I have an issue with my abdominals. I have been training for about 3 years and I work my abs 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). My typical ab workout consists of 2-3 different exercises and I do about 30-40 reps per set (total of 6-8 sets per workout). The problem I’m having is that my top right abdominal is a lot smaller in size than my top left abdominal. Also, the lines of my abs don’t really match up. Is there a way to fix this?
For your issue with one abdominal being larger than the other, this most likely comes down to two possibilities. The first is that when you do your abdominal workout, you might be favoring the left side when you perform the concentric portion of the movement (crunching up). For future ab workouts, try to be very aware of this and do your best to stay in balance with your upper body as you crunch up and place tension on your abs. When doing basic crunches or other abdominal exercises, you should be crunching straight forward and not to one side or the other. The only time you will be favoring one side is when you’re specifically training your obliques (love handles) and you are doing side to side crunches and other movements where you twist your upper body to place more tension on your oblique muscles.
The other possibility is that you are favoring your left side when at rest and while sitting. If you tend to lean to your left when you sit, this places a lot of tension on the left side of your abs and over time it can produce an issue with one side being more developed than the other. It’s all about balance, so try to be conscious of this going forward and always try to maintain proper posture which is very important not only for your abdominal development but also for your spine, neck and back.
The way to fix this is to place more tension on your weaker side by doing the exact opposite of what you naturally do now. For the next 2-3 months, try to really focus on doing several more reps on your weaker side (right abdominal) and really crunch up and place a lot of tension on the weaker muscle in order to bring it up to par with the other side. Be sure to monitor your stomach over the next few months and once your abs are symmetrically even, you can start back to a fully balanced motion on your ab exercises.
In terms of the lines of your abs not being even, this is most likely due to genetics. Everyone’s muscle symmetry is different and if you look at contest photos of top pro bodybuilders, you will see the different muscle shapes from person to person. Some people have a full 8 pack of abdominals where most other people just have the six muscles of the abs showing (6-pack abs). Everyone has 8 separate abdominal muscles, it’s just a matter of getting lean enough to showcase the very bottom 2 abs which is very difficult to display unless you are truly ripped with an extremely low level of body fat.