Building Thicker Abs

by sherif
(Los Angeles)

Question: I am 5'9" 185 lbs. I always had a good muscular physique growing up and training but one thing I've never emphasized were my abs.


Now although when I lean out they are definitely there, they don't pop out because I've never built them up like that, I just did a lot of high reps to get them, but I never knew anything to get them thicker.

I am in a bulking phase right now and as my size is growing in a positive way, my stomach is obviously getting a bit bigger especially around the obliques and lower abs.

I am not worried so much about this size because although it is getting a bit bigger along with the rest of my body, it is still proportional to the rest of my body, which is the only standard I'm basing my gains by (I.e. if stomach was larger than overall body mass, this would be unproportional.)

So with that being said, what are the best exercises or ab workouts to add size, thickness, bulk to my abs so that I know that if my stomach is getting bigger it is because underneath there are thick block-like abs?

Also, would doing circuit training for abs also give them size because there are times I am short on time but still want to pull 10-12 sets of abs, but that takes me about 20-25 min whereas circuit abs takes me about 15 minutes?

If circuit training does not get them thick then I'll stick to standard set-by-set training but please let me know how I can build my abs to become "blocky" and thick so when I begin my cutting phase, I can finish it by having 3D abs.

This is a bit off topic, but also, I am at 185 lbs and have about 13% bodyfat with good muscular gains and started my 5th week of bulking phase.

I was at 174-5 5 weeks ago at around (just a guesstimate) around 8-9% bodyfat.

Does 185-6 with 13% bodyfat in 5 weeks sound like steady reasonable gains from 174-5lbs 8-9% bodyfat in 5 weeks or am I gaining too much, fast?

Answer: The best way to build thick ab muscles, is to work them just like any other muscle group that you are trying to add muscle size to.

Work the abs a couple times a week, and stick with standard situps and crunches. Add intensity to these exercises by holding onto a 25 pound plate across the chest, or hold it behind your head when working the abs.

Circuit training could be a good addition to your ab workouts, but the main thing to remember is to add weight to the movement. It's the same principle you would use if you were adding size to other areas. This helps build thickness to the abs.

For your second question... If you put on 10 pounds in 5 weeks, there's a high probability that over half of that weight is added body fat and water retention.

Recommended video to help you understand bulking and cutting, and the misunderstand approaches in the bodybuilding community: Lean Hybrid Muscle. It'll put you on the right path and answer a lot of questions you may have.

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