Building Good Abs

I’ve always had a hard time deciding where to place my Ab workouts.  I never feel like doing them at the end of my workout, because I’m tired from all the heavy lifting and sometimes I go weeks at a time without hitting them.

Many people say that if you lift heavy on certain exercises, then you don’t need to do abs.  I use to believe this, but I’m starting to disagree.  I definitely agree when you deadlift and squat with heavy weights your abs do get hit, but I also feel like you should add more volume to really hit the abs effectively.

Abs are tricky though because the hip flexors can easily overpower the movement.  For example, hanging leg raises are effective if you do them right, but many people don’t.  Basically the hip flexor overpowers the movement and the abs aren’t doing very much work.  Now some people can perform these with very good form, but they usually have very strong abs already.  The reverse crunch would serve many people well due to the angle you perform the movement.

I like using straight sets in the gym, so my plan is to do ab exercises in between sets.  By the end of the workout I would have nailed my abs just by adding them into the time I usually rest between sets.

My favorite ab moves:

  • Bicycle Crunch
  • Reverse Crunch
  • Mason Twist
  • Planks

These all keep a constant tension on the ABS and eliminate the hip flexors from taking over the movement.  I also used to be a fan of weighted abdominal exercises, but had a hard time really “feeling the muscle”, so I’m going to focus on the exercises that really tense up the abs.

Sample Workout:

  • Deadlift
  • Bicycle crunch between sets
  • DB Row
  • Reverse Crunch between sets
  • Lat Pulldown or Pull-ups
  • Mason Twist between sets
  • DB Curl
  • Front Planks between sets
  • Shrugs
  • Side planks between sets

This workout would add a ton of volume to my abs and my workout would basically be finished in the same amount of time, because instead of resting I would just “add in” ab exercises.  Should be interesting to see the results.

PS – Added in two heavy days of abs with two high rep days like the one shown above.  The heavy days are done on an AB machine and an oblique machine.  I must admit I really a ton of tension from the weighted machine exercises that I dont feel on on other weighted ab movements.  I plan on keeping these heavy machine days going strong and hopefully in a couple of months, I resemble Gerard Butler from 300. 😉

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