I'm going through Everett's Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide For Athletes & Coaches . The following quotes from the chapter Programming & Training caused me to think on the matter of the abdominal / lower back hypertrophy in olympic weightlifting.
[...]this type of hypertrophy serves little function for weightlifters.[...]However this rep range[7-12] is often appropriate for certain supplemental exercises, particularly abdominal and lower back training.
[...]in cases of supplementary exercises such as abdominal, back, rehab, and hypertrophy work, we may control rest periods to achieve certain effects, such as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy when desired for specific areas.
David Kirshen seems to be in agreement with Everett in chapter Basic Muscular Anatomy of his Strength Training Bible For Men when it comes to the repetition range for abdominals in the context of powerlifting :
To train your abs for powerlifting, don’t bother with endless reps of crunches on the floor. Hit them hard with sit-ups over the glute ham bench, standing crunches with the pulldown machine or a band, spread-eagle sit-ups, side-bends with a dumbbell or band, and leg lifts. Keep the reps in the 8-to 15-rep range.
I also heard an opinion that abdominal workouts cannot really be done with the range of 1-6 reps. I do not agree. As of now the exercises that I do for my abdomen are:
- pullovers 2 reps or weighted(with ankle weights) leg raise 2-4 reps
- weighted lateral leg raise left side 2-4 reps
- weighted lateral leg raise right side 2-4 reps
Other than changing the weight categories, one thing that crossed my mind as the possible reason for seeking abdominal hypertrophy is reducing the risk if the direct inguinal hernia. The logic is that hypertrophy could possibly narrow the inguinal triangle and thus reduce the risk of this type of hernia. For what yet other reasons might abdominal / lower back hypertrophy be desired in olympic weightlifting? Why might the high repetition range, i.e. >6, be preferred in training abdomen and lower back?