Ab Training Season!

It is that time of year again. Ab Season has arrived. As warm weather approaches people from around the world rush to gyms in quest of the ultimate six pack. Check out these two sample workouts to help you get the chizzled abs you have always wanted!
It is that time of year again. Ab Season has arrived. As warm weather approaches people from around the world rush to gyms in quest of the ultimate six pack. Most of them have no concern in developing other body parts. They just care about developing those rippling abs. "I just want to concentrate on toning my abs". If I had a dime for every time I have heard that statement I would be a billionaire. In the following article I would like to discuss the role the abs play in movement and dispel some of the myths surrounding abdominal training.

The abdominals consist of the rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques, and transverse abdominus. The primary role of the rectus abdominus is trunk flexion. Trunk flexion occurs when the sternum approaches the pelvis. The obliques form the middle layer of the abdominal wall. They are involved in trunk flexion and rotation (crunches and russian twists). The deepest layers of the abdominal wall are called the transverse abdominus. These muscles serve as one of the primary respiratory muscles. The abdominals are constantly activated as they stabilize the torso during most movements. Some coaches say as ab strength increases total body strength will also increase.

Abdominal & Trunk Exercise

  • Straight leg crunches - Greatly inhibit hip flexor stimulation
  • High rep ab training has minimal effects of strengthening the abs
  • Hanging leg raises or knee raises are a poor abdominal movement
  • Do not neglect training the lower back
  • Lower backs are weak generally because they are not exercised not because of weak abs
  • Lumbar stress and hip flexor activity increase when the legs are held or anchored
  • Beyond 30 degrees above horizontal the abdominals become less active as the hip flexors become prime movers
  • Ab training does not reduce fat around the waistline
  • Maximal sit-up repetitions are a test of hip flexor endurance
  • Leg throw downs can produce a large torque on the hips and great stress on the lumbar region
  • Side bends activate the side flexors (quadratus lumborum)
  • Sit-ups tend to be safer when performed in a slow manner
  • Sucking in the abs does not enhance the quality of ab training
  • Do not train the abs everyday
  • To strengthen the abs add resistance
  • The abs are predominantly slow twitch fiber. They can usually be trained more often than most other bodyparts
  • The abdominals are one bodypart do not neglect the remainder of the body
  • Low bodyfat levels determine the definition of the abs
  • The overwhelming majority of ab infomercial devices are ineffective

It is important to train the abdominal region, but it is just as important to train the lower back.

Ab Training

Sample Workout #1

Print Sample Ab Workout #1 HERE!

Sample Workout #2

  • 2 warm-up sets of 12 Ab Crunch Machine
  • 2 failure sets of 8-12 reps Ab Crunch Machine
  • 1 warm-up set of 12 reps of Crunches
  • 2 failure sets of 8-12 reps of Crunches (do on decline bench or with weight on chest is extra resistance is needed)
  • 1 failure set of Side Crunches 12-20 reps (to both sides)
  • 2 sets of 30+ reps of Trunk Twists

Print Sample Ab Workout #2 HERE!

It should also be noted that serious bodybuilders who are training with a focus towards competing should practice vacuums. These are very impressive when done onstage and help one achieve great abdominal control. They can also help tighten the waist a bit.

Amazing Abdominal Articles!

For more information or other ab workout programs, check out these Bodybuilding.com articles. They will continue to educate, motivate, and help you achieve the rock hard stomach your looking for through training, proper nutrition, and other specialized areas that factor into a great six-pack!


I hope I have helped clear up some long-standing abdominal myths and pointed you in the right direction for achieving your summer abs!


Hale, J, P(2000) Optimum Physique. Jamie Hale
Hale,J, P(2001) Real Strength Training for Boxers. www.halesoptimumphysique.com
Siff, M, C,(2000) Facts and Fallacies of Fitness. Mel Siff.
Staley,C,I,(1999) The Science of Martial Arts Training. Multi-Media Books.
Copyright 2002 Jamie Hale