There is a big misconception when it comes to abdominal training. You often hear that in order to trim your waistline you need to do countless high rep sets of crunches and you need to train your abs frequently throughout the week. This is simply not true. You can’t spot reduce fat around your waist no matter how many reps you do so forget about it.
To have great abs you need two things: one is good abdominal muscular development and the second is a low level of body fat. Neither of these ingredients is accomplished by frequent high rep ab training.
For increasing abdominal muscular development you need to approach ab training as you do training for any other body part. If you want to increase development, you need to train the area with resistance. We recommend overloading the abs in an 6-10 rep range. A slightly higher rep range is used compared to the normal Max-OT 4-6 reps for a couple of reason: so you can effectively overload the abs while maintaining good form and feel during every rep and maintain tension on the abs and to reduce the chance of injury due to undue stress on your lower back in some ab exercises.
I usually choose cable crunches and weighted leg rises as my primary ab exercises. I perform 2 or 3 sets of cable crunches along with 2 sets of weighted leg raises. I think 4 or 5 total sets of direct overload for abs is plenty, especially when you consider the amount of work abs get all week long stabilizing your body during heavy compound lifts.
Cable crunches are a great muscle builder because it allows for high overload without stressing the lower back. Leg raises really target the lower abs but stress the lower back a bit. You can do hanging leg raises but they are a bit tricky to overload.
As for frequency, direct ab training once or twice a week is plenty. Again, abs get a lot of work all week long stabilizing your body so twice a week with direct overload will guard against over-training and spur greater results. Do think for a minute you can directly train abs every day and get the results you are looking for. Abs can be over-trained like any other muscle group.
After increasing abdominal muscular development by continually executing intelligent Max-OT training you need to focus on the other ingredient for great abs which is shedding body fat. This important ingredient is accomplished with attention to diet and intense Max-OT Cardio.
If you are smart and consistent with your diet and cardio, you’ll melt away the fat and the abdominal muscles you’ve worked hard to develop will be visible. The end result will be an awesome set of rock hard abs.
To see how to fit ab training into your weekly workout schedule sign up for the Max-OT Series.