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Some people never do abs. Some people do abs every day. Some people have a dedicated ab day while others throw it in as an after thought. And if you ask them all, they will tell you their way is right. There are reasons behind it: the core and abs are engaged in all heavy lifts, so they get hit without targeting them. Or since they are used all day every day, they dont need as much rest and need extra attention to get results. But whos right?
Your core, which includes your deep internal girdle muscles, your superficial ab muscles and your lower back, is the center of your being. It is the basis of every functional movement, making it very important, but it is still a muscle group like any other. This means in order to get results, it 1) needs targeted and 2) needs rest.
So when should you train your abs, and what should you do?
What should you do:
If you only perform isolation ab exercises, like crunches, youre cutting yourself short. Compound movements like deadlifts, squats, and overhead presses engage your entire core, so make sure these functional movements are the foundation of your fitness routine. Then, to target the abs, use a mix of core exercises, like planks, cable woodchops, and ab rollouts.
Your core training should mimic the rest of your training. When choosing sets and reps, stick to the range of your current training program. if you are focused on increasing strength and power, your ab exercises should focus on that as well. (Think medicine ball slams versus planks).
When you should do it:
To get results while preventing over training, focus on hitting your core two to three times a week post-workout. They should wrap up your workout because your abs help stabilize your body and protect your spine in every movement you do. If you fatigue them early in your workout, you will have a hard time keeping proper form during compound exercises like squats.
All you need is 15 minutes, especially if youre already doing compound exercises. Choose 1-2 ab exercises, do 2-3 sets and of course....
Don’t forget about nutrition. Its where abs are made. In fact, maintaining your normal diet but tossing in some ab work will likely have no affect on your midsecton. A combo of healthy diet and focused ab work will get you the 6 pack youre looking for.