T Nation

Abs Not Working When Squatting


#1

I have been coming back from my harniations and started squatting again. I do not feel the abs working though which other people seem to suggest. Am i doing something wrong?


#2

If you're looking for your abs to activate in the traditional sense (Your abs feeling like they do when you perform a crunch, for example), then you won't get that from squats.

You should be bracing your abs to prevent movement. The whole role of your core in a squat is to keep your spine stable. Imagine what you're abs would do if you were about to get punched in the stomach...you wouldn't crunch, you would brace.

A couple of suggestions: try front squats. I felt my core had to compensate far more during front squats than during back squats just to perform the movement correctly, leading to a feeling of increased activation. This would help you be aware of the muscles in your core and hopefully pass over into your back squat. Also, wearing a belt might help. I don't use one myself, but the idea of a belt when squatting is to brace your abs against the belt, which may help with your awareness issues.

As a beginner, you could probably afford to do some brushing up on your technique too. It never hurts.


#3

also zercher squats, holding the bar around diaphgram level


#4

I agree with front sqauts. Really fires your abs.


#5

I wouldn't expect an ab pump or sore abs from back squats


#6

The problem with telling folks to brace or push out is that its not entirely clear. First there is bracing which is tightening something one would do if one was expecting to be punched in the stomach. 2. Then there is drawing in of the abs, Stuart McGill doesn't advise this, he says brace the abs. So far so good, brace your abs by tightening them expecting to be punched in the stomach.

Now, powerlifters tell us to push the abs out by expanding the diaphragm they do this against a belt worn around their waist. The whole idea of the belt is to create intra abdominal pressure. Pushing out or bracing the abs while different, I think, do the same thing , that is to say they create intra abdominal pressure.

To add another aspect to this is taking a gulp of air, and taking a gulp of air and closing the glottis. Similar actions. The closing the glottis , i believe, is the karvonian movement. Taking a gulp of air and holding is might be the same as the latter or karvonian movement but with less emphasis. I prefer to do the taking in of air and holding it not pushing against the glottis since pushing against the glottis( holding your breath and trying to expand your diaphragm creates more pressure. One feels as if one could pass out.

Also if you take in a gulp of air and hold it one can still breathe through ones nose. That's my take on this matter. Perhaps i need clarification by one who knows.


#7

I think the real problem is people doing all of their "learning" on the fucking internet. No one thought shit like this in the past because the concept was understood within seconds by actually doing it in the gym or by watching others and understanding what they are doing. You won't get a pump in your abs from squats...but you can pretty much bet anyone with a large squat has well developed abs.


#8

i find planks / weighted planks good for the relevant kind of ab activation. i think they are helping my front squats, anyway.


#9

Agreed about people doing all of their learning on the internet, but the OP could be in a position where he has a lack of experienced lifters around him - in certain scenarios I think forums can be good for clearing up confusion, or at least providing a couple of different viewpoints from which the OP can gain something.

In all likelihood the OP is performing the squat incorrectly and is searching for a little clarity amongst the masses of information which is available for newbs.

We should be encouraging guys like this who have the balls to question themselves rather than carry on oblivious. If you agree that there is a huge amount of info out there then helping one guy with his interpretation of it doesn't make it a futile activity.