Tip: Do Blitz Cycles for Abs

Here's how to program your ab workouts for better results.

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Abs Are Made in the Kitchen... and the Gym

Your abs are just like any other muscle group: in order really see them, they have to be built. In other words, you have to hypertrophy them. It's not JUST about losing fat. Thick abs will be visible even when your body fat percentage creeps up. So what really works when it comes to ab training? Blitz cycles.

Train your abs in short, concentrated training cycles lasting two weeks. The rest of the time, don't train them directly. (Don't worry, they'll still be stimulated indirectly during other exercises: loaded carries, overhead presses, etc.) Why? Because after about two weeks, abs abruptly stop responding to training.

It looks like this:

  • 2 Week Blitz: Hit abs every day. Do 4-5 sets of a superset that consists of one weighted and one un-weighted exercise.
  • 4-6 Weeks "Off" Ab Training: Perform no direct ab work during this time.

Choose the ab exercises you can "feel" the most. Pick one exercise where you use some type of external resistance (weighted) and one exercise where no external load is used (unweighted). Here's an example:

  • A1. Cable Crunch: 8-10 reps
  • A2. Swiss Ball Crunch: max reps (slow tempo, keep abs tensed throughout the set)

This is a superset so you do one set of the weighted exercise and then, without rest, one set of the unweighted exercise. Perform the superset 3-5 times.

  • B1. Pullover Crunch: 8-10 reps
  • B2. Garhammer Raise: x max reps, slow tempo

Perform the superset 3-5 times.

Setting up your ab training in blitz cycles also helps you to build a better mind-muscle connection with the abdominals, making your abs more responsive in the future.

Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.