Is it Bad to Do Abs Everyday? Best Reasons For Resting Abs

by Josh | Last Updated:  October 2, 2020
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While many fitness programs will have you do an ab routine every other day many online have asked whether there are any problems with doing them daily. When I started looking into this as to being problematic I only found posts on forums and bro’s which made me search deeper for real answers.

Is it bad to do abs everyday? Working your abs is much different than working most of your typical muscle groups. Ab-specific exercises usually involve using just the weight of your torso with a relatively limited range of movement. It’s unlikely that you work them hard enough that they actually need a protracted rest.

Basically when you work out your abs they don’t tend to get the same brutal workout your arms or legs get, since they aren’t being torn they have less repair time allowing more frequent use.

This along with the fact that unlike many other muscles in your body your abs are involved in almost all the movement you do each and every day, this means it is more used to consistency then many other muscles at the same time.

What Happens If You Do Abs Everyday?

There are many YouTube videos of people who have done abs everyday for 30 days and show some “amazing” results. Honestly, most of them are probably just bloated in their before pictures or are planning to sell you something.

Doing abs everyday is totally fine when you enjoy it and you look forward to it but you should then also ensure you work on the lower back to help balance out the muscles so you don’t end up imbalanced from front to back.

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If you love abs, and boy have I met some people who LOVE to do abs, you don’t need to pressure yourself to do them daily and if you use weights you definitely shouldn’t then do them daily!

Reasons To Not Worry About Ab Work Daily

There are reasons why burning time performing crazy workouts focused on your abs is a little over the top, this is a short list to give some context as to why it may not be worthwhile, that is unless you love it

Do Abs Need a Rest Day?

If you are performing body weight exercises consistently each day you don’t need to give yourself a rest day. As this provides the abs stimulation but doesn’t cause the same amount of tearing that a weighted workout would do.

Should you choose to do weighted ab work then this can change the story some, as your abs are used for all the motion in your body if you put them through a crazy heavy workout and cause microtears then it would make sense to give 48-96 hours rest.

Woman doing an outdoor set of fitness crunches workout - post on Is it Bad to Do Abs Everyday
Outdoor fitness crunches workout

Even if you give this time off you aren’t as much as on other muscle groups, your core and abs will continue to work when you sit, lay down, walk, squat, and basically do any standard movement every day.

Can You Overtrain Abs?

While it is very difficult it can be done as many athletes can push their abs to the tearing point and sometimes even to hernia stage. Though this requires some pretty extreme workouts in almost all cases you do want to keep this in mind.

Woman doing sit-ups while her male trainer holds her feet - post on Is it Bad to Do Abs Everyday
Woman doing sit-ups while her male trainer holds her feet

While that isn’t meant to scare you this is more aimed for people doing hundreds to thousands per day or using the highly weighted approach to cause as much work as possible. The majority of regular people working out will almost never reach this level of failure on that scale.

Do Planks Build Abs?

Yes, planks are an excellent ab workout. One of the reasons that the plank is such a quality exercise for you to perform is that it works all the muscles in your core.

From the rectus abdominus (your “six pack area”), transverse abdominus (the deep ab muscles), your external and internal obliques (the side muscles in the core), additionally you get work in on your hips and back which are a part of that core also.

If you are hoping they will give you that six pack signature look with visible abs then you are mistaken and you need to switch focus. If your body fat level isn’t low enough you will not be able to see your abs, regardless of how strong and pronounced they are.

To reach the 12% body fat level, where you will start to see abs well, you need to control your diet. Once you’ve controlled your diet you can add exercise to accelerate your fat loss process and then begin to see your abs.

Are Planks Better Than Sit Ups?

When you perform a sit up you will feel this within your main muscles of the rectus abdominus. While this is a good workout for them you end up missing the rest of the core to maintain overall body balance.

This is really where the plank shines as a complete core workout as each variation works all the parts of the core which allows for a more complete workout with less time spent.

Is Running Good For Abs?

While not specifically an ab workout or routine, running is good to help you burn off body fat which is what you need to do to expose your abs and make them visible.

Using a run as an ab workout isn’t as functional as a dedicated ab workout, though if you want to add in some effort then it is suggested to keep your core tight as if ready to be punched while running to help work them more consistently.

A young woman running on bridge in urban environment - post on Is it Bad to Do Abs Everyday
A young woman running on bridge in urban environment

The other way that Runners World UK had as an option is to run fast HIIT sprints where you will be engaging the core as the powerhouse to push movement faster and harder.

the best form of running session to work on your core and develop strong abdominal muscles is speed sessions. If you’re predominantly a distance runner, a good, simple speed session to try is 10-20 reps of 100m sprints, with 30-40 second walking breaks between sprints.

Runners World UK

Final Thoughts on Is it Bad to Do Abs Everyday

I think a lot of people believe far too much in specifically targeting abs to try and achieve a six pack and that atypical washboard abs appearance. The issue is that this comes from having a low body fat level and not from targeting working out of your abdominals.

Instead what I would suggest is to focus instead on honing your diet to become razor focused which will allow you to start cutting body fat. As this body fat melts off you will start to see your abs regardless of the time spent working out.

If you are interested in nutrition we have a whole category dedicated to nutrition to provide helpful information to get you to your goals. Come on over and check them out to see if they can give you the hint that will kickstart your results!

I grew up in a home where most our days were spent inside, and sports were not a family priority. I did play soccer and baseball as a kid, but the older I got, the more I lost interest. To regain my health, I decided to adhere to the three tenets of health and longevity. I hope you will join me, by making it your purpose to live as long and well as possible.