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Abs, High or Low Reps?


It seems that most people do high reps when it comes to abdominal exercise. I myself have dome thousands of crunches and I keep thinking "why is building Abs different then any other muscle?" I wouldn?t do 40 reps of bench unless I was trying a shock routine.

I recently started holding a plate against my chest so that I can only do 10-15 reps. I would much rather do higher weight and lower reps because high reps are tedious and prolong the pain. I would rather get them over with quicker by raising the weight and lowering the reps.

My question is it better to bang out higher reps with just your body weight as resistance?


You've already answered your own question. Theres no point really in doing 40 reps unless you said its a shock program. Theyre just like any other muscle, and therefore they're stimulated in different ways with different set/rep schemes.

Keep it varied and you'll see results.


This is kind of a hijack, but it's the next logical question:

What exercises work the best for all of you?

I do (not necessarily the best exercises) whatever I feel like until I get tired/bored (mabey 5-10 min):

Hanging Pikes (are they even possible?)
Laying Pikes / Dragon Flags
Ball crunches w/ weight
Decline bench w/ weight
Standing high cable crunches (although I don't feel that I'm getting the full range of motion)

leg raises (laying, tho I should try hanging)


legs up crunches.

What d' y'all do?


Try some CrossFit 'knees to elbows'!


The abdominals are a phasic muscle group, comprised primarily of fast twitch muscle fibers. This means that they respond best to high intensity and lower reps. You did indeed answer your own question.

As for what works for me, whatever I feel like doing. Im a fan of heavy decline sit ups for flexion, full contact twists for rotation, and saxon side bends for lateral flexion.


I forgot the link:



Yo, check it.

One day a week I do weighted for low-medium reps.

One day I do three sets of max reps with an exercise I can do for 15+ reps. Like lying leg raises for 40,30,20.

But wait, there's more!

I did sprints on Monday, 6 40yd dashes and 2 hurdles. My abs are still wrecked. I used to never train abs and did sprints 2-3 days a week and my belly was buffed. Anybody else experience this insanity?!?!


I think that is incorrect.


I love Hanging Pikes, and yes they are possible!


I know tempo prescriptions dont seem to be in the limelight right now but I swear by ultra-slow reps for abs.

Decline board with 30kg dumbbell held on upper chest for a few sets of 15 or so sloooow reps.

Works for me.


What works for me varies but what's working for me right now?

Decline crunches with 100lb dumbell held on my upper chest, 3 sets of 5 to 8, when I get 3 sets of 8 consistantly I'll up the weight. Twice a week.

I get a lot of twisting and such in during jiu jutsu and as part of our warm up we do a couple minutes of leg lifts/splits, etc. and this is 2 or 3 nights a week.

For me, heavy, moderate tempo compound movements have always worked best, especially the big 3, flat bench, squat, dead.


Try hitting some vacuums in b/n sets and your abs will get wrecked.


I get no better ab workout than when I do high box jumps... having to tuck my legs so high with power focuses huge on the abs.


It'll vary by person a little bit, but they do tend to be more towards the fast twitch side.



This is different than what Charlie Francis says. I suppose it's possible that he's incorrect, but just curious- why do you say that abs are fast twitch?

EDIT: Btw, definitly not trying to start an argument (I might've come off like that re-reading my post), what literature or (more importantly) personal experiences are you guys drawing from.


Experiance and basic physiology. If you want, I will try and source, but your best bet would be a textbook.


You hold the answer in your ?.
No need to look further or ask other people.

Periodize your abd. training through out your training year.

stability---->hypertophy----> general strength----> maximal strength----> explosive strength.

Reps should come down as the level of intesntiy goes up.