T Nation

Just Abs

I have an interesting request. I want an ab program that will have total priority in my training. You see, I made a bet/entered a competition to see who amongst a group of friends would have the best abs at the end of summer. It is not necessarily the best bet because we can all lose symmetry, balance and athletic qualities etc… However, I will win it. I know different coaches here seem to have different and highly interesting approaches for maximum growth. For instance, maybe I could see a waterbury program training the abs everyday (as he has outlined for other muscle groups here)–even training every functional quality every day.

Of course, I have to do all this while getting shredded–but there is plenty i can do for that. I am posting this because besides from king’s series years ago (which i did most of last year, taking my abs from non-existent to semi-existent), I have not seen any programs specifically focused on abs. Actually maybe that is incorrect, but when I think of CT’s ab programs I don’t see them getting total priority.

For my part, I have been traing abs6 days a week doing 4 sets of sprinter sit ups intersperesed into 10 min gpp sessions 3x week (also incorporate planks sometimes). I have been focusing volume on my lower/abs hip flexion doing that after my lower body weights (haven’t put it first because of deadlifts), and doing saxon side bends and bends off roman chair on upper body days plus decline russian twists. I have been trying to do weighted cable crunches but that never really feels focused enough.

Anyway, I would love to see as many different program ideas and ab training philosophies/discussions as possible.

outline the bet… what does the winner get/loser have to do? is it for biggest, bulgiest abs? or for most defined?

I myself would just do a major cutting cycle to drop bf% into the single digits and then the abs will appear like magic.

just my thoughts

Personally, I find that the ab wheel (cheap $10 kind found at Wal-Mart) hits my abs the best. It gives me a deep soreness that I haven’t felt with any other exercise. It will give you a super strong midsection but you’ve got to drop the bf% to be able to see them.


Sure I’ll help you out with the routine below. It uses 3 days of training per week 2 of which are for strength and hypertrophy and the other day is for muscular endurance.

Work-out 1: strength/hypertrophy
A) Thin tummy’s (standing): 3sets x 30sec
B) Ab pull-downs: 5 x 5
C) Saxon side bends: 5 x 5

Work-out 2: muscular endurance
A1) crunches: 2-4 x 50
A2) leg raises: 2-4 x 25
B) wind mills: 4 x 10
C) ab/ glut isometric contraction: 5 x 6sec contraction

Work-out 3: strength/ hypertrophy
A) Turkish get-up: 6 x 4
B) Ab pull-downs: 6 x 4
C) Plank: 4 x 30sec

Your diet has to be more than adequate, every person has abs but most have to much fat to actually see them. You also need to add squats of all kinds especially front and zercher squats to really pound your abs in to growing bigger and stronger. Make sure your training your spinal erectors (lower back) to keep your torso muscles in balance. Read the priority training article published a wile ago for more info (I don’t remember the exact name of the article ).
Hope that helps!

I am not sure how to specialize in abs, but i would second the suggestion for the ab wheel–it works wonders, and if you are not used to it, I bet you will see a difference after one sesion (b/c your nerves will contract your abs much harder).

Secondly, if a scrawny waist is not required by the bet, do high and low rep saxon side bends (these are a killer and, like the ab wheel, really improve nerve recruitment). If a tight waiste is required, then maybe just do very low rep saxon side bends.

Third, I would recommend orienting your other lifts around your abs, by which I mean do a lot of lifts, before your direct ab training, which hit the abs as stabilizers: do a lot of standing exercises with heavy weights-- I often skip direct ab work entirely, but i believe 300 plus pound good mornings and heavy overhead presses give me a bulging four-pack, even when i am a bit chubby. The sorest my abs ever got was a few years ago, when I first did heavy good mornings. I do not know how big you are, but if you are doing heavy good mornings already, I am sure you already have large abs.

Have to agree with the ab wheel , it does work great and it does show results after the first session . As said above , the only obstacle left is bf % . The Ab Wheel isn’t an easy exercise either .

I suggest starting with the kneeling version until you can do 5 clean reps . Then move on to the standing version and do Isometric holds of +/- 5 seconds just before you feel your going to lose control . I’d do this every 2 days . Alternate it with Coach Davies ‘Real Abs’ http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459681 and you’ll do great .

Use Rotaional days and straight days on your abs. Rotaional exercises will keep everything tight and balanced and avoid having your abs bulge out too much. Other wise body fat is the main issue. You have to build your abs out enough then lose the fat to really make em look chizled. I use weight cable crunches…full body leg pull ups ( legs go up over the bar almost) and swiss ball russian twists and weight leg raises ( 25 - 35 lbs on bottom of the leg and hands under your butt). TOok me about 3 months of growth and 2 months of cutting to have sick abs. 2x Weighted abs (one rotational one straight)a week and twice a week endurance