Despite the reality that it’s impossible, there persists the belief that your abs will look cover model ripped simply by doing a lot of ab work.
Due to their need to function as stabilizers all day long, the abdominals have a network of veins and capillaries that are denser than in many other muscle groups. This gives them a greater capacity for recovery. Depending on your current fitness level and the intensity of the abdominal training, you could train abs every day.
But we’re back to the critical question underlying the daily abs dilemma.
Why would you want to? Most people are already fighting just to maintain the space in their schedule for regular exercise. Why would you want to spend time training any muscle group every day if you didn’t have to?
Unhappy with the way your abs look? You have two options.
- You can follow a comprehensive program of consistently challenging, total-body resistance training, greatly reduce intake of sugars and saturated fats while consuming lean proteins, and include progressively challenging cardiovascular training. Or…
- You could just do a whole lot of crunches.
The difference: The first one is more challenging and it works. The second one is relatively easy and it doesn’t work.
Everyone Has Abdominals
Yes, YOU have abdominals. If you work your abs three times a day, once a week…or never, you still have abdominal muscles. Then what’s keeping the abs hidden? Your body is built in layers. The outermost is the skin, then fat, then muscle. If the fat layer is too large, it will hide the abdominals.
Strengthening and developing the abdominals without attention paid to a comprehensive program of exercise and sound nutrition is going to result in strong, well-developed abs that are well-covered by body fat.
Abdominals can be trained to great effect by treating them much like any other muscle group – by training them only a few times per week.
How many reps should you do for abs? Another source of confusion.
We all know someone who boasts of being able to do 200 (or more) crunches. The next time you see them, congratulate them! They have discovered how to do cardio with their abdominal muscles! They aren’t going to get better abs this way, but they will get a highly developed sense of boredom.
In order to develop muscles, they must be challenged in a relatively short period of time. In much the same way that running does not build leg muscles, a 5 minute set of abs doesn’t build abdominal muscles.
As a general guideline, if you are able to perform 20 reps of any abdominal exercise, it is time for a new challenge. Either make the existing movement more challenging or pick a different exercise.
Remember, what it takes to change the appearance of ANY body part is the same.
- Regular, progressively challenging resistance training for all major muscle groups
- Regular, progressively challenging cardiovascular training
- Nutrition that supports fat loss and healthy function