reps for other body parts?

I abandoned the high rep training, started rotating through movements like kneeling cable crunches, hanging pikes, weighted hanging knee raises, and cable pull-ins for sets of 6-8 three times a week. The extra hypertrophy I got from training this way actually gives me more definition in my abs, and I’m stronger on my core lifts. I do some rotational movements (full contact twists, woodchops) for slightly higher reps and stabilization stuff (planks, core statics, etc.) as well.

In short, bunches of crunches didn’t do shit for me so I dropped 'em.

I used to get these when I hadn’t trained abs directly for a while. They would happen if I flexed my torso and tightened my abs. Sometimes I would get stuck in a sort of bent over position and couldn’t straighten out for a while. It would make my abs feel sort of “gummy,” if that makes any sense.

Anyway, as one of the posters above said, just start training your abs directly. Start with some really light work (high rep situps, for example), the move on to heavier stuff (crunches, leg lifts), and it’ll go away.

I’ve experienced this alot and I even started a post on it similar to this one, but not too many responded.

but like some have said, it tends to go away once you train the abs more regularly.
I actually enjoy the feeling sometimes, lets me know that I’m really hitting the abs. but yes it hurts like hell, the ab muscles ball up into knots like a charlie horse and I have to just wait it out till the spasm passes or quit the exercise.

sorry about replying late.

yes, that hurt like hell…and i’m not always training my abs…

but sometimes even when i drop something and i bent down to the side to grab it, my obliques also hurts…

and when it hurts, i can’t just lay down on the floor, i need to stand up, and extend my abs to it maximum, otherwise it locked up…

When training for a PT test (which tested max. no. of sit-ups in two minutes), I’d get horrible charley-horse cramps. I never got cramps elsewhere.

Unfortunately, I never found a solution. I just took it as a fact of life that when I did high-rep sit-ups, I’d have to deal with the pain.

Unless you have to do a certain number of sit-ups in a given time frame, why do you want to do high reps? Low reps/high weight is superior for ab training.

The only time my abs ever cramped up was near the end of my freshman year of college when some kids from the 7th floor came down to our 6th floor party with some cali chronic and I had never been blazed before so man did I ever roll on the floor laughing with my abs contracted for prob an hour straight.

Good memories, and I’m sure I wouldn’t have cramped up at all if I had mixed in a banana sometime during the evening.

I train my abs all the time and if I hit them extra hard I cramp also. An explaination would be great. -T

yeah I’ve experience this too even when not training, like during extra hard laughter, or sudden forceful movemnt in torso area, or even during sex.

and I’m sure I’m well hydrated and eating well, but no one has ever explained this satisfactorily to me.

This is just a suggestion and not by any means a final solution for everyone.
I also recently noticed that once I got over 30 reps of situps I would cramp horribily and I couldnt continue(I also am crash training for a PT test in the army). Anyhow after reading up on trigger points and soft tissue issues I decided to get out my trigger point manual to see if it could shed any light on the situation.

To make a long story short, I found 2 laten trigger points in the abdominal wall, one just under the rib cage on the right side and one down around the groin region which was creating hernia like symtoms. After a few days of diligent self applied massage I took care of mine and now I have to make sure I check the areas every couple days to keep them in check, but the cramps are gone. Take what you will from this, its possible this may be your problems also. Weak antangonist muscles and dehydration come to mind also.