I know what works is subjective, but...
I've never really done much ab work, and tonight I plan on dedicating a whole workout to it.
I don't want the look of the protruding abdominals.
I want a more flat, hard, vaccuum'd look i.e. Arnold
What type of training lends itself to the flatter look, or is this simply a genetic thing?
I know what works is subjective, but...
The best thing you can do for your abs is be lean enough to see them. What kind of ab shape(I didn't say size) you have will mostly be determined by genteics.
So you would suggest not training the abs? I mean I get good core strength from doing olympic lifts etc so you would suggest just not directly training them at all?
try reading CT's "Staggered Ab Training Article"
Using this kind of training you dont need to dedicate one workout to soely abs and you can work at a higher intensity than if you throw them in at the end.
In terms of flatt versus protruding, I think the diference is going to be muscle thinkness, which CT attributes to loaded ab training in this article, so maybe BW ab work with higher reps may work for your goals? Dont take my word on this though Im no expert.
treat your abs like any other muscle. if you do a hundred reps they are going to be trained for endurance, and not strength or size. If you load them you will get deeper cuts and more size. If you want a skinny midsection, build huge upper body and legs to contrast it. If you want the vacuum look then do a lot of vacuums.
Abs are muscles just like anything else. Flatness will be determined by diet, muscle fullness by exercise regimen. Some bodybuilders avoid ab work in order to enhance their v-taper. Personally I'd recommend doing some work for them, just give them similar priority to forearms, calves, neck, etc. The three main movements are crunch, side bend, and torso twist.
When work abs is important to avoid an excessive work of the hip flexors (ilio-psoas). this is obtained being centered in flex the column in each rep, because the ab's function is column flexing, not hip flex.
I didn't say don't train them, you can find the best program out there but if you've got a layer of blubber around them you'll never see them. I prefer weighted movements for moderately high reps, 15-30 with ever increasing weights.
Also, find someone that can squat 400 for reps and have them diet down, I'm doubting their abs are going to be non existant.
The thing with the abs is that they depend, a whole lot more than other muscles, on the body fat percentage. If you carry just a tiny bit more fat than you should, bye-bye abs.
I actually don't train abs. Ever. Yet they look fine. But I do a lot of compound movements.
Would my abs look a little bit better if I trained them specifically? Yes. Would my abs look a whole lot better if I trained them specifically AND I took the necessary steps to reduce the fat percentage a little? Yes. But I don't wanna do that - the time I would use for abs is used for other muscles instead, and I prefer to follow a diet that allows me to make good progress in terms of strength and overall muscular mass.
This is true.
If you are lifting heavy and doing dead lifts and snatch and cleans you are using your abs. If you want a killer ab exercise then try the vacuum...
I wonder how much ab work that the bodybuilders do with those huge and lean midsections do.
There is one bodybuilder that works out at my gym, he does abs next to everyday he's there, more so closer to competition. One the other hand, I almost never do direct ab work, and when we had the ab test in my police foundations program, I came in first with flying colours and scored 110%. I have a strong core from doing the big lifts.
I do weighted ab crap-incline, medicine balls machines ext- because its good to have strong abs for boxing-which I do once in awhile-
The only thing that will continually force the abdomials to grow are heavy squats and deadlifts. You were right to consider using olympic lifts, situps and crunches don't cut it.