Are you hoping to flatten your belly or attain a shredded six-pack? If so, you’re probably wondering how often you should exercise your abs for best results.
And if you’ve hit up a quick Google search, you’ve probably found a huge variety of answers. For example, should you work your abs every day? Every other day? Or just whenever you remember?
The truth is, you need to find something that works for you. Our advice is to work your core [including your abs] 3-5 times each week if you want to see results.
An excellent way to see improvement in the definition of your abs is to combine your workouts with some post-workout core exercises. This gives you a chance to hone your frame and strength during your workouts, followed up by some core-specific exercises like planking and crunches to round things up.
As well as looking at the benefits of working your abs and their anatomy, we will also tell you about the importance of rest days to give your abs time to recover before introducing some ab workout FAQs that will answer some of your most pressing questions about working your core.
But first, let’s begin by looking at why working your abs is important.
As you’re probably aware, your abs form an essential part of your body’s core. According to Mayo Clinic, strengthening your core ensures ‘your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen work in harmony,’ which leads to better balance and stability. In addition, a strong core helps you with a whole host of daily tasks and increases your overall health and fitness.
Also, exercising your abs regularly will help you work towards that flat stomach or shredded six-pack that you so desperately desire. Defined abs increase confidence in both men and women and allow people to feel proud of their bodies.
While so many of us desire a flat stomach and defined abs, they’re not easy to attain. The truth is it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to develop a six pack. You need to follow a strict exercise and workout schedule, allow your muscles time to recover and grow, and fuel your body with appropriate nutrition.
Developing the perfect workout schedule to work your core is much easier when you have a basic understanding of the anatomy of your body. Specific drills work different parts of your abs, so it’s crucial to complete exercises that reflect this variation.
The part of your core that is commonly referred to as your abs is actually made up of four distinct muscle groups from an anatomical perspective:
1] External obliques: the outer layer of your abs on the side. To work your external obliques, perform bicycle crunches, spiderman push-ups, and Russian twists.
2] Internal obliques: they run diagonally up to your sides and are underneath your externals. To work your internal obliques, perform side planks, standing wood chops, and standing trunk rotations.
3] Rectus abdominis: the paired sheets of muscle from your ribs to your pelvis – this is where your ‘six pack’ lies. To work your rectus abdominis, perform bent-knee hip raises, cable crunches, and forearm planks.
4] Transversus abdominis: the muscle that wraps around your waist and supports your spine. To work your transversus abdominis, perform medicine ball twists, sit-ups, and squirm heel touches.
When developing your weekly workout schedule, be sure to incorporate a range of these exercises both into your schedule, and as part of your post-workout routine. If you want shredded abs, it’s not enough to focus on your rectus abdominis; you need to build muscle in all four areas, which should be reflected in your workout exercises.
While it can be incredibly tempting to dedicate all of your energy to shredding your abs and working on them every day, avoid doing so. Just like every other muscle in your body, your abs need time to recover.
During your workouts, you’re working and even slightly damaging your muscles, which is a good thing. As such, your brain realises the need to increase the size of your muscles and acts accordingly. But here’s the thing – it does so during your recovery time, not during exercise.
If you don’t factor in sufficient recovery time to your ab workouts, you won’t see your desired results. What’s worse, you could even seriously injure or cause lasting damage to your abs if you overwork them. That’s why more isn’t always better when it comes to exercising your abs.
Therefore, the perfect schedule for working your abs includes at least two rest days every week. So, develop a workout plan where you’re working your abs between 3-5 days a week for best results.
Don’t forget the importance of appropriate nutrition when you’re working your abs. For your abs to show, you need to reduce body fat, which can be achieved through specific aerobic exercises and better nutrition.
The majority of changes in your body’s composition will come from your diet. There are so many diets that you can follow to supplement your workout regime, including keto, and they are too numerous and complex to list here. However, if you’re not following a prescribed dieting regime, here are some general tips to consider when trying to improve your nutrition for your ab workouts:
If you don’t pay close attention to your diet and nutrition, you won’t see any lasting results when it comes to moulding the perfect abs.
While a six-pack or a flat stomach is something that many of us desperately want, the reality is that for some, it’s not physiologically possible. After all, age, genetics, gender, hormones, body composition, lifestyle, dietary requirements, stress management, and a whole host of other factors contribute to what your body [and stomach] looks like. As such, no matter how hard you try, you might not achieve the shredded six-pack that you desire.
This, however, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work your abs! On the contrary, strong abs promote core strength and stability and are hugely beneficial to many aspects of your life. What’s more, your ab workouts will contribute to your overall health and wellbeing, and if in line with a strict diet, will help you to reduce your weight and excess body fat.
In summary, then, how often should you work your abs for best results? This really depends on your fitness goals and aspirations. However, if you want to build your core strength and achieve a flat stomach or six-pack, we suggest working your abs between 3-5 times each week.
It’s not healthy to work your abs every day, as you need to give your muscles time to recover and grow. You also need to ensure your workouts are supplemented by an appropriate diet plan, so you’re fuelling your body with the proper food and nutrients.
Strengthening your core by working on your abs is hugely beneficial to your overall stability and wellbeing, so be sure to incorporate some ab exercises into your workout today. If you’re committed and on point with your form, you should begin to see results in a few short weeks.