Your first mistake is training your abs multiple days a week and doing hundreds of crunches. Your abs are no different than any of your other skeletal muscles, and you should train them in the same fashion. The problem is twofold: first, by training your abs 5 days a week you are not allowing for sufficient recovery to allow for muscular growth. Make no mistake, you do want your abs to hypertrophy, or grow-that’s the only way you’ll ever see them. I’m sure you don’t train your chest 5 days in a row, and you should not do so with your abs. Also remember “spot reducing” is impossible. In other words, doing hundreds of crunches will not reduce the amount of body fat over your abdominals. Since there is no direct vascular or neurological link between your abdominal muscles and your abdominal fat, exercising your abdominal muscles in an effort to lose fat in that spot is a waste of time.
Second, the fact that you are doing hundreds of crunches indicates the intensity of your ab workouts is way too low to stimulate any development. Remember, intensity and duration of exercise are inversely proportional; the harder something is, the less time you can spend doing it. Anything you can do hundreds of times is obviously not very intense, and a high level of intensity is the one and only stimulus that will cause muscular growth. We doubt you would choose a weight for bicep curls that would allow you to perform hundreds of repetitions and expect them to grow. To make your crunches more intense, hold your legs up in the air with your hips and knees at a 90 degree angle, and/or hold a weight plate on your chest. There are also many ab machines on the market which allow resistance to be utilized to intensify your ab workout. Here at Rock Solid Fitness we use the amazing Nautilus Nitro machine.We recommend 10-15 reps for ab work, if you can do more than 15 increase the resistance for the next workout.
Probably the most important criteria for seeing washboard abs is a low level of body fat in the abdominal area.This can only be achieved by utilizing a well-balanced, low-calorie diet. If you skip this step, you can do all the ab exercises in the world and nobody will ever see your abs!