Here is all the information you need to know about training abs!

And if you dont want to read, you can just check out this video!


Exercises and movement patterns

There are 2 types of exercises that you can include in your ab workout.


1. Main exercise

2. Secondary exercise


Out of both of these types of exercises, only the main exercise is mandatory, the secondary exercise is optional.

More about that down below.


Main exercise

The reason why i call it the „main exercise“ is because this exercise will be something like the bench press is for the chest.

In a sense, that our primary focus will be on getting stronger, while also using a lower rep range.

The exercises that you should use for the main exercise, are for example the cable crunch, the machine crunch, the weighted sit up, or any other ab exercise that you effectively load.

The ability to EFFECTIVELY LOAD the exercise is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL, because thats exactly what is gonna be responsible for growing your abs.


Secondary exercise

For the secondary exercise i recommend using an exercise that is not weighted, because you will be doing it after the main exercise, which means that you will be significantly weaker.

My number one choice for the secondary exercise would be the chair or the hanging leg/knee raise, because these exercises are more focused on the lower abs, while most of the main exercises that i mentioned are focused more on the upper abs.


So if you used for example the cable crunch as your main exercise, and the hanging leg raise as your secondary exercise, then you would get a nice mix of both the upper and the lower abs.


But its not really THAT important, you can just use any other exercise that you like.

The only requirement that this exercise has to meet, is that its not too difficult for you, because you will still need to be able to do a decent amount of reps with it.

Its cool if you can do a dragon flag, but if you can do it for only like 3 reps, then its not really going to be that helpful.


Two ab training methods

At the beggining of this article i said, that only the main exercise is mandatory.

And that the secondary exercise is optional.

Which means, that there are basically 2 different training methods that you can choose from.


1. Method 

The first method of training abs, is all about doing just the main exercise.

If you choose this option, then you will pick one of the main exercises that i was talking about, and you will do that exercise 2-4 times per week.

In each one of those workouts, you will do the main exercise for 3sets.

You can for example add it as the last exercise of your workout, it will be a nice cherry on top.

Because we know that we will train abs 2-4 times per week, and each one of those days is going to be consisted of 3 sets of the main ab exercise, we can easily deduce, that the recommended amount of sets per week, will be at least 6 all the way to 12 sets per week.

And when it comes to the rep ranges, we will use the 8-15 rep range.

This rep range is ideal for what we are trying to achieve with the main exercise.

Overall, i highly recommend this method, as it is really time-efficent, and will for sure deliver the results that you are looking for.


2. Method

This method adds the secondary exercise into the mix.

You will also do the secondary exercise for 3 sets, but the rep range will be a little bit different then on the main exercise.

Because as i said at the start, the secondary exercise should be some kind of a bodyweight exercise that you can manage to do for a decent amount of reps, even after you are a little bit tired from the main exercise that you did before.

Which means, that the rep range that we will use for the secondary exercise, should be roughly somewhere between 12 and 20 reps.

But other than that, everything else stays the same.

I would recommend this method only to the people who REALLY want to prioritize training abs.

Because it is significantly more time-consuming, so unless abs are your absolute number 1 priority, then just stick with the first method.


Example of both methods



Training obliques

As you could see, i did not inlude any exercises for the obliques, in any of the two methods.

So you might be asking, „why?“

The answer depends a lot on who you are, and what you do.

If you are someone, who only goes to the gym, and you dont do any sports or any other athletic activities, then you just dont need to train obliques, there is no need.

You might actually even want to avoid it.

Just because it will make your waist look a little bit thicker, which is not the desired look for most of the people that want to make their physique look as good as possible.

Most people want to achieve the „v-taper“ look.

But when you waist gets thicker, you start to go from the V shape, to more of an X shape.


Which just doesnt look as  good, because you start to lose that illusion of a wide back and broad shoulders.

You also have to keep in mind, that genetics also play a huge role.

If you naturally have a really small waist, then training obliques will not really mess up your „v taper“.

But if your waist has always been a litle thicker, then i would highly recommend against training obliques, because at that point, you are just doing yourself a disservice.

Granted, the waist thickening effects are not that dramatic.

It just really depends on the individual.

But on the other hand, if you are more of an athlete, and not just a gym rat, then training obliques actually makes a whole lot of sense.

Imagine that you are for example a rugby player, and you have to throw the ball to the side really fast.

Of course that having strong obliques is gonna benefit you.

There is no doubt about that.

If you find yourself in a situation, that you want to, or need to train obliques, you can put the oblique exercise in the second method that i showed you earlier.

Place it right here, in the place of the secondary exercise.


And if you want a recommendation of which oblique exercise to do, you can for example try the russian twist, or the cable twist, both are great.



Visible abs with higher bf%

A lot of people seem to think, that the only way to have visible abs, is to be absolutely shredded, but thats not the case.

You can still have visible abs, even when you are a bit fluffy.

Obviously you cant be like 40% bodyfat..but something like 15-20% bodyfat is absolutely realistic.

This kind of bodyfat percentage is actually really easy to maintain once you are there.

Which is great, because if you have ever dieted to like 10% bodyfat or lower, you know how miserable it feels, and most importantly how unsustainable it is.

Thats why its so important to build big and strong abs.

When you get to the point, where you can for example do the cable crunch with the full stack, WITH GOOD FORM i must add, then there is absolutely no way that you would not have visible abs, even if you are a little fluffier.

Thats why the approach of having a main exercise is so beneficial.

If you kept on doing those 5 minute ab routines, without ever progressing in any way, you would have never gotten those bulging abs, that can be seen, even through a layer of fat.

Thats all you need to know about training abs!


Try applying all of this knowledge to your training plan, and im sure that you will see much better results..or you can just try one of my training plans!

And if you still have any questions about this topic, or about anything else that is related to bodybuilding, join my Patreon, and i will answer all of your questions!

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