Don’t pretend like it’s strong enough; it’s not.
You *have* to work your abs.
For the life of me, I’ll never understand why so many people out there say things like “you don’t need to directly work your abs. Heavy squats and deadlifts are enough.”
Really? By that logic, you also don’t need to squat and deadlift, as deadlift lockouts and heavy squat walkouts will work your back and legs sufficiently, right?
If that sounds absurd, good. It ought to. Just as deadlifts and squats *can* help you make your abs stronger, they’ll only get stronger up to a point – much the same as heavy deadlift lockouts and heavy squat walkouts *can* make your back and legs stronger. Eventually, however, you’ll have to submit to the fact that you have to squat and deadlift. And eventually you’re going to have to spend some time getting your abs stronger. Your abs are made to brace statically and move dynamically just like any other body part. So why ignore a vital part of their overall training? Don’t be lazy.
If you’re a rank beginner, you can’t do much better than dead bugs and floor-bound leg raises (dead bug video here) . If you’re an intermediate, hanging leg raises and windshield wipers will do the trick (video here). And if you’re a seasoned athlete, dragon flags ought to be on the menu.
And no matter where you are on the scale from beginner to elite, you should definitely be crawling. My abs never contract harder than when I’m crawling backward up a hill – even harder than when I do dragon flags. Hard to believe, so don’t take my word for it. Crawl backward up and forward down a hill for a minute and see if your abs aren’t the most on-fire they’ve ever been.
Pavel Tsatsouline recommends that you make ab training a serious part of your training regimen a few times a year, and spend the other time working your heavy compound lifts hard. Hard to argue with the man himself. So if it’s been a while since you’ve emphasized chiseling up your midsection, get on it and watch your full-body strength go through the roof.
Pictured is Chuck Sipes, who didn’t get his abs to look and feel like those of a Greek statue by ignoring them.