Which Ab Exercises to Do?

there seems to be alot of hate on ab flexion (ie crunches,situps) and rotation (medicine ball twists etc) exercises of late with alot of studies and whatnot saying why you shouldnt do this or that. i personally do 200(+) crunches everyday and feel that since it has worked for so many athletes (especially fighters) in the past, i shouldnt stop doing them.

so what im trying to ask is whats your opinion on this, which ab exercise you think is best and what do YOU do for ab training.


I’m guessing you’re referring to information like this:

What do you mean by “has worked” for so many athletes in the past? Do you mean there are athletes who perform 200+ crunches a day and still perform exceptionally? This is the same logic behind naysayers of say the effectiveness of low-carb dieting based solely on the fact that there are lean muscular people who eat lots of carbs.

The popular question you are bringing up here seems to be–are these fighters improving performance by doing conventional ab exercises, or IN SPITE of them. In fact, I believe Robertson would go as far as to say they are hindering their performance.

Personally, I get behind what Robertson’s advocating here, and pretty much have since I began seriously training. It was very easy for me to part ways with crunches for a few reasons:

  1. Like you, I would need to do 200+ crunches/day just to feel anything. With something like pallof press, or landmines, I can do 3 sets of 10 and be on my merry way.

  2. I found it difficult to progress with crunches. To a point, you can add weight, but then it just reaches a point of putting your body in an awkward position to keep adding. With the exercises he listed in that article, the progression is as natural as adding weight to your squats.

So I’m not a trainer/therapist/any kind of expert, and can’t really defend what’s written in the article without sounding like an amateur by basically repeating everything it says. For me, it’s a matter of: they’re not worth the risk. My humble opinion.

no i didnt mean that 200 crunches a day = good performance. i just meant that flexion and rotation exercisese like situps and crunches worked for them! but i do see your points there. ok i guess ill slowly try out these exercises and see if i can integrate them into my routine. thanks for the info!

any other opinions? or do most agree with jsk.

ive just been adding weight to my crunches, i seem to feel it alot better
its your personal preference on the better workouts
the abs are like any other muscle when it comes to reps

i aim for 6-12, thats with weight
doing 200 is kinda like doing a long distance run and expecting your legs to gain muscle really well…
depending on your goal, strength/tone/mass etc u can do different stuff

I think a lot of the problem is the fact that most people ONLY do some form of sit-up/crunches, and that is only ONE way the abs can work (a pretty useless movement IMO–how often do you need to “crunch” your body up like that to do something in real life?). A smart trainee wouldn’t exclusively train a movement for his chest and not include some kind back work into his routine, just as one shouldn’t exclusively use crunches to train one’s core.

jskrabac posted a link to a good article that I use in my training every time I go to the gym. The exercises he includes in it are effective and they hit your core from just about every angle. Like jskrabac said, the progression on the exercises are much easier than the progression on crunches. I also enjoy the variety of exercises listed… if you don’t feel like one of the exercises is working for you, there are plenty of other options to try out.

Plus, who really wants to do 200 mind-numbing crunches every time you train? It’s making my lower back hurt just thinking about it.

My abs are really starting to pop since I’ve added waiter’s walks and farmer’s carries, both of which are mentioned in the article jskrabac linked for ya. Plus the farmer’s walks are strengthening my grip for pull-ups at the same time. I like efficiency.

Also, hanging leg raises work for me much better than crunches.

ok, thanks for the input guys. but just to clarify, the 200 crunches i do everyday is just sorta for “maintainance”. i do abs on leg days which is twice a week, doing hanging leg raises. i asked the question cause i was wondering if crunches/situps/twists still had a part to play in training our abs and wondered what some of you guys were doing. and ok i learnt quite a bit from your opinions. ill probably stop doing crunches then and focus on some of the other ab exercises available. (:

Beltless deadlifts and push presses/jerks. Blast strap fallouts and blast strap leg raises while in the lockout of a dip.