ABs - FIT Human Performance

ABs

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ABsJune 8, 2014

The question is about how often you should do AB or abdominal training. So many people want to know if they can do ABs every day. The obvious answer is you can do anything every day, the better question might be should you train your ABs every day.

As an exercise therapist and personal trainer, I feel I can look at fitness and AB training from many different perspectives so here are a few points about doing ABs exercises every day.

AB Point #1: What’s yourGoal?

Is your goal to lose stomach fat? Most people start doing AB exercises because they want to lose stomach fat and get a flat stomach, but unfortunately AB exercises by themselves are not the most effective way to get rid of belly fat.

The body is not able to spot reduce. Spot reduction is the belief that if you exercise a spot on your body that you will lose fat from that specific spot, but that’s not how the body works.

In order to lose stomach fat fast, you must take a comprehensive approach to fitness and weight loss by focusing on weight training (F.I.T.), aerobic exercise, and healthy eating. Simply doing AB exercises by themselves every day will not speed up how fast you lose stomach fat or get a flat stomach.

AB Point Thought #2: Your ABs are like other Muscles.

Generally speaking, you should rest muscles at least 24 hours between heavy training. If you work out your legs really intensely and they are sore the next day, that’s a sign that you should take it easy the next day and let your legs rest. The same is true of your abdominals. If you work them really intensely, then you should rest them 24 hours before the next workout.

If your goal is to build up your abdominal strength, then 2-3 days of AB training is all you need to maximize strength gains. Thus in our F.I.T. training sessions I always tell you when your next “starting with ABs next time” intensity training will be.

AB Point Thought #3: You can train ABs every day!

How hard are your AB Workouts? In the above thought, I said that if you work out intensely, you should rest 24 hours. But, if your workout is really easy then it is okay to do ABs every day.

Think about it this way… you walk every day, you talk every day, you climb stairs, type, carry kids, and move around every day. Your body was designed to move and be active every day, so it is also okay to do ABs exercises every day.

If you exercise any muscle intensely, you should rest it the next day, especially if you are sore. But if you are doing light exercise and you are highly conditioned (used to the exercise or activity), it is okay to exercise muscles every day.

AB Point #4: The different fitness level.

I generally recommend that most people exercise their abdominal muscles 2-3 times a week, but everyone is different. Elite athletes and performers can get away with training vigorously every day.

Gymnasts, for example, sometimes train for 4-6 hours a day. And, Olympic track athletes and swimmers can also workout 4-6 hours a day — remember Michael Phelps.

Obviously, if you are an elite athlete, your body adjusts to your activity level. But since most of us are not elite athletes, we should not try to train like elite athletes.

AB Point #5: Over Training and Muscle Imbalances.

Here’s a last thought about abdominal training. One of the most common injuries in the gym is tendonitis or overuse injury.

If you exercise regularly, there is a chance that your muscles, tendons, or joints get irritated if you don’t rest enough between exercise sessions.

A significant problem with training the ABs every day could be the development of muscle and postural imbalances. If you always train your abdominal muscles and neglect your lower back muscles, you can actually be increasing your risk of injury by creating muscle imbalances.

When one side of your body is so much stronger than the other side, it compromises your movement and joints.

AB training (or Core Training) is a philosophy that focuses on movement efficiency, good posture, and a balance of strength in both the abdominal and lower backs muscles.

In short, training your ABs everyday will not speed up fat loss from your stomach. If your goal is to tone your ABs, strengthen your abs, develop a 6 pack, or improve sports performance, then 2-3 AB workouts a week is sufficient to achieve those goals. If you are in really good shape and highly conditioned, you may find that a 4th AB workout helps to increase your results slightly.

If you only do light AB work it is okay to perform AB exercises every day, but it is generally best to rest between AB workouts.

If you train your abdominals excessively and neglect your lower back, you are more likely to experience overuse injuries or develop muscular imbalances. Remember to train your lower back with the same frequency that you train your ABs (2-3 times a week).

I hope that helps to answer the question, can you train your abdominal muscles every day. Please, inquire within and stop by F.I.T. Human Performance today!

In good health,

Bob

“I love my six pack so much I protect it with a layer of fat.” – John Goodman

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