Fallacies and misconceptions are everywhere in the fitness blogosphere, but they seem to show up most prominently when it comes time to train the midsection (aka, abs and/or core). Well, I’m here to shed a little light on the subject and offer up one of my favorite abs/core workouts.
Here’s the deal: Everyone should be training their abs/core as intensely as any other muscle group. You should also be periodizing your ab training, just as Jim does in all of his programs. Don’t get caught up in all the bro science out there. You know what I’m talking about: “You should train abs every day … you don’t need to train abs if you’re squatting and deadlifting heavy … only do body weight with high reps … yada, yada, yada.”
I’ve heard them all and they’re all wrong! You should train abs with light weight and high reps, heavy weight and low reps, and everything in between. It’s a muscle! Your core consists of the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, lower back and obliques. Your core is a major player in your three main lifts, so you have to make it strong too!
I want to share one of my killer ab/core workouts that I either tack onto the end of my workouts (if I have time) or perform on an off day from the gym. When I do core workouts on regular training days, I’ll shorten them, but this one is for an off day:
JYM Girl Abs/Core Workout
Supersets: 4 sets
Cable Crunch, 6-8 reps
Reverse Crunches (body weight, until failure)
Supersets: 4 sets
Hanging Leg Raises, 10-20 reps*
Low Back Extensions, 10-20 reps
*Add ankle weights or hold a dumbbell in between your feet if needed.
Supersets: 3 sets
Dumbbell Side Bends, 6-8 reps
Plank Hold, to failure
Drop Set Crunches: 4 sets
Weighted Crunches, 30 reps
Grab a 10-lb, 25-lb or 35-lb plate (depending on your fitness level) and place it behind your head. Once you hit failure weighted, drop the weight and do regular crunches to failure. Repeat this for 4 sets. Don’t aggressively swing your neck with these. Do a regular crunching motion, but with more weight.
Barbell Rollout or Ab Wheel, 3 sets to failure
Glute Ham Developer, 5 sets of 5 reps (go heavy here)
GHDs works your hamstrings and glutes mainly, but they also hit your lower back. That’s why I throw it in with my core exercises, usually at the end of my workouts.