SparkPeople Blogs  •  fitness  •  abs

You Asked: Can You Train Your Abs Every Day?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Who doesn't want six pack abs? Well REIGNWATER recently asked a great fitness question related to these muscles: "Does Pilates count as ab work? How often can it be done?"

Want to hear what I had to say?

First of all, it's important to know that the abdominals are just like any other muscle in your body. So when you strength train them to fatigue, they need a break. But let's be clear here. Fatigue is the key word. When you strength train to fatigue, that means you do enough reps that you cannot possibly do another one in good form, whether your working your abs or your biceps. Traditional strength training exercises for the abs and core, when done correctly, can lead to muscle fatigue. Therefore, you should allow the abs to rest and recover 1-2 days before you train them again.

But while mat Pilates is a form of strength training (it tones the muscles and increases strength, too), it's different. For one, you'll typically perform 10 reps of each exercise or fewer. The goal isn't to "fatigue" the muscles, either. Pilates is often described as "gentler" for this reason. Because Pilates does not work the muscles to fatigue, it is safe to do on back-to-back days without a break. If you are a beginner to Pilates, however, it can be extremely challenging and lead to fatigue and post-workout soreness. If you're new, it's best to rest and allow your body to recover 1-2 days before doing Pilates or abs exercises again in the week.

In general, I recommend that people train their abs, whether with traditional exercises like crunches or Pilates exercises, 2-4 times a week (allowing adequate rest days if necessary). This is simply because I don't think doing any one form of exercise every day is ever ideal—even if it is "safe." I think people tend to focus on the abs a little too much (they're working all the time, whether you're running or strength training) at the expense of other muscles, such as the lower back (which you should train every time you do the abs).

Need answers to your fitness questions? Post in the comments below and I just may answer your question in a future entry!

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints

Comments

ELRIDDICK 4/29/2018
Thanks for sharing Report
JOHNMARTINMILES 4/3/2018
Great article Report
REDROBIN47 3/31/2018
My abs are the most neglected. I need to work on that. Report
EO4WELLNESS 1/16/2018
Thank you. Report
ELRIDDICK 11/6/2017
Thanks for sharing Report
ELRIDDICK 9/21/2017
Thanks for sharing Report
JOHNMARTINMILES 7/22/2017
I read an article one time that said if you don't train a particular muscle for a week it will begin to lose tone. It said that an exception was the abs which would begin to lose tone after two days. Since then when I am in my exercise cycle, I try to do abs almost everyday but alternating between crunches and swimmer or planks so that it is not the same every day. Does it work? I don't know, but I feel better so it has a good result. Report
LESSOFMOORE 6/21/2017
My abs need work! Report
ANNE-IN-GTX
As an A.C.E. Personal Trainer, articles like this are so very misleading because they suggest that the abdominals are one muscle.
They are NOT!
You CAN work your abs on successive days...as long as you realize that it IS possible to work the different parts of the abdominal muscles!!!
Report
Yeah I remember those days well.. haven't felt soreness in my muscles since I had my last child Cesarean. I hope to have those feelings again but not at the cost of a poor lower back.. easing into it will be my best option... Report
STAYFIT16
Just make sure you don't work them too hard. Eventually your body will adapt, but otherwise, make sure that you don't hurt yourself by working tired muscles. I'd say start with larger intervals, and then upgrade it to daily. For your calves, running is not a bad thing.For more information about Health visit stayfitnutrition website. Report
STACIBUK
next topic should be pilates vs yoga Report
Hi, if anyone has some advice for someone with a HUGE jelly belly...this all came on with middle age...where do I start??? Report
I wonder if we will be doing these moves when we are in assisted living?? Report
What kind of pilates does the writer do exactly? When I take a class or a lesson I work till my abs are really fatigued. Pilates is suppose to be hard work for your abs, not gentler. Report
SHELLPROOF
HI! I'd like to know? Do those 'cut abs' look that way if your NOT tightened up or sucking in? I've had major surgery on my abdomin and have a huge scar that leaves me slightly disfigured and the muscle on that side is never the same level of 'flat' unless I keep it sucked in. It doesn't help either that I've lost so much weight that I have what my Dr termed, "redundant" fat? She thinks I would have to have lipo & tummy tuck to get cut abs. I just wondered if everyone kept theirs "sucked in" to look that way? Report
I work my abs/core to near fatigue 5-6 days per week. I've been following this schedule for over a year, and my abs have never looked better or been this flat. My posture has also improved, and I just feel stronger overall.

I wanted to add, too, that I've never had children but I sympathize with all you mothers. Report
Now I can train my abs without feeling cramps for days, I think that's an improvement. I just need to be more patience to see the result of more toned, stronger abs/core! Report
Is there any such thing as fast pace pilates? Report
KATIE_59
That's a good question. I love Pilates and would easily do them every day. I love how lean I get, even after just a couple of weeks! Good to know that doing them most days isn't going to hurt me. Report
I want tighter abs also. I do not train to fatigue but I do walk holding them in and try to remember to hold them in while exercising. I do see a cut waist now. Keep with the suggestions. Knowing that everything does not work for everyone. I will try it and and see what works. Report
I generally work my abs in sections. Abs, obliques and back. So when I do actually end up working them to fatigue I have 1-2 days before I am back in that area. if I do not work them to fatigue I use them as time filler when I am at the gym waiting on equipment.
I have in the past been told that its ok to work abs and calves every day. They get used so much that the body repairs them first.
Report
LOSETHEJIGGLE
I've heard conflicting views on this. Great info to explain it a little. Report
RENA1965
I carried alot of weight and had two kids, so had to have a extreme tummy tuck to remove 35 cms of skin. Most important thing with this operation you have to be 100% sure you can hold your weight at steady state. It has taken a while to get great abs but I use the every other day principle to train. I have a whole section to my stomach and it has shaved a extra 5 cms just with training off my waist just training while my weight stays steady.
I don't like that AB coaster unless you have a huge amount of core strength (good upper body body and lower back strength control) it can feel really unsafe. I used the torso machine and Ab machine to build up strength and then ventured out into stuff more unstable equipment that requires total body control.. Report
Has anybody tried the Abs Coaster? Report
As a fitness trainer, I tell people to train the abs every other day. The article was spot on. We teach them to train every other muscle group every other day, the abs are no different. People use to be taught to do them every day, but the studies showed to do them every other day a few years back, and so people are now taught (and teach others) to do them every other day.

Ms. Novia-bicycle crunches are one of the best ab exercises, as well as ball passes (lay on your back put a stability ball between your feet, lifting your legs up and shoulders off the floor, grab the ball, lower the legs until you feel the abs engage, and lower the shoulders while holding the ball, then lift the legs and shoulders back up and pass the ball back to the legs, lower the legs and arms and repeat)-it is probably on a video on SP, if not, hopefully they will add it :) Report
GOAL142
I have had 5 children, two of which were over 9 lbs and 23 inches long. My abs are a mess! My doctor told me, as in some of the other comments, that my ab muscles were stretched and displaced and I would probably need surgery to correct. I refuse to beleive this. I have been to other doctors as well as two chiropractors and never was recommended for this surgery. So my question is this: Can "displaced" or "seperated" abs come back together with proper excercise? I'm not necessarily looking for a 6-pack here, just would like to not look pregnant anymore! Report
I was lead to believe from every trainer I've every talked to that you can work your abs everyday because it is the only muscle that forgets, so thats what I do.

I would like to make a suggestion. I would like to see more numbers under the walk category I always seem to walk in between wants listed. Report
I'm 36 & I've had lower back surgery 3 years ago. I have a hard time doing exercises. Especially things on the floor. I want better abs what would you suggest in toning my abs? Thank you. Report
NIKKIH1975
lovesweets2,
I understand your pain. I had damage done to my stomach when I had my eldest child. I even had my doctor tell me that I can do a thousand sit ups and it would not make a difference. That was frustrating to hear. So its like when you do crunches all you think bout is what the doctor said about trying to get a smaller tummy is pointless. Report
To sauna or not to sauna?That is the question. I'm very confused. I went to the gym a while a go and after each session I went to do sauna(3 times/week) and after that I waf feeling great. Now, I started going to another gym and they told me I shouldn't do sauna no more 'cause is bad for me. So, which is it? Is sauna good for people or not?! Report
I love reading all the comments. I try doing abs every day, but I don't see a difference. I see more of a difference by doing cardio every day and holding in my stomach as I exercise. Report
I sort of have the same question as "magickhapns" I never had to worry about my stomach before my daughter was born 16 years ago. I naturally had a 6 pack. Now because of the c-section my abs are out of control. I still look like I am pregnant. I have done sit-ups until I am blue in the fact and then I just give up. I need to know what ab exercise I can do that will tighten up my flabby abs Report
What would happen if you do them everyday? Report
I had a baby 16 months ago, the delivery ended in an emergency C-section. Now I have been left with what is called a "split abdominal rectus muscle". It took a long time to recover. Although I work my abs often, they get to the point of fatigue quite quickly, I'm still left with this problem and I still look six months pregnant. I'm not clear on what exercises are best in correcting this and wonder if I'm doing more harm than good. Any suggestions? Report
I have a Wii Fit, and I adore the exercises there, especially since in order to unlock more challenging exercises, you have to work out a certain amount before you can access them. This keeps me from doing them all and burning out.

The question that I have though, is are those exercises safe to do everyday? What would be the best way to create an exercise program using the Wii Fit to lose weight? Are there any exercises that are on the Wii Fit that should be avoided or only done a certain amount of time per week?

Thanks for the help!! Report
Thank you for this article we can learn a lot just by reading. Report
I would like to see an article done on the stability ball 'chairs' you see at places like Target. How practical are they, how long can you be at the computer on them, are they a fad trend? Report
CHIPDANIEL
i always thought it was cool to do that everyday Report
I have no idea which one is better:pilates or yoga.Perhaps Nicole can solve this "problem" :))) Report
This questions comes up often on our Crunches team. It's nice to finally see an official answer from Spark on this issue! Report
I think they should double COACH NICOLE'S salary!! Report
Thanks for all the great info, I took a lot from the article. Report
Really great info. I never considered Pilates but this may change my mind. Report
Great info. Report
JAZZERCISEGENIE
I usually do abs everyday. I exercise everyday and really don't give my body a rest. Could be why I am falling apart. I am 63 and exercising and eating healthy is one way I am trying not to be dependant on my kids for my life. Report
Multatuli, not to say that your trainer isn't educated, but the Hamstrings (3 muscles), Quadriceps (4 muscles), Rotator Cuff (3 muscles), etc. are all muscle groups...you can't work those on back to back days! Like Nicole put it, if you are working to fatigue, it's probably wise to give the body (in this case, abs) rest. Overtraining only will be a set back in the long run! Report
DORIANRW
I've heard that it's okay to work abs everyday, but what you say about muscle fatigue makes a lot of sense. Report
Good to know and great information. Report
I try to do different core and either upper body or lower body everyday I alternate between them. Seems to me my abs get worked no matter what I do. Thanks for the info now I can add them to my plan. Report
 
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a new exercise each day, handpicked by our certified trainers. We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.