Personal trainers once advised their clients to train their abs six days a week. With the advancement of sports medicine and kinesiology, these experts later realized that this is not the case. There is a risk of overtraining the abdominal muscles when they are overworked.
There is, as the trainers realized, a limit to how much strain abdominal muscles can safely take. In this case, more is much less. Here are steps to take to ensure you are training your abs safely and effectively:
1. Balance Your Workout
The ideal way to set up a weekly workout routine is to train the upper body and lower body on alternate days while training core muscles just two days a week. One day a week should be completely dedicated to rest.
Abdominal exercises should never total more than two-hundred reps in total. That means that if you do five different abdominal exercises, the total number of repetitions performed in each exercise cannot be over two-hundred.
2. Learn how Core Muscles Work
The core is made up of four muscles groups. These groups include:
- Internal obliques
- External obliques
- Transverses abdominis
- Rectus abdominis
Each muscle group must be worked individually to create a true six-pack look. Just as the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and buttocks require individual attention, so do the different abdominal muscles.
3. Twice a Week Maximum
Working each of the four muscle groups just twice per week is all it takes to have a flat and toned core. The best way to space these two days out is by allowing the optimum amount of rest in between each day. If you work out on Monday through Saturday, perform abdominal exercises on Tuesday and Friday. Resting in between each core session will give you greater strength and energy during each workout.
Cardio is Key
The best way to work all four abdominal groups at once is through cardiovascular training. A stair climber, elliptical or aerobic class is the most effective way to work all of these muscles in unison with each other.
Calories In v. Calories Out
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that an extra ten minutes on the treadmill will make give you the green light to pig out. Proper eating and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to results.
No one wants to spend unnecessary time at the gym. Take full advantage of the time you spend sweating. Working out hard isn’t the same as working out smart.