Archive for the tag - ab

Can You Train Abs Everyday?

Hey Davey,

I’ve gotten plenty of tips for workouts from friends in the past but there’s one recurring rumor I keep hearing. To your knowledge, can ab exercises be done everyday? Or do you have to give them rest like you do the other parts of your body such as arms or legs?

From,
Max

Max,

Whether or not abs should be trained everyday is one of the million dollar fitness questions with elaborate theories for and against it.

Opponents of everyday ab training point out that our abs are just like any other muscle in the body – and that they can be overtrained. When we exercise with resistance, our muscles break down. Sufficient time is required for any muscle to rebuild, and so opponents believe that a day (or more) of rest is needed between ab workouts.

Proponents of everyday ab training believe that our abdominal muscles are unique. Because we use these muscles for almost any movement we make, it takes a lot of training to really fatigue these muscles. As such, it takes frequent training sessions for optimal results. And indeed, many bodybuilders do train their abs everyday.

I take a middle-of-the-line approach that combines both philosophies. I train my lower abs on one day, my upper abs on the second and my obliques (side abs) on the third. This gives sufficient rest to each area of my abdomen while still allowing more frequent ab training.

Of course, you’ll have to find what works best for you – and remember that you should never train a muscle that is still sore from a previous workout. Most people will be perfectly fine with 3 – 5 ab workouts per week.

Also keep in mind that, contrary to popular belief, the best way to improve abdominal definition is not with crunches or sit-ups. Any layer of fat (even a very thin one) will hide your six pack, and so it’s crucially important to engage in frequent and effective cardiovascular training (I recommend metabolism-boosting intervals).

I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

Six-Pack Tip: Faster Crunches for Ripped Abs.

Tall, dark and delicious! Can I get an amen?!

I’m about to rock your world with some new research. Sit down for this one.

You’ve probably heard that, when it comes to the speed at which you perform strength training exercises, slower is better. The idea behind slow training seems logical. By going slow, you remove all the momentum from your movements – and so all the tension is directly on your muscles. It seems to make sense, but new research is proving otherwise.

It turns out that super slow training is significantly less effective than traditional training. One study showed slow training strength gains of 15% compared to gains of 39% for traditional training.

But wait, there’s more.

Additional research has been done on the variable of speed in abdominal exercises – and crunches, in particular. Researchers divided participants into 4 groups, and had those groups perform crunches at different speeds (1 crunch per 4 seconds, 1 crunch per 2 seconds, 1 crunch per 1.5 seconds, 1 crunch per 1 second). Turns out, the participants in the fastest group – 1 crunch per 1 second – had the highest amount of muscle activation.

In actuality, the results shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Compare the legs of a marathon runner to the legs of a sprinter. Sprinters, who engage in fast bursts of rapid movement, have very muscular legs.

Of course, this isn’t a green light to rush through all your exercises. But it does mean that increasing the speed at which you crunch can be a good thing. But increase the speed slowly; progressively build up to a faster pace over time. And remember that form shouldn’t be sacrificed for speed!