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Circuit training for abs: the best exercises

Ab workout is a favorite of many athletes, especially at summer time.

Having strong mid-zone muscles brings benefits even to some day-to-day tasks.

However, abdominal training alone does not produce miracles.

It is important to train these muscles, but it is not just the training that is responsible for the abdominal muscle system.

If you want to have defined abs you need to reconcile training with nutrition and rest.

You know of course countless exercises to train your abdominal, from the good old crunches to the most complex exercises.

Hereby I will give you an example of a circuit training so that you can train this zone as effectively as possible!

Ab Workout: The Basics

abdominal exercise

In fact, most exercises for abs are based on shortening and stretching the abdominal muscles.

Because of their important role in stabilizing the spine and being constantly and naturally “stimulated” in breathing, most fibers of this muscular system are type I fibers, that is, fibers that have greater fatigue resistance.

It therefore seems clear that this zone can and must be trained with a larger volume of repetitions.

However, remember that all muscles are composed of fast and slow fibers and that you should therefore not limit yourself to a big training volume, otherwise the stimulation of type II fibers will fail.

Due to the characteristics of this zone, I think it is important to have a higher training frequency, provided it is always periodized.

No exercise is better than another. There is a series of exercises that, consistently practiced, lead to improvement.

Depending on the load used or the intensity of the stimulus, it will be interesting to reduce the rest intervals between exercises to try to generate a lot of muscle tension time.

One of the strategies you can use is doing circuit training.

Find out why and what exercises you can do!

Circuit training for abs

Advantages of Circuit Training

Circuit training will help you to:

  • Save time
  • Keep the stimulus more constant
  • Stimulate these muscles in different ways

Training Type:

A circuit of:

  • 1 minute abdominal crunch


  • 1 minute bike crunch

bike crunch

  • 1 minute plank, repeating it 3 times


Repeat this circuit 3 times and rest 2 minutes between each set!

This circuit may be an option if you are starting this type of training or it may be an option to include in your normal training.

When training this part of the body it is important to understand that most abdominal movements require a spinal flexion which is a problem for some people.

Therefore, these exercises should be used with caution by people with pre-existing special conditions.

Main muscles from the abdominal area targeted

Usually, when talking about abdominal muscles, the focus is on the rectus abdominis muscle, the transverse abdominal muscle and the oblique muscles.

There are those who still divide them more, but if we think about these three, we

have already an interesting starting point.

Transverse Abdominal Muscle

The transverse abdominal muscle is a muscle that is highly trained by people looking for low pressure exercises.

These exercises are suitable for people with spinal disorders or poor posture who cannot do the classic abdominal exercises!

With this type of exercise there is muscle tension but no movement – the movement is actually a tummy tuck.

Try to make the plank by shrugging your belly, for example!

Rectus abdominis muscle

This muscle can be stimulated with spinal flexion exercises such as abdominal crunch.

Oblique Muscles – Internal and External

The obliques are more active in flexion exercises with a slight rotation, such as bike crunch.

Useful tips…

Some tips I can give you

  • Train this musculature more than once
  • Change the stimulus
  • Change the exercises
  • Pay attention to the technique
  • Train these muscles as if they are another area of the body to exercise, because when you leave this training to the end, it is more likely that you will train with less intensity, with an insufficient volume or even not do this training at all.

Abdominal training is critical to gain more strength to perform other exercises and for some day-to-day activities. If your middle zone is untrained, you will most likely have difficulty performing force in the extremities.


The information included in this article concerns the authors opinion only.

About Tiago Sousa

Tiago Sousa
Tiago Sousa has a degree in Sports & Physical Education, he is a Personal Trainer and also a Crossfit L1 Trainer. He is a former competition swimmer with his own outdoor training business. He aims to bring more science to his area, helping people to achieve their goals in a safe way.

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