The quest for attaining the perfect six-pack has left most camping in the gyms. If not, some are breaking their backs working out at home to shred fat around their ab area. The problem is that most people are falling victim to overtraining without them even realizing it. Such behavior has profound effects on your health and physique as well.
For some, overtraining can result in health complications. For others, it could mean attaining some slight changes in the abdominal area, but at high health cost. It brings about the question of how long you are supposed to exercise until you see your abs.
You might have seen several searches about “how often should I workout abs” online. Different articles suggest varying timelines for efficient results. Let us evaluate this concept in-depth and determine the correct timeline depending on specific individual factors.
The Journey to Getting Abs
Some people have taken less time compared to others to get their six-pack. However, for a significant number, the journey has been exhausting, overwhelming, and tiring. It is despite the two groups doing the same workouts to get abs.
You must understand that several factors affect how fast you report changes in your ab area. You must consider these factors when working on this region to get a clear picture of the timeline of your journey:
Your Workout Plan
There is a huge misconception when it comes to training for a six-pack. Most people believe that you can target this area only and see results. The reality is that never at any point can you work on one body part.
So, do not kill yourself with exercise routines that only target the abs. You need an all-rounded program that works out your entire body (2). So, expand your programs to more than just cardio and abdominal workouts.
Start incorporating aerobic or weighted exercises that target your entire body. They help in evenly shedding fat throughout your body. Seek the help of your fitness coach when it comes to determining the best full-body exercises.
Based on the intensity or type of program they choose, they will determine how long you exercise. For example, if it is a HIIT workout, they might recommend you only train three times a week.
Levels of Your Abdominal Fat
We all know that most people today are struggling with belly fat. Shedding fat around this region is not a breeze. It is challenging and can leave you on the verge of quitting. So you cannot compare how fast such a person sees their abs compared to another without belly fat.
Of course, if you have belly fat, getting abs will take longer because you have to first shed the abdominal fat. However, toning the core for a person without this fat is easier and can take a shorter duration (6).
So, as much as you are dedicated to your ab program, remember that your abdominal fat also influences the results. The faster you shed it, the quicker you are likely to start seeing your six-pack.
This concept emphasizes the significance of adopting an all-rounded training program. Shedding fat around your abdomen will not magically happen due to the sole focus on ab exercises. Instead, it will rapidly occur when you incorporate multiple exercises.
They could range from aerobic stretching to strength training. Again, ask your coach how long you should embrace each program. You should never, and at any point, decide your workout schedule without any medical or expert advice.
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Types of Exercises You Choose
Different trainers recommend varying ab workouts. Some will recommend sitting exercises like the Russian twists and sitting crunches. On the other hand, others will suggest standing up ab exercises like the core stabilizer. Both programs will eventually do the trick.
However, one can get you your six-pack quick enough. Experts acknowledge that if your goal is training your core, then opt for the standing exercises (1). Most of the standing workouts tend to actively engage the core, helping tone it faster.
It does not mean that once you learn about their effectiveness, you now overdo them. You need to stick to the timeline your instructor has given you. If they recommend you exercise for thirty minutes every three days of the week, then do so.
Abs are built in the kitchen. It means that what you eat affects how long and if you’ll ever get your six-pack. Do not expect to tone your core in a week or month when you only eat processed, refined junk foods. They only increase the fat deposits around your abdominal area.
Instead of such foods, opt for those that further help you shed fat around your core. These include whole foods, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. If you decide to change your diet plan, then ensure you consult with your doctor and dietitian.
Restricting yourself from or incorporating various meal plans may have dire impacts on your overall health. So, ensure you consult and get the approval of these two health care providers before making any changes to your diet.
Your age also plays a crucial role in determining how long you exercise (5). It means that your age will determine how long you should work out your abs. Younger adults can train their core regularly and for a longer duration.
Similarly, they can take up more intense cardio or weighted ab exercises. Increased intensity will speed up the process of toning your core. However, for seniors, the duration of working out their abs will reduce.
You do not expect a senior to work out their abs daily and for an hour or so. This is unrealistic, especially if they are not physically active. Seniors will have different ab programs based on their physical capability and fitness levels.
For most, their program will revolve around aerobic exercises like walking instead of strength training like the younger adults. The goal is not picking any other program, but instead, selecting one that guarantees results safely.
How much exercise you need to work your abs is also influenced by your health status. Exercising can reward you in numerous and invaluable ways. They range from sculpting your physique, weight loss, improved mood, and stamina to reduced stress levels.
However, sometimes, your health might hinder you from exercising or limiting your workout intensity and duration (3). For example, the intensity of your workouts may decrease if you have conditions like asthma and heart diseases.
Likewise, conditions like back injuries may prevent you from performing various ab exercises. For example, back pain may make exercises like crunches a nightmare. In such cases, you must consult with your physician on the significance and safety of your exercise routine.
If you have severe conditions, they might recommend less intense ab workouts. For example, instead of strength training, they might recommend brisk walks lasting 30 minutes for five days a week.
Although you might consider this technique slower when it comes to tone your core, it will safely do the job.
Your Fitness Level
The time you also take to train your abs also varies depending on your fitness ability level. You could be at the beginner, intermediate, or advanced level. If you are just starting an ab exercise program, you might be required to exercise for fewer days.
You can start by also exercising for a shorter duration and then working your way up the ladder (4). It is because you need time to adjust to the routine and also keep up with the exercises. Beginners need more time to learn how to exercise in the correct form.
It may take time, but it will assure them of effective results and fewer injuries. As one moves up the fitness level ladder, they can now adjust their schedule, depending on their goals. If your goal is to maintain your abs, then you do not need to exercise as much.
How Long Should You Exercise?
From the factors above, it is evident that the journey to getting abs varies from person to person. It is impossible to speed up your core results from overtraining. So, take it easy and follow the schedule your instructor has given you.
Overall, experts suggest you train for 150 to 300 minutes a week if you are doing moderate exercises (8). If you take up a vigorous or high-intensity activity such as an aerobic exercise, train for at least 75 to 150 minutes a week.
In addition to paying attention to these exercise guidelines, it is also important to take heed of your body. Your body will often give you various signals. They might signal if you are overdoing or holding back.
Interpreting these signals is not straightforward. So, jot down all these signals and consult with your fitness coach. They will help you in better analyzing and applying the lessons learned from these signals for your good.
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Why Not Train Your Abs Daily?
The perception that overtraining can help you get abs in a week or less can make you overdo these programs. However, overtraining has dire consequences. It can result in increased soreness, fatigue, and injuries.
Perhaps the most severe effect is not giving your body and muscles time to recover. You need to have rest days to allow your muscles to recover (7).
The Bottom Line
Toning the abs may be challenging and unsustainable for most people. They may end up starting programs and not sticking to them to the end. One reason for this could be due to overtraining, especially with high-intensity workouts.
From the information above, it is safe to say we have the answer to the question, “how often should I work out abs.” There is no rule dictating that you will gain your six-pack by working out every other day.
Instead of training daily, you are required to work out for a few days of the week and rest on others. On these rest days, you will give your muscles enough time to recover. Your working out duration will vary depending on several factors, the fundamental one being your routine. The timeline will undoubtedly vary when you pick weighted programs, aerobic exercises, or stretching workouts.
Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.
You should always consult with your healthcare provider before you start or change your ab routine. Our information is helpful but it certainly cannot replace medical advice. So, seek medical advice first.
- 18 ways to get a flat stomach (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- 6 Tips for Flat Abs (2007, webmd.com)
- Exercise and chronic disease: Get the facts (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Exercise and Fitness Tips to Improve Your Health (2006, webmd.com)
- Exercise and Physical Fitness (2020, medlineplus.gov)
- How to get defined abdominal muscles (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Indoor fitness routine (2020, medlineplus.gov)
- What to know about exercise and how to start (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)