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FamilyBeer

Reps for abs exercises

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I want to build up strength in my core. However, I'm not sure, if I want to push myself, to do fewer sets with more reps, such as 3x20, or increase the difficulty (with weights) with more sets and less reps such as 5x5.

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For pure strength I'd go with lower reps higher difficulty. Also what exercises are you doing? If we know that we can probably suggest other exercises that are more difficult and will achieve your goal.

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Right now, I'm doing a mixture of stuff but I thought that I might do:

  1. dip-station (or hanging from a pull-up bar) knee-raises because, for added difficulty, I could hold a dumbbell between my feet;
  2. Russian twists, with a medicine ball;
  3. cable twists, with more weight on the stack; and
  4. something else, perhaps crunches over a ball with a plate behind my head.

My idea is that #1 and #4 are to work upper and lower abs and #2 and #3 for the obliques and then do one of the upper/lower and one of the obliques on one day and the other two on another day.

 

Anything you can suggest would be appreciated.

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Instead of the dumbbell between your feet for the hanging knee-raises, try to work up to hanging straight leg raises. Legs are as straight as possible and toes touch the bar (lower abdominals).

 

Windshield Wipers are a great advanced exercise for your obliques.

 

Hanging from the bar with your legs and doing upside-down sit-ups emphasizes your upper abdominals.

 

There is also lots of cool advanced exercises that you could work up to, like dragon flags, L-sits, front levers, etc.

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Thanks BaconHunter but I'm not at an advanced stage, more of a beginner but I just want to do ab exercises in such a way that I will increase strength, although the straight leg raises is something that I could work on.

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Have you tried windshield wipers with your back on the ground? How about jack knives?

 

One of the best core exercises there is: The Plank. Because it targets not only your abdominals but also your lower back and requires tension development throughout your whole body.

 

If you are working with weights, try to do the big lifts like squats and deadlifts. Chin-ups are also a very good abs exercise when performed with strict form (meaning you maintain a straight body throughout the movement).

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I'm currently doing the Stronglifts 5x5 program (squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, barbell rows) and although they say that your abs do get a workout and stronger with this program alone, I just wanted to improve on it by adding abs workout and since Stronglifts is about getting stronger (not specifically about bodybuilding shape), I felt that I would like to find things to do with my abs that will help them get stronger too.

 

I hate the plank but if you recommend it, I'll do it. I don't like it because it is an inactive "exercise".

 

Chin ups? What about pull ups?

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 the straight leg raises is something that I could work on.

I started out with hanging knee raises.  To progress with this exercise bring your knees as high as possible, try to get them to chest level.   

 

Pull ups and chin up work the core more if you use the hollow body position.  A cheap option, ab wheel roll outs.  I think my ab wheel was like $7.

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The hollow body position itself is a great exercise on its own for abs: Lie with your back on the ground. Lengthen your whole body by reaching over your head with your arms. Now lift up your legs and arms just slightly. Your body should now look a bit like a banana. This is such a cool exercise because it teaches good posture for handstands, pull-ups/chin-ups and overall posture.

 

If you practiced the hollow body a bit on the ground, you will now how it "feels". Now hang from a bar and try to achieve a hollow body position while hanging. Maintaining this position during chins/pull-ups will blast your abs.

 

Chins or pull-ups are both great, chins put more emphasis on your biceps while pull-ups work the lats more.

 

But if you are doing the StrongLifts 5x5, I wouldn't recommend doing too much supplemental work. If I where you and I had the desire to do extra abs work, I would do it on my off days and pick only 1 or 2 exercises that I really want to improve on.

 

I'd say pick simple exercises like hanging leg raises and windshield wipers. But choose exercises you like to do. Don't only listen to some random guy on a forum. The best exercise is the one you will regularly do.

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For what it's worth, Hanging Leg Raises, Ab Wheel or Barbell rollouts, and Hollow Body positions are my favorite ab exercises.

 

I had incredible soreness in my abs when I first started doing really heavy (315lbs+) squat walkouts, though that's not necessarily a good indicator.

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