I heard word on the street recently that you could do abs exercises every day. If you read last week’s newsletter, then you’ll recall that I have a serious need to build some abdominal strength. So I was intrigued.
As you may already know, major muscle groups require at least 48 hours’ rest to repair and build new tissue before you work them again. Doing squats four days in a row is only going to decrease your intensity and make you sore, while completely defeating your efforts. Muscle fibers need time to knit back together after the micro-tears that weightlifting induces.
One website that I happened upon, however, said that because they’re not easily fatigued, you can work your abs every day. I had to investigate.
As it turns out, that may be the case…if you’re not exercising your abdominals correctly.
The Way It Works
You should be working hard enough to get that “hurts so good” sensation, the one that reminds you which muscle group you last exercised because it’s a little sore. The one that says, I think I actually made a difference. The one that, when it comes to abs, makes it a little painful to laugh (but still makes you happy, as you daydream about a sleek six-pack).
A million little crunches will get you nowhere, just as a million little leg lifts probably won’t do much either. As with any muscle group, you can use weights to increase the intensity, and and you can perform a range of exercises to target the area from all angles: external obliques, internal obliques, rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis.
Of course, when you go harder, as you do with other muscle groups, you need to allow 48 hours to elapse before you work your abs again…meaning your abs work should max out at about three times a week. Sadly, the abs advice was largely a myth.
Keep in mind that you use your core to perform all other moves, so don’t do abs exercises first in your routine, or you’ll fatigue your stability center. Save it for the end, and do it like you mean it.