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  1. #1
    CEO 10k/year Ironface's Avatar
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    Do you train abs?

    I’ve always been on and off with direct ab work. Wondering if it’s really that beneficial for strength and hypertrophy.

    There’s plenty of jacked guys who do little or no ab work. I remember a while back the Barbell Medicine guys basically said “you can do some planks or rollouts/TVA stuff if you want but it’s not that important”. They didn’t seem to care for crunches or typical rectus abdominis movements.

    Do you guys think it’s important or do you think you can get jacked abs just doing the big lifts?
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  2. #2
    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    I'm of the position that the major compound movements stimulate them quite well on their own - I have some ab definition at a relatively high bodyfat level and can attest to this. However, I think that only goes so far.

    Whenever I do train abs directly, it's quite hard and I'm sure much more could be gotten out of this by doing so. If I was training for physique as a bodybuilder I wouldn't skip direct ab work, personally. That said, for most people's purposes I'd guess isometric bracing in major lifts and is sufficient for definition and stability.
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  3. #3
    CEO 10k/year Ironface's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    I'm of the position that the major compound movements stimulate them quite well on their own - I have some ab definition at a relatively high bodyfat level and can attest to this. However, I think that only goes so far.

    Whenever I do train abs directly, it's quite hard and I'm sure much more could be gotten out of this by doing so. If I was training for physique as a bodybuilder I wouldn't skip direct ab work, personally. That said, for most people's purposes I'd guess isometric bracing in major lifts and is sufficient for definition and stability.
    This is pretty much my line of thinking as well. Heavy squats, deads, chins and OHP definitely builds a solid foundation
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  4. #4
    Registered User EiFit91's Avatar
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    I think it depends. I suspect it’s a myth that deadlifts and squats are ab builders for most people, but for some they may be. For me not training abs directly made them a big weak link, so I started doing ab isolation work. Pullups did grow my abs but they were still a weak link.

    I think a sign of weak/underdeveloped abs is that if you are strong in compounds but start shaking like a leaf if you try to hold a standard plank.
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  5. #5
    Registered User safcpaul's Avatar
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    I didn't train abs for a while but recently started doing standing ab wheel rollouts. Love them. Absolute killer. I just do a couple sets at the end of workout
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    Registered User jademonkey's Avatar
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    Gymnasts train abs hard, but then again gymnasts have to support their whole bodyweight at all sorts of antigravity angles.

    I had my best abs when I trained gymnastics and never touched a weight, but then again I also had super low bodyfat and was a couple decades younger.

    Been wanting to put some direct ab work in, but I'm just too busy and too exhausted after heavy compounds and accessory lifts.
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  7. #7
    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    No, and only because I don’t like to. I probably should though. It really doesn’t take much time to hop on a decline bench and do some crunches…

    At least I got away from doing leg raises and the like, that is all hip flexors anyway. Ab wheel rollouts are still the GOAT ab builder, but like the erectors, some eccentric/concentric work from time to time goes a long way.

    Compounds never did chit for my anterior core, back side yes, but never abs.
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  8. #8
    Unregistered User MyEgoProblem's Avatar
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    If I wanted bigger abs for aesthetic purposes?
    It train them a lot more with dynamic exercises such as crunches or twists ect.

    If I wanted or needed a stronger core to help my big axially loaded compounds?
    I'd train a lot of anti flexion/extension/rotation work for specificity.

    I do no direct ab/core work atm.
    I don't care about how it looks, nor is it currently a weak point for my lifts

    In the past, I've done ab wheel / rolling planks and standing cable crunches and reverse hypers
    I found those to be the most useful direct work.
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  9. #9
    Registered User jademonkey's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    No, and only because I don’t like to. I probably should though. It really doesn’t take much time to hop on a decline bench and do some crunches…

    At least I got away from doing leg raises and the like, that is all hip flexors anyway. Ab wheel rollouts are still the GOAT ab builder, but like the erectors, some eccentric/concentric work from time to time goes a long way.

    Compounds never did chit for my anterior core, back side yes, but never abs.
    Not ALL hip flexors, especially if you go all the way up (hang, touch feet to the bar, lower only to parallel with the floor). Hell of an ab burn.
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  10. #10
    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    Not ALL hip flexors, especially if you go all the way up (hang, touch feet to the bar, lower only to parallel with the floor). Hell of an ab burn.
    Yes you’re correct. I was thinking of just getting the legs to a 90 degree angle.
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    I'm not a fitness coach or anything, but I can tell you that I had the most defined abs during a time I hardly even trained them separately.
    The drier I was, the more cardio I did, the more my abs got defined.
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    Registered User TAWS6's Avatar
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    I noticed that weighted crunches helps the upper abs pop out more once I get down to around 12%. I really don't do much for lower abs since they don't show unless I'm 10 percent or under lol.
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    Not ALL hip flexors, especially if you go all the way up (hang, touch feet to the bar, lower only to parallel with the floor). Hell of an ab burn.
    Most people can't do this at all...

    But tbh, having weak hip flexors isn't a great place to be regardless

    Even the regular version in a properly designed piece of kit with an angled back, it's terrific for abs, the stretch on your abs is massive
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  14. #14
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Your genetics will dictate if you need direct ab work or not it’s like working your calves. Some people don’t have to do anything except just a normal leg routine and some people need to spend a lot of time hammering them directly several times a week so abs are kind of the same way
    Last edited by Tommy W.; 08-20-2021 at 04:59 PM.
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MyEgoProblem View Post
    Most people can't do this at all...

    But tbh, having weak hip flexors isn't a great place to be regardless

    Even the regular version in a properly designed piece of kit with an angled back, it's terrific for abs, the stretch on your abs is massive
    No kidding, I sure as chit cant. At least I haven’t tried, I’d imagine it wouldn’t be pretty…
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    Absolutely

    I believe a strong core is very important in aiding in your other lifts and helping keep a healthy back. I train front, sides and lower back; they all help stabilize your torso.
    Yes, I compete in shows so the visual helps but it's far more than that.

    And let's not forget that being able to see you abs has nothing to do with whether you train your abs. Having visible abs is all bodyfat related. Every human on the planet has abdominal muscles, it's just whether they are lean enough for you to see them.

    And I'm from the camp that believes that you should target a certain muscle if you want it to grow. I don't believe doing compounds is enough to grow traps and abs. If you want big traps, train your traps; if you want larger, stronger abs, train them.
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by smokinal View Post
    Absolutely

    I believe a strong core is very important in aiding in your other lifts and helping keep a healthy back. I train front, sides and lower back; they all help stabilize your torso.
    Yes, I compete in shows so the visual helps but it's far more than that.

    And let's not forget that being able to see you abs has nothing to do with whether you train your abs. Having visible abs is all bodyfat related. Every human on the planet has abdominal muscles, it's just whether they are lean enough for you to see them.
    and developed enough
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    Registered User Xpiro's Avatar
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    I’m not lean enough atm to see my lower abs but I like my uppers to pop, cable crunches seem to do the trick @ 6 sets per week. I also do a set of amrap dragon flags at the end of each leg workout, sometimes weighted (but that started giving me headaches and busted capillaries...???), sometimes with pauses, sometimes super slow negs with either super slow or explosive concentrics and sometimes moderate speed for high high reps. That’s mostly bracing practice, total body cooperation and fun though. I don’t think they hit my uppers that well.
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    I think it depends on how strong you are and how much weight you are able to dead lift and squat. If you can only do your body weight like say you weigh 180 and are only deadlifting 180 prob won’t put much strain on your abs. But the heavier you go prob the more you’ll feel it /benefit from it ab wise
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    MG5 is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) MG5 is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) MG5 is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) MG5 is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) MG5 is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) MG5 is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) MG5 is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) MG5 is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) MG5 is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) MG5 is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) MG5 is a splendid one to behold. (+10000)
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    It's a muscle that can be developed to look better, so yes. Usually 2 times a week, just one exercise of 3-4 sets.

    I'm sure you guys have seen it - a guy who gets lean and still hardly as visible abs that look impressive. They're just underdeveloped. Yes, genetics play the biggest role in regards to ab shape, but you can make them pop more, deeper cuts, look better by training them.

    Compounds will also hit them hard, but direct work won't hurt, but I do think too much is sort of a waste of time. So that's why it's 2x a week 6-8 total sets for the week for me.

    Usually those with more developed abs will have more visible abs at higher body fat percentages as well. So you'll look leaner than you actually are.
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  22. #22
    Registered User TheShadowMan's Avatar
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    Train what you wanna gain.
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  23. #23
    Registered User Casca's Avatar
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    I'm back and forth on this. Training core directly would help with my planche and front lever progression. But I think progressing on my planche and front lever trains my core, so I should just do planche and front lever progression.
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