T Nation

How are You Training Abs?


Abs are literally the only thing I have always neglected because I am really lost as to how to train them. A lot of people say they get trained when doing deadlifts and squats and pullups and such but I want train them directly. Any input would be awesome. I also understand that you need to cut down bf to see them but im not worried about that i just want to know a good routine to do for them. thanks.


I'm partial to Pallof presses, ab-wheel rollouts, and kneeling cable crunches.


I have never tried pallof presses, and i cant seem to figure out how to do kneeling cable crunches correctly because i never feel it in my core so i have given up on them.


Deadlift and squat techniques work the erector spinae and obliques to a greater extent than any ab exercise, and stiff arm pulldowns work the anterior musculature harder than any specific ab exercise.

But hey, who am I to stop people doing their ab rollouts, swiss ball crunches, and weighted trunk flexion exercises (you know, the one where people kneel on the ground, hold the cable behind their head, and do the blowjob movement).

I would like to rename that particular exercise the blowjob, and whenever anyone sees someone in the gym doing it ask how much they charge, and whether a client has said they are a bit too violent when they're giving head.


There we go,

Kneeling cable crunches = "the blowjob"


Eh, front squats and DB pull-overs. Direct work, I just get on one of the dual sweet action ab machines and do a set of 50. If you aren't shitting blood by rep 32 you ain't doing them right. Works for me.


Ab training I think is athlete dependant. You'll see as you get older that directed core work helps relieve back soreness and correct postural problems.

Also, it all depends on your goal. If you're an athlete I see no purpose. If you're a bodybuilder the abs are muscles like any other and you should work them.

Here are some suggestions:

Planks, Side Planks
Resisted Rotation
Incline Cable Crunch w/ Eccentuated Eccentric(Do the "blowjob" with a hi cable and your back on an incline, then on the eccentric extend your arms)

If you do core work your core will be sore. This is your muscles being overloaded. For a BBer this is a good thing.


Lie on your back. Lift your feet off the floor, 12-24 inches. Squeeze your abs as hard as you can while driving your lower back into the floor. Give it 100% holding for about 30 - 40 seconds, do it 3 -4 times, you'll be smoked and should have a good mid-section.


I agree and disagree here.

Relieving back pain and postural problems definitely requires specific abdominal work. However, to simply want to get the core musculature sore is not necessarily relevant for hypertrophy. Many of the gimmicky core exercises are simply a waste of time when you compare them to the activity and results you get from the main lower body lifts, as well as cable upper body training, as well as free weight upper body exercises in a standing posture.

True, you can manipulate something like an ab crunch, or a side bridge, in many different ways to increase muscle activity. But this still doesn't rival what you can measure in the abs with free weight exercise. The problem is that people usually aren't aware of how hard the abdominals are working during something like a front/back squat.

Overloading the abdominals, or causing those muscles to alter their activity and function owing to want to cripple yourself there, defeats the purpose of what those muscles do in regards of stability, and ignores the importance of those muscles in so many movements required for effective weight training.

A side plank is a great exercise, but the reality is for someone like me I can hold a side plank for a number of minutes. Therefore it is not providing a hypertrophy stimulus. It will simply be improving the endurance capacity of my abdominal muscles, and yes, will probably make me sore.

If you want an interesting ab exercise to try, double-leg lowering with your body on a bench, lower back on the bench so you don't go into hyper-extension, have your legs fully extended at 90 degrees of hip flexion, slowly lower them to the horizontal (2-4 seconds down), then slowly flex the hip back to 90 degrees. Repeat that for normal sets of 6-10 reps and that'll be all she wrote.


Yep, do this exercise and wreck your back for the future.

Never never never flatten out your lumbar spine onto a surface. Always try to maintain neutral posture so you aren't subjecting the spine to compressive load in an excessively flexed position.

Once again the problem, people wanting to write off their abs and feel the burn to think they've been training them.


Planks, side planks, the "dead bug" variations from one of the articles on here (can't remember which one). That's pretty much it.


I think this is called the "hollow position" in gymnastics just to put a name to it.