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How often should I work my abs?

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Updated May 27, 2014

Question: How often should I work my abs?
Answer: Your abs are no different than the rest of your muscles. You wouldn't work your shoulders every day and, similarly, you shouldn't work your abs every day either. Your body needs recovery time In order to grow stronger and change.

Work your abs 2-3 non-consecutive days a week, taking care to target all your ab muscles:

  • Rectus abdominis - ball crunches are just one way to target this muscle
  • Transverse abdominis - the plank is a great way to strengthen your TVA
  • Internal and external obliques - the bicycle works all your ab muscles!

For more, see my Abs & Back workout or a sample ab routine. Another important note: whenever you work your abs, make sure you work your lower back too.

How many sets/reps of ab exercises should I do?

As mentioned above, your ab muscles are just like other muscles in your body. That means you want to do between 10-16 reps of each exercise for 2-3 sets. If you've been doing abs for a while and find that you're not fatigued at the end of each set:

  • Check Your Form. Don't use momentum or other body parts (like your neck or your hip flexors) to help you.
  • Slow down. The slower you go, the more your muscles will work.
  • Challenge yourself with different exercises.
  • Try dynamic activities such as Pilates to target your abdominals in a whole new way.

Back to Ab FAQs

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