T Nation

Abs: My LEAST Favorite!


I'm sure I'm not the only one who would rather do 10 extra sets on the benchpress rather than have to do an ab routine. Its the one and only thing I always feel I'm forcing myself through....I just hate it.
But I want the six pack.....
Any tips/advice on getting past this mental obstacle of mine?
Thanks in advance.


Do them first. If you don't do them, you don't get to do anything else. Kinda like, "if you don't eat all your vegetables, you won't get any dessert."

By the way, I think most people dislike ab/core training. done right it's tough.



You know....that's just the kind of psychology that actually works on me! Hahaha! Very good approach, I like it!


I like to do low rep, heavy,high tension ab exercises. Dragon flags or standing ab curls with good weight on a cable will get the job done in a few fast sets. High rep stuff tends to be taken over by hip flexors anyway in my experience.


Try and do them first in the workout to get them out of the way.

Remember the reward and keep focused.


tell yourself that you love ab training.

I used to hate leg days. however, I told myself that leg training was the best thing ever, and that i loved it. my workout partners would say they wanted to do something else and skip legs once in a while, but i was psyched about doing squats, deads, RDLs, etc.

Basically, i lied to myself so much that I believed it. Now i actually do like doing legs. kind of masochistic but whatever, i can squat a lot.

people use this method all the time, sometimes to their detriment. ie. the obese. its "society's fault", "my metabolism is too slow", "blah blah blah".

If people can lie to themselves about why they are fat (and actually believe it) and eat themselves to death, I figure a strong minded lifter can lie himself into enjoying certain workouts.

the power of the mind is amazing.


Take the ab exercises that you want to fit into your week and work them in between lifts that you like, as supersets with your favorite exercises.


I don't especially enjoy ab work either. Remember, abs are stabilizing muscles and get a lot of work indirectly, such as doing barbell curls, hyperextensions, good mornings, dead lifts, etc. Ab work won't produce a 6 pack as much as having your body fat at 10% or less for the average male lifter.


I'm not fond of ab work either, but I find that whereas high rep stuff bores me to tears, some high intensity work for 3-8 reps for a bunch of sets is just fine. Actually, if you want large defined ab muscles, you should subject them to increasing loads anyway... just like any other muscle.


I'd rather do 10 sets of deads or squats than bench.

I echo your comments. For some reason the thing most of us desire is the hardest for us to get motivated for.


I have always had good abs largely due to proper diet. But...I know what you mean!

Some people just don't like to train abs. I think the only other thing that rivals this would be those who hate training legs.

Here are a few ideas which might help you:

  1. Try to train them unconventionally-Hit a set of sit-ups (or another movement of choice) on every commercial when watching TV. If you only view one hour per night you will have incredible abs!

  2. One reason people hate training abs is that they do not set goals with abs like they do other muscle groups. For example if you do Barbell Curls you are always trying to add weight to the bar. If you can curl 100lbs for 10 reps, you will most likely try to hit 105lbs. for 10 reps as soon as possible, and then on from there.

Make abs training the same way. Set some goals for your favorite ab movements. That way you will always be trying to do your best and it becomes a challenge instead of pure drudgery. I made some of my best ab strength and development doing it this way.

Me and a training partner would back into a dip rack and hold our knees out with a 25lb. plate balanced on them for one minute. We did three sets. We worked up to holding a 45lb. plate on our uplifted knees for one minute! This of course was done over a period of time, but it was a great way to train abs. They were rock hard and ripped from this!

  1. One more suggestion: Make a game out of ab training! Take a deck of cards into the Gym with you. Leave yourself just 7 minutes at the end of your session. Pick a card from the deck and begin doing as many reps (movement is your choice) as the card states. At the end of 7 minutes you are finished no matter what!

By setting a time limit and turning it into a game you will be taking some of the stress off. This may not be the ideal way to train abs (or anything else). But, it sure beats the heck out of not training them at all!

Hope these ideas have helped. Let me know which one works best (if you try them).

Take care and best of luck,



Are you talking about doing a version of L-Sits that gymnasts do?


I love the card trick, Zeb. Works best when you have a partner - to put you in contest mode. Psychologically forces you to do more than you normally would. Works well with situps/crunches and push ups.


Something like that-keep the knees lifted in "L" fashion. Place a plate on your knees and hold it there for time. Two ways you can work this.

  1. Increase the weight and hold only for :30

  2. Keep the weight low and go for longer periods of time.


I used to hate training abs. But as with everything else about the gym, T-Nation helped. There are a lot of good Ab routines that I rotate through to keep me motivated. Mr&Mrs Beasts periodically have good articles on training abs with weights.

I even stooped to taking a class at the University's gym on AB training. That was 60 minutes of abs work twice a week. I was surprised after 7 weeks I had a lot of tone but no ripples. BF I guess, but I'm only 11% right now.

Once you flip your headspace around on training them, it's actually very rewarding working out the abs. I try to keep my routines diverse and challenging. I also don't do more than 20 reps of anything w/o including a variation. I may end up doing 200 crunches in a session but that'll be with weights, with twists, alternating between obliques, reverse crunches, declines, swiss balls, etc...

The killer ab exercise, the one I like most is the hanging leg raise (weighted).



I agree with you raoulsam. Hanging leg raises are one of my favorite exercises. I love working abs!



Thanks for the reply. That's what I thought. I began after I posted and hate/love these more than HLR's. The next day you feels this all the way down to the pubes.


I used to hate ab/midsection work-never really found movements that I could "get my teeth into". Then I discovered Incline sit-ups done with a slow controlled cadence and a bunch of stuff done standing on my feet-saxons side bends, land minds, waiter walks, core blaster swings and kettlebell work.


For me, FROGS=hang from a bar and bring knees to elbows. If you can do one set of 25 you're a stud. The best, least time consuming, most balanced ab exercise I know. FROGS have made my ab training effective and enjoyable. Good luck


I no expert but I do the majority of my ab work outside of my normal workouts. this way i devote about 20 minutes to them when I am fresh. I find it much easier this way and I put more effort into the abs!!