Some people think that the only way to achieve ripped abs is to go on a rigorous diet and work your core every day.
While you need to adapt your diet and train hard, working your abs every day is not such a good idea. Why?
Because your abs, like every other muscle in your body, need time to recover and grow. After working out and tearing your muscles, they need time to grow back stronger than they were before. Unfortunately, working out every day doesn’t give your muscles sufficient time to recover and repair themselves.
The best way to work your abs is to include relevant exercises into your workout schedule and build your core over time.
You also need to be mindful of what you eat and perform exercises that are known to impact the conditioning of your abs positively.
Let’s begin by looking at why working your abs every day isn’t necessarily a good thing.
According to Healthline, rest days are equally as important as exercise. The primary reason rest is essential, mainly when working out muscles like your abs, is that it allows your muscles to grow.
You might be aware that lifting weights, or performing other strengthening exercises, results in microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. After your workout, your muscles need time to repair themselves, and they do this with the help of cells known as fibroblasts.
As such, your muscles repair and build themselves when you’re resting, not when you’re working out. So, if you don’t allocate sufficient time for muscle regrowth, you’re unlikely to see the desired gains.
What’s more, not working out every day also ensures:
• Your risk of injury is significantly reduced, as your muscles aren’t as fatigued and overworked.
• Your endurance is improved as you don’t feel demotivated and lethargic during exercise.
• Your levels of cortisone and adrenaline will remain optimal.
Before designing the ideal workout schedule for your abs, it’s a good idea to check out the guidelines provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services. As you will see from their guidelines, they recommend performing at least two days of weight training each week, which targets all of your muscle groups.
But equally as important, they advise you not to schedule your training days back to back and advocate for rest days to be included in your program.
With this in mind, then, what’s the ideal workout schedule to strengthen your abs? Let’s take a look now.
First things first, we need to remind you that everyone has abs! The way people talk about them, you might think that you need to do specific exercises just to get them. However, the reason why your abs can’t be seen is because of the layer of fat that forms around your midsection. So, it stands to reason that if you want your abs to show, you need to work hard to remove your fat and perform exercises that strengthen your muscles.
Here are three things you need to be aware of if you’re hoping to strengthen your abs:
If you’re serious about seeing gains in your abs, you need to develop a personalized workout program that works for you. This should include exercises that work all of your muscle groups, with a particular focus on your core. Incorporate weight training with cardio, and perform exercises that will help target your abs specifically. We include some such exercises in the following section.
To remove that persistent layer of fat around your midsection, you need to think about what you eat. We advocate long-term, sustainable diets as opposed to fads and short-term solutions. Consider an approach like intermittent fasting if you want to see weight-loss and muscle-strengthening results over a long period.
While it’s essential to get yourself into a routine when working out, you shouldn’t get stuck in a rut. Variety is really important if you want to get the best results. Be sure to change your exercises every so often and incorporate new workouts into your routine. You should also make sure you are increasing your resistance training over time, so you put your muscles to the test.
One of the good things about working your abs is that you don’t need a great deal of equipment. People often work their abs by performing bodyweight exercises, which means you can see gains by working out from home. To help you get started, here are three of the best ab workouts you can do from home.
However, as we’ve mentioned throughout, you need to work your abs alongside cardio if you want to see an improvement in your core.
Begin by lying flat on your back, with your arms extended towards the ceiling. You then need to bend your knees [to 90 degrees] and slowly engage your abs by raising your right leg until your heel almost touches the floor. Simultaneously, raise your left arm until your hand nearly touches the floor over your head. Slowly return to your start position before repeating the exercise on the other side of your body. Try this exercise continuously for 30-60 seconds before resting.
Start by lying on one side, supported by your forearm. Make sure your legs are extended, and your body should form a straight line from your head to feet, which you can place one on top of the other. Then engage your core and lift your hips while keeping your body straight and tense. Hold your body in this position for up to sixty seconds before returning to the starting position. Then complete the exercise on your other side. The side plank works your obliques as well as your abs.
As we’ve mentioned, working out every day isn’t good for muscle growth. For your abs to show, you need to allow them sufficient time to rest and recover. You also need to work on removing the layer of excess fat from your midsection by performing cardio alongside your ab exercises. To get a six-pack, you need to focus on working your core, improving your diet, and performing cardio. Training your abs every day in isolation is not enough to ensure you develop a six-pack.
Any cardio will help you reduce your body fat, so consider doing exercises you enjoy. Running, swimming, and cycling are all excellent cardio exercises to begin with. You will find that belly fat is notoriously stubborn and difficult to get rid of, so you will need to persevere. Consider performing HIIT exercises to help you shift your weight and vary your cardio as much as possible to work the various muscle groups within your body.
In terms of reducing your body fat, intermittent fasting can be hugely beneficial. Reducing your calories on specific days is excellent for fat burning, and it also promotes the release of hormones that facilitate the weight loss process. A 2014 study found that intermittent fasting can cause a 3-8% weight loss over a period of 3-24 weeks when compared to other weight loss initiatives. The same study also mentions that people lost approximately 4-7% of their waist circumference and saw a significant decrease in their belly fat. Naturally, if you’re hoping to develop a six-pack, intermittent fasting can be the perfect way to help remove your stubborn belly fat and help your abs beneath be seen.
If you want to strengthen your abs and reduce your body fat, it’s not necessary to work your abs every day. In fact, as we’ve explored, rest days are just as important as workouts, as they allow your muscles time to repair and grow.
As is the case when you’re working the other muscle groups within your body, you should perform ab exercises at the same time as other core workouts as well as cardio. If you want your abs to show, you need to get to work on removing your excess body fat, and cardio helps you achieve this.
To see the desired results in your core, we recommend working your abs 2-3 times a week while allowing your core to recover on the remaining days. Providing you stick to your workout schedule, you should begin to see results within 4-6 weeks.