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Can You Work Out Abs Every Day [ Issues and Concerns ]

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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 being problematic I only found posts on forums and bro’s which made me search deeper for real answers as to is it bad to do abs everyday?

Your abs are a muscle group, and just like many others, you train that should get a break to recover. Your core muscles work all day to help you walk and move so they don’t always need targeted workouts, but adding in planks, and other balance and stabilization work can be beneficial to overall function.

Working your abdominal muscles is much different than working most of your typical muscle groups.

Ab-specific bodyweight exercise usually involves 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 adequate recovery.

Basically, when you perform any core exercise they don’t tend to get the same brutally difficult exercise 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 movements you do each and every day means it is more used to consistency than many other muscles at the same time.

What Happens If You Do Abs Everyday?

There are many YouTube videos of people who have done abdominal exercises every day 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 an abs workout every day 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

  • Ab Exercise Isn’t Required to Build a Strong Core or Six Pack – Many other exercises work through the same region, which means whether you know it or not they are always getting a workout.
  • Cause Posture Issues Over Time – One other issue that most aren’t thinking of is that if you are sitting at a desk job this may cause you to hunch over more.
  • Doesn’t Remove That Stubborn Belly Fat – Regardless of what those expert trainers tell you working your abs doesn’t remove the fat there, the fat leaves from over your body you can’t spot reduce your fat stores.

Do Abs Need a Rest Day?

If you are performing bodyweight exercises consistently each day you don’t need to give yourself a day of rest.

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 core exercises 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 micro tears then it would make sense to give 48-96 hours of rest.

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

Even if you give this time off you aren’t as much as on other muscle groups, your entire 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 abdominal exercises to the tearing point and sometimes even to the 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 at 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 that builds tremendous core strength.

One of the reasons that using the plank position is such a quality exercise for you to perform is that it works all the muscles in your core.

From the rectus abdominis (your “six-pack area”), transverse abdominis (the deep ab muscles), and your external and internal obliques (the side muscles in the core), additionally you get work in on your hips and back which are 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-burning 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 abdominis.

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 training abs, 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 strong and 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 a bridge in an 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!

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