Charlie on Abs

Mr. Francis, I’ve recently read about your ab training recommendations for sprinters, would you also recommend similar ab training for a thrower? Meaning high reps at low intensity every day. Currently I perform my abdominal exercises with in a higher intesity manner: weighted, both forward and rotationally, at roughly 3 sets of 10-15 reps an exercise. Thanks for the input.

The reason for training abs with low resistence and high reps. incase you are not aware is due to the makeup of the muscle in that region which is composed primarily of red (slow twitch type 1) fiber. Also since the abdominals are part of the “core” they are a support structure and a stabilizer which needs to have great muscle endurance so that during a race it is not first to fatigue leading to breakdown in running form.

I would use more weighted ab work with throwers along with high-rep, low-resistance abs. One common exercise for throwers is the side to side work (rotation) from seated and standing with a 25lb plate- often done in sets of 20 (counting both sides)

Thanks Charlie.
Yeah Quik, I can see how you’d want to build them in that supportive role for sprinting, but in throwing they play a more power-producing/transmitting role than endurance. What kinds of exercises do you guys use for the high rep stuff on tempo days? Circuits of crunches and medball throws? Thanks

Very good point about for throwers. I didnt really read that deep specifically into your post.

On tempo days we usually do 150-200 reps consisting of hanging leg raises, decline situps, medball tosses from decline situp position, and pikes (or V-ups). Sometimes we throw in a few sets of crunches as well. If done with good form 150-200 reps are plenty per session.

A lot of the abs described by Quik are high strength moves. Under the “picture’s worth a thousand words” heading, if you want examples of low intensity, high rep methods, you can see them done on the GPP DVD.

Is it accurate to say the core needs tremendous endurance for a race which lasts 10-11 seconds?

Thanks. I ordered the GPP dvd over one month ago, and am having a hell of a time with customer service so that I actually receive it.

If you still havn’t got it, contact for the explanation. Deliveries are tracked.

High-rep abs are worthless. The abdominals don’t have to work any harder or longer than any other muscle during sprinting; there is no reason to do any more abdominal reps than for any other muscle group. Personally I think ab work is mostly worthless period, because abdominal strength is not a limiting factor in the first place. Sprinting itself should suffice to develop abdominal strength to whatever extent it is needed!

I ordered over 4 months ago no one has even bothered to contact me after countless e-mails. I even offered to send a money order. I placed my order via paypal I can provide the transaction no’ if needed.

I ordered a copy of the DVD in December, and still have not recieved it. My last two emails to customer service have also gone unanswered. I recently tried a private message on the board; hopefully that will work better.

I will contact Rupert today to try to get to the bottom of the order problems

So, high rep abs are worthless as the duration of activity is short. By that reasoning, so must be all other tempo type activities, as they are of longer duration and lower intensity. Of course, we must defer to your expertise in this area. Perhaps you can refresh my memory. When did you set the sprint World Record again?

The problem with case studies is that they only prove it works for that one athlete…so XLR8 says, but I don’t agree. I think the lower intensity work supports the squats/cleans and of course sprinting.

Charlie- since tempo speed shifts as athletes get faster…what shifts for low intensity exercises. I notice my athletes can do more demanding exercises as there squats and deads improve…same relative volume but more agressive. Thoughts.

How can you not agree? That is all they PROVE. They might SUGGEST a principle that can be applied to other athletes, but that is a leap. It may be a small leap or a large one but that is where we get into all of the philisophical arguments.

Charlie often makes the point that it is difficult to extrapolate from the training of a single world class athlete. If they are the world record holder, then they are a sub-set of one. If they were the same as every other athlete, then they would not be the world record holder! This is the difficulty: how do we extract (from small sample sizes) what is generally applicable for other athletes or even athletes at different levels of development? Charlie’s system does this, but the fact that Ben Johnson ran a 9.7 does not PROVE that his system is optimal for all sprint training. Read it, understand it and come to your own conclusions.

CF’s system makes sense to me and the success he has had with his athletes lends credibility and ensures that it can be applied in practice (many theories sound great on paper and break down in the real-world.) I find his principles to resonate with me so that is good enough for my training.

However, it seems to me that many roads lead to Rome (or Athens :slight_smile: and you will find that the athletes lining up for the 100m final there will have all followed different training paths on their way.

Ab work can be pretty tough yet still qualify as low intensity re CNS- exercises like side-to-sides with a weight plate with feet hooked to the wall bars etc…

hi Martn76, Gion

Please forward your order info to me at, subject missing dvd. I’ll take care of it right away.

Thank you and please keep your order issues on our customer support threat to make sure your needs are addressed quickly by customer service. Also note “GION” please do the same thing, get your info over to me.

Thanks for the note…

I am surprised that you would resort to attacking my credibility rather than either rebuting my argument or simply ignoring my post if you feel that this topic has already been thoroughly chewed. Furthermore, I would expect you to be reasonable enough to recognize that holding the sprint world record is not prerequisite to understanding training principles. In fact, nor is even being a sprinter.

I am simply rebuting the common rationale for doing high-rep abdominal work- that is, that the abs are “slow twitch” muscles and therefore should be trained for endurance- by pointing out that the abs do not have to work any harder or longer than any other muscles during a sprint race. If the abs and the legs both have to work for 10 seconds during a 100m, why do the abs require so much more endurance that they must be trained with hundreds of reps? This argument does not in any way extend to the conclusion that tempo activities are worthless simply because they are of longer duration and lower intensity than the race itself.

If we accept that core strength training is worthwhile because higher core strength, through specific work, will improve sprint posture and power transfer through the body, then working on higher reps (around 30s) would have the advantage (over high inensity reps) of creating less cns stress and will therefore not prolong recovery form track and weights work as much.

The high rep work may concentrate on slow twitch, strength endurance development but wouldn’t some (significant?) increase in core strength specific to the 100m also be achieved. I would say yes, and the low insenstity work, as well as creating less cns stress (which requires long recovery times) also targets the ST fibres that make up the majority of the abdominal muscles and so will give you more out for what you’re putting in, so long as the strength is transferable and beneficial.