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    Is ab work really necessary?

    G'day.

    I've read that if you are focusing on strength you need to do direct ab work so that it balances out with a strong lower back. I've also read elsewhere that direct ab work doesn't do anything to stabilise your lower back- doing exercises like deadlifts, squats and military press will force the ab stabilisers to grow as needed.

    Which is correct? Do you need to do direct ab work? I don't really like doing ab work because I've already got a six pack and Im worried that if my ab muscles get much bigger Im just going to look fat.
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    People's Champ Stu Pidasso's Avatar
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    Yes you do need to do direct ab work. Abdominal muslces do get hit when you do deadlift and squats. Then again so do pectoral muscles when you bench. Yet nobody ever asks if dumbell flyes or cable crossovers are needed to directly hit the pectorals. Ab work is not glamorous and never is fun. You must think of your body like a machine with many parts. Everything needs to be trained and needs to be given thought and respect. A weak abdomin will help you get a inured back and an unstable torso. Train your abs from multiple angles and train them every workout. Flex your abs when you work them and use correct posture when you are lifting. It is possible to get a muscle gut but can be avoided if you are wise. You also do not have to nuke your abs when you work them. A good burn, on a regular basis will keep them tight and in tune.
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    how do you avoid a muscle gut?
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    Originally Posted by Nickdude
    how do you avoid a muscle gut?
    to avoid the bulging abs is simple, stay away from weighted ab exercises. also, definetly do not do weight oblique exercises as it makes your waist appear to be a lot bigger
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    u know, weighted ab moves aren't necessarily a bad idea. what exactly do you consider to be a "muscle gut"? if ur referring to what ronnie coleman has, then weighted ab moves wont give u that by a long shot
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    Originally Posted by Stu Pidasso
    Yet nobody ever asks if dumbell flyes or cable crossovers are needed to directly hit the pectorals.
    I'll ask this, and answer it also: many people don't need flyes or crossovers for chest, and many don't need direct ab work either.
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    Hey guys lets stay on topic here please :P

    Originally Posted by HoosierBoy
    and many don't need direct ab work either.
    Can you expand on that?
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    I can not say as I have ever met anyone bodybuilder, powerlifter, olympic lifter, or weekend bada$$ that did not need or do support type excercises. You can do what you want with your body but if you do not hit all of your muscle groups and hit them from multitple angles you will plateau and can eventually get injured.
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    Originally Posted by Stu Pidasso
    I can not say as I have ever met anyone bodybuilder, powerlifter, olympic lifter, or weekend bada$$ that did not need or do support type excercises. You can do what you want with your body but if you do not hit all of your muscle groups and hit them from multitple angles you will plateau and can eventually get injured.
    Thanks for the replies mate and they are duly noted. I would also like thoughts from others as well.
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    JLC does heavy weighted ab/oblique work. Tell him his waist is too big


    If you don't strengthen opposing muscle groups, injury can happen. If youfocus on bench work and neglect external rotations, your chances for a rotator cuff injury is greater. Abs and obliques are a critcal muscle group for squats and deads.
    I don't know either lol
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    I dont think they are essential to an advanced lifters program, but should still be done, maybe 4-6 sets per week.
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    Originally Posted by Carmen0857
    I dont think they are essential to an advanced lifters program, but should still be done, maybe 4-6 sets per week.
    Don't the Westside guys do direct ab work?
    I don't know either lol
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    Thumbs up

    Originally Posted by W8isGR8
    Don't the Westside guys do direct ab work?


    Ab work may or may not be necessary to look good; certainly many compound exercises use the abdominals in some way. However, strong abs will do wonders for those same exercises. Look at it this way: deadlifts build muscle, and the more you can deadlift, the more mucle you can build. Training the abs will increase your deadlift strength. Therefore, strengthening your abs will allow you to build more muscle everywhere. Same thing with squats, and to a lesser extent even pullups, dips, etc.

    And why train your abs differently than you train anything else? We laugh at guys doing 21s, knowing that they don't do **** for strength or size. And then we turn right around and do similar high rep sets for our abs. Heavy, weighted ab work is the best way to build strength, and thus build muscle throughout the body.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams
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    Originally Posted by rockhuddy


    Ab work may or may not be necessary to look good; certainly many compound exercises use the abdominals in some way. However, strong abs will do wonders for those same exercises. Look at it this way: deadlifts build muscle, and the more you can deadlift, the more mucle you can grow. Training the abs will increase your deadlift strength. Therefore, strong abs will allow you to build more muscle everywhere. Same thing with squats, and to a lesser extent even pullups, dips, etc.

    And why train your abs differently than you train anything else? We laugh at guys doing 21s, knowing that they don't do **** for strength or size. And then we turn right around and do similar high rep sets for our abs. Heavy, weighted ab work is the best way to build strength, and thus build muscle throughout the body.
    ^^^^^^^^^

    What he said
    I don't know either lol
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    Originally Posted by W8isGR8
    Don't the Westside guys do direct ab work?
    Yea, depends on the goals, I said you should do it, you don't have to, what I mean is I don't beleive it should be a main focus.
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    Originally Posted by Carmen0857
    Yea, depends on the goals, I said you should do it, you don't have to, what I mean is I don't beleive it should be a main focus.
    You're right it does depend on your goals.

    Do you want to be small and weak, or big and strong?
    I don't know either lol
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    Originally Posted by rockhuddy


    Ab work may or may not be necessary to look good; certainly many compound exercises use the abdominals in some way. However, strong abs will do wonders for those same exercises. Look at it this way: deadlifts build muscle, and the more you can deadlift, the more mucle you can build. Training the abs will increase your deadlift strength. Therefore, strengthening your abs will allow you to build more muscle everywhere. Same thing with squats, and to a lesser extent even pullups, dips, etc.

    And why train your abs differently than you train anything else? We laugh at guys doing 21s, knowing that they don't do **** for strength or size. And then we turn right around and do similar high rep sets for our abs. Heavy, weighted ab work is the best way to build strength, and thus build muscle throughout the body.
    Awesome youve convinced me
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    Originally Posted by olympic
    Awesome youve convinced me
    IMO, some good ab exercises are

    Obliques- one armed deadlifts
    Abs- Cable crunches w/ab straps(attatch ab straps to pull-down bar)
    I don't know either lol
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    Originally Posted by W8isGR8
    IMO, some good ab exercises are

    Obliques- one armed deadlifts
    Abs- Cable crunches w/ab straps(attatch ab straps to pull-down bar)
    Thanks mate I was just wondering about that! Its like your read my mind
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    Originally Posted by Stu Pidasso
    Ab work is not glamorous and never is fun.

    You can say that again.
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    Originally Posted by W8isGR8
    IMO, some good ab exercises are

    Obliques- one armed deadlifts
    Abs- Cable crunches w/ab straps(attatch ab straps to pull-down bar)
    I like cable crunches a lot too, and hanging leg raises are also a great fall-back.

    Here's another really good exercise that hits the abs and obliques, as well as the hip flexors. Sit with your back a few feet away from a wall, holding a med ball, preferably a soft one. Throw the ball behind you, against the wall, as hard as you can. Then, pick it back up, twist at the torso, and repeat on the other side. Try to keep your feet off of the ground when you do this.
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    i'd say do weighted ab work but at the same time, do planks and vacuums and other stuff to tighten your transverse abdominus so it doesnt sag.
    "Lift big weight, eat much food" - W8
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    For a while I didn't do any direct ab work. I then ended up with a spine misalignment because my lower back was too strong for my abdominals. My chiropracter immediately told me to start doing direct ab work. So the answer is yes....you need to do it. It may not be fun, but suck it up.

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    pali012 is just really nice. (+1000) pali012 is just really nice. (+1000) pali012 is just really nice. (+1000) pali012 is just really nice. (+1000) pali012 is just really nice. (+1000) pali012 is just really nice. (+1000) pali012 is just really nice. (+1000) pali012 is just really nice. (+1000) pali012 is just really nice. (+1000) pali012 is just really nice. (+1000) pali012 is just really nice. (+1000)
    pali012 is offline
    Originally Posted by Still_Shruggin
    For a while I didn't do any direct ab work. I then ended up with a spine misalignment because my lower back was too strong for my abdominals. My chiropracter immediately told me to start doing direct ab work. So the answer is yes....you need to do it. It may not be fun, but suck it up.

    -Grimface
    EXACTLY!!!
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