The 5 Biggest Ab Training Mistakes Most Bros Make

For most bros, attaining abs is a status symbol. It’s a serious endeavor that takes time and effort. And just being a 130lb bro who has abs doesn’t count, either. We’re talking about looking like you actually lift, and having abs to show off.

There’s no better feeling in this world than knowing you can take your shirt off at the pool, and then wash that shirt on your stomach when it gets dirty.

Unfortunately, there are a few rules that apply to ab training that bros fuck up at some point or another. Some of these are flat out myths, and others were rooted in a good idea that bros have taken too far. We’re here to set the record straight.

Here are the top 5 ab training mistakes most bros make.

  • Thinking squats, deadlifts, and other compound movements are all you need.

This is a myth that has made its way around the Internet over the past few years. As the big 3 lifts and other compound movements have become in vogue, so has the idea that they’re all you need when it comes to training your abs.

Sure, big compound lifts provide plenty of stimuli to the abs. But if you’re looking to build a kickass 6 pack, then you’d be wise to get in some direct ab training. Direct ab training can do a fantastic job in helping make the abs “pop”. Something just compound lifts won’t give you.

  • Training your abs every single day.

Training your abs every single day is a terrible idea if the goal is to build a badass set of abs. The abs, just like any other muscle group, need time to recover. Putting them through tough workout day after day is a terrible way to let them get the recovery they need to grow in strength and size.

Instead, shoot for 3-4 days of ab training that alternates between heavy, bodyweight, anti extension, and anti rotational work. The goal of the core is keep the body rigid and transfer energy, training it this way is a surefire way to build a badass core.

  • Doing only bodyweight exercises.

I’ve heard this throughout commercial gyms all across the country. Somehow the idea that you only need to do bodyweight ab training still exists, which makes me want to hurl myself off a motherfucking cliff and let a spike go right through my weak abs that have only been trained by bodyweight exercises.

The abs are muscles, just like your biceps are muscles. They require progressive overload in order for them to grow in strength and size. Bodyweight work can be progressed, but only in so many ways. At some point, adding in weight to your ab training will help you get better results.

  • The wrong exercises.

Wrong exercises are a pretty broad term, but it’s a good blanket term to describe all the terrible shit I see in a gym, that some of you are no doubt doing on a daily basis. Most exercises have some sort of application, we just tend to take them out of context or perform them completely wrong.

A few of these include:

  • Crunches
  • Russian twists
  • Planks
  • Oblique side bends

There are more, but these are the 4 that I believe are screwed up the most. A few simple replacements for each follow in the same order:

  • Hanging leg raises or cable crunches
  • Suitcase carries
  • RKC planks
  • Side plank lifts


  • Not alternating the stimulus.

I’ve alluded to this through a few different points, but this one is easily the most screwed up when it comes to ab training. The abs, like I’ve said until I’m bored to tears, are muscles. They require various forms of stimulus to make the greatest change.

It’s wise for you to alternate the exercises you’re using, the rep range you’re working in, the weights you’re using, and how often you’re doing them.

One of my favorite ways to go about ab training is with 3 days a week. Day 1 is all bodyweight and endurance work. Day 2 is pure strength work, with very few reps and sets, but heavy ass weight for things like weighted crunches and suitcase carries. Day 3 is a more moderate blend between the two, moderate reps in the 8-12 range, lighter weight, with a little bit of bodyweight work.

Tanner is a fitness professional and writer based in the metro Atlanta area. His training focus is helping normal people drop absurd amounts of fat, become strong like bull, and get in the best shape of their life.