Understand Why You're Doing Ab Work

Many people love performing a lot of high rep ab work because the burn they get in their abs makes them feel nice and tight. There's something about performing endless sets of high repetition ab exercises that makes people feel good. The stomach "feels" slimmer and tighter, even though it's only temporary.

Even people aware of the spot reduction myth still enjoy performing lots of ab work for this reason. However, your main goal should be to make those ab muscles bigger so they "pop out." Thenyou get the waist lean and tight through diet and overall exercise so those new muscles can shine through.

Think of it this way... Let's say you wanted to get more muscular biceps. So you go and pick up a 5-pound dumbbell and knock out 100 reps of curls. Your biceps feel nice, firm and pumped up right? But how much muscle are you going to build compared to picking up a 20-pound dumbbell and knocking out a set of 10 heavy curls? If you connect the dots back to the abs, you should be able to see the big picture.

Treat The Abs Like Any Other Muscle Group

It's still a big myth that the abs need a ton of repetitions. It's not uncommon to see people do 100 reps per set, performing exercises for minutes on end. However, the abdominals respond to resistance just like any other muscle group.

Since the range of motion on many ab exercises is shorter than something like a squat or bench press, a higher rep range can be used. But if you can perform any exercise for longer than a minute straight, you're not recruiting the type of muscle fiber that will lead to great ab stimulation.

Prioritize Basic Movements in the Gym

Many lifters and other athletes like boxers & gymnasts develop excellent core musculature without ever performing any ab exercises at all. If you perform big money movements like standing presses, deadlifts and squats, you can't help but activate your core.

Almost all single-legged movements, like lunges, are excellent for core activation. So are exercises like isometric planks, side planks, running sprints, and push-up variations.

Stimulate, Don't Annihilate

Remember, the goal with ab training is to get the abdominal muscles a little bigger so they pop out. Even when developed to the max, these muscles aren't very big because their potential for growth is limited. It doesn't take a ton of volume to stimulate them.

A total of 12 solid sets per week of direct ab work should be more than enough for anyone. Most people can actually get excellent results performing two or three sets twice per week. I prefer to pick two exercises, two or three days each week, and perform three to four sets of each movement.

weighted rope crunch
cable wood chop at med, high and low cable settings
dumbbell side bend superset
wheel.......bottom line get creative not crazy.