In the book Bullet Proof Abs, Pavel Tsatsouline point out all of the wrongs when it comes to abdominal trainings. Pavel says that to use high reps to get cut up. Getting cut up only serves as a function of resting tension in the muscle and low body fat. Many people think that by doing high-rep programs they are going to cut up. Instead, they started to gain more mass, especially glycogen and water.
With high reps you feel sore and pain just by sneezing or laughing. Pavel suggests going heavy instead. Keep your sets low and you rest a lot. The trick is to find a challenging exercise. That is where the problem is. There is this belief that abs can be isolated from the hip flexors by eliminating the movement in the hip joint, like they do in the crunch. Pavel is strongly against that notion. Hip flexors can only be inhibited neurologically.
One of the best ab training is that Pavel recommends is the Janda Sit-Up. Vladimir Janda, an Eastern European Professor, has developed a special sit-up where your training partner places his hands under your calves and pulls back. You attempt to sit-up while steadily pushing against his hands. This movement activates the hip extensor muscles. Reciprocal inhibition takes place and the hip flexors relax. Back stress is eliminated and the abdominal muscles are isolated.
All in all, to really train your abs well, do the power breathing and the Janda Sit-Ups (both are thoroughly explained and demonstrated in Pavel’s book Bullt Proof Abs). That’s the cornerstone of all ab training.
One important fact about the Janda Sit-Ups is that you need to have a partner to hold your calf. Pavel has developed a device that is called the Ab Pavelizer to simulate the Janda sit-up without the need of having a partner. According to Pavel, the Ab Pavelizer is the only ab training device that’s catching on in the powerlifting circles (seeing a powerlifter using an ab devise is extremely rare). They like it because it is very hard. Unlike regular sit-up, Janda Sit-Up using the Ab Pavelizer teaches you to contract all your midsection muscles the way you should for a deadlift, squat or overhead press.