Can you work out abs every day? It may surprise you to hear that this topic is hotly debated among trainers and fitness pros. Some think it’s fine to do abs every day, while others are firmly against it. There’s also a group that falls somewhere in the middle… Yes, you can work out abs every day, as long as you follow some safety precautions.
So, why is there so much controversy? Wouldn’t your abs only get stronger and more defined if you do an ab workout every day? Well, yes and no. The answer isn’t black and white, and it’s not the same for everyone.
We’re going to break down the risks versus the benefits of daily ab sessions so you can decide which approach is right for you. Let’s dive in!
Four separate muscle groups make up your abs. They include:
External obliques: On the sides of the torso, running from the hips to the ribs.
Internal obliques: Under the external obliques.
Rectus abdominis: The highly sought-after six-pack. This is a long, segmented muscle running from the upper ribs down to the pubic bone.
Transverse abdominis: The deepest abdominal muscles that wrap around your torso and stabilize your spine.
When you work out your abs every day, the strength and endurance of all four abdominal muscle groups improve. In fact, according to research published by Sports Medicine, volume and frequency are the two most essential factors for building muscle endurance and strength in all muscle groups.
However, it’s important to work all four muscle groups equally because each one is required for certain functions that contribute to the stability and strength of your core, as well as protecting your spine and abdominal organs. Planks are a great choice for beginners and there are lots of ways to switch things up for a higher intensity workout.
Improved Physical Performance
Some people may actually benefit from working abs every day, as long as they can do so without injury. For example, high-endurance athletes may get an edge over their competition by doing daily ab workouts.
However, a six-day schedule would probably be more appropriate for low intensity, low resistance ab workouts. If you’re doing any kind of power or resistance training for the abs, at least one or two days of rest between workouts is the best practice.
If you are recovering from surgery or childbirth, you may want to consider daily ab workouts to speed your recovery once you’re fully healed. Daily ab workouts can reduce pain, improve posture, and rebuild stamina after things like back surgery and Cesarian or natural birth. However, you’ll want to consult your doctor first to ensure you’re following safety protocols for your specific situation.
Reduced Back Pain
There’s no question that having a strong core can prevent back injury and reduce lower back pain. In fact, proper core strength training is more effective for alleviating chronic back pain than physical therapy or chiropractic.
What are the risks of working your abs every day?
All that being said, overworking any muscle group leads to a higher risk of injury, including stress reactions, strained muscles, and tendonitis. And if your core is already weak, your risk is even higher. Beginners who may not know proper form and have a weak core are at even greater risk.
Do you need to work your abs every day to get a six-pack?
Most of us want that ever-elusive six-pack and it may seem like daily ab workouts are the best way to get there. But the truth is, you’ll get better results if you allow adequate recovery time between workouts. Just like any other muscle group, your ab muscles will do best with a full day to recover.
Abdominal muscles are made of slow-twitch muscle fibers, which means they’re better suited to endurance exercises. Just like any other muscle group, they require exercise to break down the fibers. Then, they come back larger and stronger as they heal and recover.
In other words, muscles don’t grow while you’re actually working out, they grow during rest and recovery. So, if your primary goal is a sexy six-pack, allowing a full day of recovery between ab workouts is the best strategy.
It’s also essential to remember that six-pack abs aren’t just about building muscle, they’re also about burning fat. You can do everything to shape and build those muscles, but it won’t do you any good if they’re hidden under a layer of fat. So, diet and cardio play a key role here as well.
The Verdict: Can You Work Out Abs Every Day?
Technically, yes, you can work out abs every day if you’re trying to build strength and endurance. But you’ve heard it before: more isn’t necessarily better. You really don’t need to do daily ab workouts. Six days a week is plenty, and it gives your muscles a chance to recover and your body a chance to rest.
If you’re new to working out, you’re better off working your abs two or three times a week until your core strength improves. If you’re working to build a six-pack, you’ll get better results with a full day of rest in between core workouts.
You should also think about the other types of exercises you’re doing. For example, any time you do overhead exercises, compound lifts, or rotational movements, you’re also working your abs. In this case, you’re already working your abs every day, or nearly every day, which is totally fine as long as you’re not experiencing repeated injuries. Additional daily ab workouts may be completely unnecessary.
So, how do you decide if you can do daily ab workouts to build strength and endurance? Listen to your body! If you’re experiencing pain during the workout or experiencing the signs of CNS fatigue, you haven’t given your muscles enough time to recover and you’ll want to back off on the frequency.