T Nation

Ab Training Advice


#1

Hey all. Long-time lurker, first-time poster here.

I would like some advice on ab training. I need more effective exercises and/or variety. Not interested in getting a six-pack; I just want strong abs for squatting, deadlifting and pressing.

Currently, in addition to deadlifting 1x week and front squatting 3x week (obviously, alternating heavy days/light form days), I work abs 2x per week. I have been doing the following for 3 sets each:
Leg raise
Weighted situps on decline bench
Ab rolls (knees elevated)

The leg raises feel effective and challenging, and I still have room to progress. The problem are the other exercises. Although I try to be careful with form, but my neck hurts during weight situps (I hold the weight under my chin). Maybe just a form problem? Ab rolls have gotten too easy, so I tried elevating my knees; however, I feel like the added stress is going to my shoulders, not my abs. Again, maybe just a form problem?

Could anyone recommend any other effective exercises, or how to increase the effectiveness of the exercises listed above? The catch is, I have very limited equipment. Just a power cage, barbell and adjustable dumbbells in my office (yeh, I work out in my office cuz I'm cool like that!). Once a week I go to a nearby public gym, but the equipment there isn't much better--they do have some cables, etc.

I don't really want to buy any new equipment, because I don't have the money (Also, I live in Japan, and its difficult to get equipment over here. I once gave up on purchasing a trap bar when I saw how much it costs to ship something like that overseas...)

Anyway, based on the situation/conditions listed above, any ideas??

Sorry for the long post; just wanted to give all relevant information.

Wishing everybody good gains and health!!


#2

Heavy dumbbell side bends have good carryover to squats and deadlifts.


#3

One arm dumbbell farmers walks

ab fallouts using blast straps / TRX etc - I used to use D handles attached to a length of chain with a caribiner - aka homemade blast straps.now I have blast straps :slightly_smiling:

knee ins - fucking brutal

standing abs on a high pulley - loose belt on, abs pushed into belt hard and curl down.

heavy front squat holds - load a bar with something you can barely get off the pins. then stand there for time.

spread eagle sit ups

ab wheel - don't have one? load a curl bar or olympic bar with a 25 on each side, then roll out and bar with that. like a giant ab wheel. plus rolling the weight makes it harder.

planks of all kinds / angles. planks on the blast straps are pretty freaking brutal too.

along the same lines of the front squat holds, get a duffle bag and put heavy sin it. I like sand bags. hold it high on the chest and walk around with it. Don't have a sand bag? pay a hooker to let you carry her around. :slightly_smiling:

'landmines' are fun. with a bar or a sand bag or even just a plate. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPzvjLcGWkU

hope this helps you out dude.


#4

do you use the little wheel for ab rollouts? if you do try them with a barbell with some weight added for wheels, it adds to the difficulty without adding to much stress on our shoulders.


#5

If you have access to a cable unit once per week, try performing some Paloff presses, they carry over great to keeping full-body tension while squatting and deadlifting.


#6

Thanks, I'll definitely try these.


#7

Thanks for all the great ideas. I'll try out the front squat holds, one-arm dumbbell farmers and spread eagle situps immediately, and I'll hit the standing abs on the high pulley when I can get to the gym.

For planks, do you wear a weight vest? Or do you just go for time?

I'm intrigued by blast straps, but I would have to make my own, since I don't want to pay for overseas shipping. Is it as simple as attaching some handles to a chain?


#8

I'll give it a try at the gym (not enough space when training in the office).


#9

Thanks for the reply. I'll try these too!


#10

Yes, I go for time on planks and I drape chains across my neck to add weight. I've also thrown on a belt and attached a weight to a small chain kind of like doing dips. This pulls you down right in the middle and blows up my lower back / glutes. I've even put on a regular ol backpack with a 25# plate in it.

And as for the straps, Yeah its really that simple. Get some small chain and attach a handle to it. Then attach the chains to something up high. I loop mine to the top of my power rack via an axle strap I got at an auto parts store. They were $8 each.


#11

That's a great idea about putting on a belt with a small chain for adding weight on planks. Definitely gonna try that. Thanks so much!