top of page
  • West London PT

How Often Should You Workout Abs To See Results?

How Often You Actually Have to Work Out Your Abs to See Results

Woman Exercising Her Abs On The Floor

Why Are Abs So Difficult To Get?


  1. 21st Century living hinders the use of functional core strength. Not only do our functional core muscles become deactivated from extended periods of sitting, but the activities we do engage in do not challenge these negative effects. Going to an abs class with your lower back lifting all the time is actually making the problem worse.

  2. A 2-3% change in body fat can substantially affect the visible muscle mass on your core. This means close attention to your diet and routine in order to be in the running for visible abs. You might already have a six-pack, but managing body fat is the key to visibility.

  3. Abdominal exercises are frequently performed with the incorrect form that strains the lower back, instead. The exercises feel difficult, so people think they're working.


Should I Workout My Abs If I Have Belly Fat?


Absolutely, you should! If you want to promote recomposition in the area, training abs is a great way to go about it. It's also vital in supporting a strong posture and healthy form in workouts.


As far as visible abs go, you may feel no closer to your goal after a punishing ab routine, or perhaps you're only finding you have visible abs when you flex.


The truth is that if your body fat percentage is too high for visible core toning, it does not matter how often you train abs. You'd be better rewarded with a diet that promotes a calorie deficit, alongside full-body resistance training to accelerate fat loss. Only once your body fat is approximately 15% (for women) or 10% (for men) will your ab exercises yield visible results.


Should You Work Out Your Abs Every Day Or Every Other Day?


If your body fat percentage is already in a healthy range, then you should not exceed once every 48 hours. This is the amount of time required for the muscle group to recover and rebuild stronger after being torn down from your workout. You can break your workout into up to three different core sessions throughout your training day; with that in mind, always emphasise quality over quantity.


The Best Ab Exercises That Are Easy On The Lower Back


The first exercise is a staple and is the foundation of all my clients' core training. I call it the 'Straight Leg Hold'. The reason it's so important is that it teaches clients how not to use their lower back during core work, and sends the burn straight to the rectus abdominus (abs).


If you're someone whose back is always lifting off the mat in a core class or has to put their hands underneath it, this is your starting point.


Only once this exercise has been established can you reap the benefits of all the other, more complex core exercises.


Straight Leg Hold


Woman exercising abs by holding her legs straight out and keeping her back flat.

  1. Lie with your back flat on the floor.

  2. Hug the knees into the chest, so the back is comfortably grounded.

  3. Begin with legs straight at a 90 degree angle, with all parts of your back fully on the ground.

  4. Gently lower as far as possible, to the point where the lower back wants to raise.

  5. Pin the back down using your core and hold.

  • Engage the core by gently squeezing the glutei upwards.

  • Start with legs high, then lower.

  • Under no circumstances allow the back to lift at all. If it does, reset or raise the legs.

  • Raise the legs if needed, but otherwise be vigilant that they stay low.


Once you can perform the Straight Leg Hold for 3 sets of 30 seconds, it's time to move on to Flutter Kicks. These are great for toning your lower abs and building endurance in your hip flexors. Conveniently, all they involve is gently moving the feet up and down by around 10 inches from the bottom of the Straight Leg Hold position. Make no mistake, though, you will feel the difference. 3 Sets of 30 seconds of flutter kicks is a great target.



Flutter Kicks

Cartoon Of A Woman Practising Flutter Kicks

  1. Lie with your back flat on the floor.

  2. Hug the knees into the chest, so the back is comfortably grounded.

  3. Begin with legs straight at a 90 degree angle, with all parts of your back fully on the ground.

  4. Lower your feet to within 3 inches of the ground, without the back raising.

  5. Gently move the feet up and down by a few inches.

Whilst Flutter Kicks emphasised the lower abs, this final exercise will hit the top four for a well-rounded core. They're called Hand Slides, and do a terrific job of isolating the upper abs (which are the largest and usually the first to become visible).


Hand Slides


  1. Lie down on your back. Plant the soles of your feet on the floor, hip-width apart and place your hands flat on your thighs.

  2. Relax your neck and lock the arms out as you reach the fingertips towards the knees by crunching your core inwards.

  3. Hold this position briefly, before returning to the start with control. Lower your feet to within 3 inches of the ground, without the back raising.

  4. Gently move the feet up and down by a few inches.

Between these three ab exercises, you'll go a long way to restoring functional core strength whilst targeting the bottom, middle and upper abs. It's a simple trio that, once accomplished, covers a great deal of ground for core toning.


If you feel like you still need help in achieving the core you're after, you can reach out for a free consultation. I'll try to advise on where you may be going wrong, and what to do instead!

Comments


bottom of page