Downside to no direct ab training?

jemhh
jemhh Posts: 14,273 Member
edited January 2017 in Fitness and Exercise
I directly train abs very intermittently. I'll decide I need to do it and stick with using the ab roller a couple of days a week for several weeks. Then I will have to leave it out due to running out of time for one or two workouts and then then thought of doing it leaves my head entirely for several months.

My question is...if my goals do not include visible abs, is there a downside to not doing direct ab training? My lifting is centered around compound lifts. I deadlift and squat 2+ times a week and believe that I have good core strength from those exercises.
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Replies

  • ew_david
    ew_david Posts: 3,474 Member
    I do it because my core is weak as hell despite doing compound lifts for several years (obv did it wrong). It was recommended by my physical therapist that I strengthen my core (and glutes) to stave off my back pain.
  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,826 Member
    I have started to skip ab/core workouts, I hate them and honestly don't feel like they are worth my time. Compound lifts and yoga once per week is enough core stimulation for me.
  • KatzeDerNacht22
    KatzeDerNacht22 Posts: 210 Member
    I do some, like those you do hanging and raising your legs,well your hips, and planks, I love me plants, but deadlifts and other stuff I do surely get my abs hurting. That should do it
  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,430 Member
    I have the unpopular opinion in that I feel direct ab/core work is very beneficial. Yes, doing other movements and big compound exercises provide a good minimum amount of core work, but it is my belief that you can never have too strong a core. I'd rather have my core stronger than it needs to be, than let it be a weakness or limiting factor in other movements.
    L-sits, front/back/side levers, hollow body, arch, strict toes to bar and all the regressions for all of these movements are a staple for me, and I feel should be incorporated into more people's plan. I've also started to do a lot of rotational and anti-rotation movements.
  • trigden1991
    trigden1991 Posts: 4,659 Member
    rybo wrote: »
    I have the unpopular opinion in that I feel direct ab/core work is very beneficial. Yes, doing other movements and big compound exercises provide a good minimum amount of core work, but it is my belief that you can never have too strong a core. I'd rather have my core stronger than it needs to be, than let it be a weakness or limiting factor in other movements.
    L-sits, front/back/side levers, hollow body, arch, strict toes to bar and all the regressions for all of these movements are a staple for me, and I feel should be incorporated into more people's plan. I've also started to do a lot of rotational and anti-rotation movements.

    Out of interest is that beneficial for strength/athletic benefits rather than aesthetics?
  • tcunbeliever
    tcunbeliever Posts: 8,272 Member
    I do a fair bit of pilates and yoga, I consider core strength crucial to preventing back injury with age...plus I have a desk job and I find I don't have back aches and pains from sitting all day if I keep up my core work...and my posture is superb!
  • not_a_runner
    not_a_runner Posts: 1,343 Member
    rybo wrote: »
    I have the unpopular opinion in that I feel direct ab/core work is very beneficial. Yes, doing other movements and big compound exercises provide a good minimum amount of core work, but it is my belief that you can never have too strong a core. I'd rather have my core stronger than it needs to be, than let it be a weakness or limiting factor in other movements.
    L-sits, front/back/side levers, hollow body, arch, strict toes to bar and all the regressions for all of these movements are a staple for me, and I feel should be incorporated into more people's plan. I've also started to do a lot of rotational and anti-rotation movements.

    ^ Pretty much same.
    I have/had some anterior pelvic tilt issues, more core work has helped significantly. I do a lot of cable crunches, standing and kneeling. Trying to get more variety lately, planks + crunches had me crazy sore last week.
    I don't feel that I get that much just from compound movements most of the time, I like to add in hypertrophy for everything as well.
  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,430 Member
    rybo wrote: »
    I have the unpopular opinion in that I feel direct ab/core work is very beneficial. Yes, doing other movements and big compound exercises provide a good minimum amount of core work, but it is my belief that you can never have too strong a core. I'd rather have my core stronger than it needs to be, than let it be a weakness or limiting factor in other movements.
    L-sits, front/back/side levers, hollow body, arch, strict toes to bar and all the regressions for all of these movements are a staple for me, and I feel should be incorporated into more people's plan. I've also started to do a lot of rotational and anti-rotation movements.

    Out of interest is that beneficial for strength/athletic benefits rather than aesthetics?

    Purely strength/athletic (and long term spinal health). I'll never eat strict enough to worry about aesthetics.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,743 Member
    I would start by saying I regard abs as just part of your core.....

    One downside of not training your core directly might be that your compound lifts might not be as good as they could be.
    It's a two way street - compound lifts activate your core but having a strong core also helps your lifts.
    Of course it depends where a person's weak link in the chain is - so the balance of your exercise routine is personal.

    One of the key functions of core muscles is to help stabilise your spine and prevent injury.
    That's more important for me than others for sure as my spine is a bit of a mess, getting my core (including abs) strong was my key to being able to train effectively. YMMV.

    (BTW - I'm talking about functional strength and health, I'm too old be bothered by aesthetics!)
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,273 Member
    For the proponents of direct ab training--how much training do you feel is best?

    I feel like I spend a lot of my time doing the exercises that I need to do in order to have a balanced program rather than the ones I actually enjoy doing.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,273 Member
    Azdak wrote: »
    There is a (big) difference between "ab" work and "core" work. If we consider "ab work" to be primarily trunk flexion (e.g. Crunches), or planks, then, no, you arent' missing much if you don't do them.

    There are benefits to training the "core", but you want to do it the right way. This will give you an idea:

    https://www.t-nation.com/training/core-training-that-isnt-stupid

    As will this:

    https://www.t-nation.com/training/21st-century-core-training

    Thanks for the links. I don't even read articles about core training usually so those were helpful. I do landmine work and some carries that look like they would be core training.
  • ew_david
    ew_david Posts: 3,474 Member
    jemhh wrote: »
    For the proponents of direct ab training--how much training do you feel is best?

    I feel like I spend a lot of my time doing the exercises that I need to do in order to have a balanced program rather than the ones I actually enjoy doing.

    Someone linked this a while ago and I found it to be a huge help.

    http://jasonferruggia.com/gymnastic-secret-stronger-abs/

    I was doing the first movement at the end of my lower days, but never got through all 5 sets. I switched my programming around and now do core first...voila, I was able to get through it finally and moved onto the second movement this week. I just switched to the bodyweight Strong Curves program and do core work (1-3 moves) at the beginning of each workout. Don't know if that's right or wrong, but it works for me.
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,054 MFP Moderator
    rybo wrote: »
    I have the unpopular opinion in that I feel direct ab/core work is very beneficial. Yes, doing other movements and big compound exercises provide a good minimum amount of core work, but it is my belief that you can never have too strong a core. I'd rather have my core stronger than it needs to be, than let it be a weakness or limiting factor in other movements.
    L-sits, front/back/side levers, hollow body, arch, strict toes to bar and all the regressions for all of these movements are a staple for me, and I feel should be incorporated into more people's plan. I've also started to do a lot of rotational and anti-rotation movements.

    I share your opinion.


    I have dealt with some sciatica issues in the past from a weak core. Since then, I have dedicated some time to core movements as means to strengthen the muscles. In the past 2 years since I have started, I have yet to have any injuries. And I don't do a lot of core work. I do 3 sets of 3 moves (reps range from 10 to 25 per set).
  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,430 Member
    jemhh wrote: »
    For the proponents of direct ab training--how much training do you feel is best?

    I feel like I spend a lot of my time doing the exercises that I need to do in order to have a balanced program rather than the ones I actually enjoy doing.

    I'll do a little bit before almost every workout. Just a few minutes, a few moves right at the end of my warm up. Sometimes my off days I'll hit my core a little longer. I find "core work" easier to do if I have an end goal in mind. Namely owning all the lever movements. Front, back & side (aka human flag).
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,969 Member
    edited January 2017
    I developed visible ab definition for the 1st time in my life w/o doing any ab specific exercises. Just by losing weight/fat and doing DLs, SQTs, BPs, OHPs and Rows. Have also done quite a few pushups, pullups and dips which may also have helped.

    Crunches and sit-ups (especially those hyper-extensions on a GHD stand) actually can cause an injury to your spine. Exercises like the suitcase carry, Farmer's walk, overhead walks, offset deadlifts, etc. can help but are probably unnecessary if you're already doing DLs, SQTs, BPs, OHPs and Rows regularly.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,273 Member
    rybo wrote: »
    jemhh wrote: »
    For the proponents of direct ab training--how much training do you feel is best?

    I feel like I spend a lot of my time doing the exercises that I need to do in order to have a balanced program rather than the ones I actually enjoy doing.

    I'll do a little bit before almost every workout. Just a few minutes, a few moves right at the end of my warm up. Sometimes my off days I'll hit my core a little longer. I find "core work" easier to do if I have an end goal in mind. Namely owning all the lever movements. Front, back & side (aka human flag).

    Both you and @_dracarys_ mentioned putting it at the beginning of your workouts. I may try that a couple of times a week. Having a specific goal like you have is certainly helpful. I am floundering a bit due to not having a strong goal right now.
  • Michael190lbs
    Michael190lbs Posts: 1,510 Member
    I always do core first if I don't it won't get done my core routine is also my warm up so just make it part of your routine.. I believe Core is a must abs twice a week for size the rest to prevent injury. Your first couple dead lift and squat sets are technically core work especially in the high rep range
  • scr183
    scr183 Posts: 49 Member
    Nothing to contribute really, but following for info/to read later. I lift (recently switched from SL 5x5 to Wendler 5/3/1 with very limited accessory work) and take pretty vigorous vinyasa yoga classes 3-4 days a week. All these things obviously involve core engagement, but I've wondered if it's comprehensive enough.