No matter what I do, the guys who come into my gym for training always ask the same questions, repeatedly: what’s the best way to get big arms? What’s the best ab workout for men? What’s what’s what’s?” And I usually give the exact same answer: it depends. It depends on the movements you like to do. It depends on what your definition of “best” is. It depends on what your goals are.
“What is the best ab workout that will help me look good naked?” is a much better question, and that is usually what people are after, even if they won’t admit it.
All of the weight training I do myself is geared towards one thing: getting stronger, abs workouts included. If I get stronger, I will look stronger. If I look stronger, I’ll probably look better naked. So far I see nothing to imply that this changes across body parts and muscle groups.
So for me, what is the best ab workout? The one that makes my abs the strongest. And that is single-handedly and unequivocally the deadlift. Heavy deadlifting essentially puts your torso into the plank position and then forces you to move heavy weights with it.
The deadlift works just about every muscle in the body. In my opinion it is the best way to gain muscle, and it will make you stronger than anything else I have found. The demands on the abdominal muscles must be felt to be understood.
This is how I have it both ways. I train my abs without doing a million little crunches, and I get stronger by ripping heavy weight off of the floor. Snatch grip, sumo style, conventional pulling, one legs, two legs, with kettlebells or barbells–it’s all good. I can spot a person who deadlifts from a block away. It builds a type of strength and dense physique that cannot be faked.
So if you came here for advice, that is mine: get your deadlift up to 500 pounds (my max is currently 540) and you will no longer ask about abdominal exercises.
And even though this was geared towards men, women can get as much or more out of deadlifting than men can.
Strength Training for body and mind