Tip: Garhammer for Strong Abs

It might hurt to breathe the day after you do this, but you'll like the results.


Drop sets are always part of a bodybuilder's program, but you don't see them used often for ab training. Well, you should.

As a refresher, a drop set is where you start with a heavier weight or percentage of your own bodyweight, then drop to something a little easier and continue until you reach near-technical failure. Here's one way to do it for abs:

The "Lower" Ab Blast

  • A1. Decline Bench Garhammer Crunch x 8-15
  • A2. Flat Garhammer Raise x AMGRAP

Do three rounds of these. What does AMGRAP mean? As many GOOD reps as possible. Don't keep cranking away with bad form.

Garhammer raise variations are great for hitting the function of the lower portion of your rectus abdominis, working it hard in its active range (through posterior pelvic tilt). They were invented by sports scientist John Garhammer, PhD, and popularized by the late Charles Poliquin.

Using them as a drop-set is a good way to combine a more challenging, higher load variation with an easier version. This means you'll hit the golden rep range for building those abs, achieve a longer time under tension, and fatigue more motor units.

If these are too easy, then straighten your knees more. You can also vary the incline of the bench (more incline = harder). Be sure to keep your toes pointed inwards and focus on working the active range at the top – think butt off floor.

Gareth Sapstead is a leading strength and physique coach from the UK. He specializes in problem solving and breakthrough training techniques.

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