T Nation

Need an Ab Routine

Im a Pl and an amateur MMA fighter…

on sunday i attempted a PR squat of 315 and nailed it but in the process tore one of my middle abdominal muscles. Also sometimes when i dead my abs feel like they are about to tear. I dont want a six-pack, my bf is too high for that, i just want strong abs and know next to nothing about really strengthening the abs…thanx

Well, you just mentioned two great exercises for building strong abs.

Others I can think of are hanging leg lifts, situps on an incline, and the vacuum pose.

I never usually touch machines but would they be of any use??

Get the wheel of death (ab wheel)- they are great.

Shugs did a review of them not too long ago.

i dont know what an ab wheel is or if my wrestling gym even has one, can you post a pic??

Other great ab exercises: Russian twists, Janda situps, dragon flags.


an abdominal wheel will cost you like $5…or you can make your own from a lawnmower wheel, and stick two handles on the sides. just make sure your abs are healed befroe you use this.

since you’re a fighter, you definately want to do some rotation stuff…like Russian Twists, or lying leg twists (which i prefer).

personally, i do not like most gym ab machines…the range of motion is kinda wierd. just depends on the user…

[quote]Babalu wrote:
i dont know what an ab wheel is or if my wrestling gym even has one, can you post a pic??[/quote]

Just google “ab wheel”. You can get them just about anywhere. I got mine at Kmart.


Ab wheel (fancy double wheel version).

Anyone try doing sit ups with legs flat on the floor (not anchored)? I am not sure if center of gravity would effect a mans ability to do these (I am a woman and have a lower center of gravity) seeing as men are moretopheavy...all jokes aside. Roman twists are amazing as are leg raises. Planks are great for the afterburn... I havent tried an ab roller yet, but you can use a swiss ball towalk out` until only the tips of your toes are on the ball, do a few push ups, and roll back.

Abs are so much fun…deads, ATG squats…so many things…


all the advice above is great…something to add if you dont have and ab wheel…you can just take a barbell, load it with 45’s, and do roll outs with it, better if you have bumper plates…you can load the bar up for more resistance on the negative since you will have to control the weight on way down and have more resistance on way back up.

Also, its not direct ab work but heavy squats, deads, cleans, overhead squats, snatches, and doing ground based overhead press, push press, etc will strengthen your core in a very functional manner! Forget using a belt! If you can squat/dead/clean/overhead press/overhead squat/snatch heavy you will get strong abs and lower back.

Med ball routines are nice too, all kinds of things you can do with them, lots of throws, rotational work, if you need ideas ask and ill try to post some med ball stuff but many books and im sure articles on the internet have lists of exercises. “Iso” abs also will hit them hard, basically get up on your elbows in push up position and hold a tight flat back for a while, then turn to the side and do it on each elbow as well. I dont know what others call it but we call it “alligator walk” which will hit your core and shoulders,get in push up position with a 45 pound plate at your toes and drag it keeping your body tight using your arms to pull you, might seem like arm work but it also forces you to keep abs tight to stabilize…

hope this helps…but yea you gotta heal up before you do anything. Make sure it isnt so bad you need to get surgery first.

Lever and planche progressions.

They make dragon flags easy.

I appreciate all the advice guys…just what exactly are dragon flags?

also what rep/set ranges should i be using… and the tear is pretty bad, how long should i wait till i hit the abs? can someone design a rough routine for me to follow, they only stuff i used to to for abs was have a partner throw a 4kg medicine ball at them… i know nothing about them… thanx

A couple of articles you should check out:



I know there are some other articles on the site about core training. Look through the archives.

if you have a bad tear you need to see a professional medical person to get things squared away before you get into training again…you could really mess yourself up.

Just another thought about exercises since I just got done working out today…following cleans, deads, box jumps and box squats, today I hit some light front squats to polish it all off…front squats kill your core with all the stability you have to keep during them!!! good stuff as long as you have good form and you are working your entire body not just abs…also for some reason doing plyos over hurdles can make your abs sore if the hurdles are high enough, i dont know if its from needing to tuck your knees up so violently to clear the hurdle, but ive had athletes complain of sore abs the next day

I got it checked, minor tear to one small ab muscle, doesnt hurt that bad anymore…thanx for the advice

Dragon flag explanation


Site is in French, but the pictures make it clear. Also has a picture of Sylvester Stallone doing one from Rocky IV.

About the d-flags…

if you’re going to do them on an unsecured bench, DO counterweight the bench.

If you you do NOT counterweight the bench, please DO videotape the ‘exercise’ and post it here.

I almost learned this the hard way…

Windshield wipers. In the same category as dragon flags.