How Many Times a Week Should I Train Abs?
Abdominal training is a classic gym locker room debate that nobody escapes from There are many questions about what to do to get a strong, toned abdomen. One of the most common questions is how often you should work out your abdominals. If you ask different people or look for information online, you will find all kinds of opinions, from the opinion that you have to train every day, to the idea that you don’t need to train because you already work your abs indirectly when you do compound exercises such as squats. But enough with the rumors: we want scientific proof.
So how much should I work on my abs? The short answer is that you should be training them the same way you train any other muscle: 2 or 3 times a week.
The ideal training frequency
While it’s true that, in the end, it all depends on our personal goals, there seems to be a general consensus that for a muscle to grow and develop you need to work on it several times a week. This is made clear by research conducted in 2016 that looked at 10 different studies, which compared training each muscle once a week with training each muscle 2 to 3 times a week. The researchers analyzed the effect that different training frequencies had on muscle growth. The result: all the studies showed a benefit – significant but not great – in training more frequently. In fact, training each muscle 2 or 3 times a week resulted in 3.1% more muscle growth than training only once a week.
Another test conducted in 2017 compared training each muscle 2 times a week with training 4 times a week. The researchers found that, after 6 weeks of training, those who trained around twice a week had experienced greater muscle gains than those who trained more frequently.
Indirect abdominal training and the best exercises for your core
If you only work out 2 or 3 times a week, you need to make the most of your time. So how do you decide which exercises to do? The first thing to bear in mind is the importance of the indirect abdominal training effect. While isolated exercises are a good addition, they will not strengthen your core at all levels. The key is to do compound training and eat a diet adapted to your goals.
You shouldn’t forget to strengthen your oblique abdominals, which are the ones at the sides of your trunk, something that will bring you a lot of benefits and for which you have a series of sure-fire exercises. And, of course, how can you forget the dreaded abdominal planks? The plank is one of the best exercises for strengthening many different muscle groups, all at the same time, including the abdomen. As it’s an exercise that comes from Pilates and yoga, it’s a ‘must’ in any ab workout routine that wants to deliver the best results.
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Sources for this article
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