Ab Training — Not Just a Pre-contest Thing

Ab Training — Not Just a Pre-contest Thing

It’s very common for bodybuilders to avoid ab training entirely in the off-season, only grudgingly working them in the final 10-12 weeks before a contest. Ab training ranks up there with cardio as one of those boring necessary evils at times.

1) Floor Crunches

4 sets of 15-20 reps

Every ab workout starts with some type of crunch, the most basic of all abdominal movements and one that requires absolutely no equipment. Even though the rep range is listed as 15-20 for the sake of simplicity, reps typically start off higher and diminish slightly as the sets proceed. something like 25-30 reps, 20-25, 15-20 and 15-20

2) Rope Crunches

4 sets of 15-20 reps

Rope crunches are a very common ab movement, but a common mistake people make is facing toward the weight stack. Facing away and positioning your body a bit further away to allow for a full stretch of the abs yields far better results. Any muscle should be worked through a full range of motion; that includes a good stretch as well as a good contraction, even for abs. As for the reps, some people do like to sink the pin pretty far down the stack and do sets of 8-10 with heavier weights. I don’t always. To me the abs are kind of like the calves— until I get to at least 15 reps I don’t feel any kind of pump and burn at all.

3) Reverse Hyperextensions

3 sets of 15-20 reps

With your hands behind your head, lowers your torso until your able to see behind yourself, which stretches the core completely, before coming up and crunching your abs together as you look down at your feet.

4) Hanging Leg Raises

3-4 sets of 15 reps

Few abdominal exercises are as tough as hanging leg raise, because you must work against the natural weight of your legs to get each rep out. Do these either hanging, or on the bottomless elevated chair (Roman chair) on which you support your bodyweight on your elbows and forearms. In either version, raise your legs straight up until they reach your lower abdomen and you feel your core contract.

5) Leg and Hip Raises Off Bench

3-4 sets of 15 reps

If you don’t do hanging leg raises, you can opt for something that’s actually even tougher. Leg and Hip raises should be performed by holding on to the bench behind your head and bringing your legs and hips up and back toward your head. 

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