The abdominals are unlike every other body part. With muscle groups such as chest, back, or shoulders, you make the best gains from a series of heavy sets. You lift as much weight as you can for 6, 8 or 10 repetitions, and you only complete a total of 8 to 20 sets per muscle group. The abdominals are very much different. You see much better results from abdominal training when you train them more frequently, with little to no weight, and much higher repetitions.
Upper and lower days
You should be training your abdominal muscles every 48 hours. The first workout, on Monday for example, should entail mostly upper abdominal exercises such as the crunch. The second workout, on Wednesday, would focus upon the lower abdominals. Exercises for this lower area would include lying leg raises and frog kicks. When Friday rolls around, you would then switch back to upper abs. Take your weekend off and return on Monday with new sets for lower abs, effectively reversing your days every other week.
Caution with the broomstick twists
Many trainers, particularly those with a “spare tire” on their midsection, will spend a great deal of time completing broomstick twists. This movement is very effective for building up the obliques, but using this movement over time with any weight more than a standard broomstick can lead to a thickening of the obliques.
Count the minutes, not the reps
It may benefit you to turn on some music, set up a room for abdominal training, and just forget about the clock. Train by the song or by the minute, but never by the repetition. Those first 20 or 30 repetitions are simply for maintenance. In the days or Arnold and Bill Pearl, the men would just train 30 minutes of Roman chair sit-ups followed by 30 minutes of leg raises. The advent of growth hormone and fat burners such as DNP and Clen have made it so that today’s guys can get good abs without all that cardio. You don’t have these tools at your disposal, but you do have the ability to train hard for long period of time.
Hanging leg raises
This movement is often neglected by many bodybuilders because it is a very painful exercise to complete. You are hanging from a bar, and then you bring your legs up to parallel with the floor. The movement delivers a level of hardness and depth and is perhaps the most effective ab movement. Don’t exclude them from your program!
Does it work? Yes and no. You cannot reduce the body fat in a particular area by training it. However, at the same time, developing a muscle group will give it some thickness and therefore visual depth. A bodybuilder at 10% body fat who trains abs will have a MUCH better midsection than a bodybuilder at 10% who does not. They’ll be equally lean, but the fact that the first bodybuilder trains abs will display a much greater 8-pack.