How often should you train your abs for the best results?

Heather Campbell
 min read

How often should you train your abs for the best results? When you talk about training abs, or any muscles for that matter, balance is a very important word.

How often should you train your abs for the best results?You have to train your abdominal muscles enough because otherwise, you won’t see enough effect.

As a general rule, the best training isn’t going at it hard and often. Abs are constantly used even in the smallest of movements, so start training for 2-3 times a week, and build slowly upon that while constantly listening to your body. The important thing is to train properly to avoid injury.

However, you should also not train them too much since overloading them can cause severe damage to your abdominal muscles. Read on to find out how to achieve the right balance.

How often should you train your abs for the best results? Introduction

So you have to find the right balance, but that can be very difficult.

How often you should train can be challenging to determine and depends on many different factors.

Therefore, while we cannot give you a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, we can help you find the answer for yourself.

The dangers of overtraining

Before we explain how to balance too much and too little training, we want to take a moment to discuss the dangers of overtraining.

This is sometimes underestimated by people who want to get rid of their fat rolls and have little experience with fitness exercises.

But even overenthusiastic bodybuilders and athletes sometimes make the mistake of training too hard without adequate rest, with dire consequences.

Those who overuse their muscles or do not give them enough time to recover increase the risk of injury and damage.

And that is, of course, annoying in the first place because you then need a long recovery time before you can train effectively again.

Because you didn’t want to take some time to recover, you then have to work much harder for the same result (because you slow down and fall behind when you are injured).

Related post: For recovery tips after an ab workout, have a look at our other article Sore abs after workout: 7 Muscle recovery tips

In addition, overuse can even cause permanent muscle damage.

By damaging your muscle tissue or your blood flow, you can permanently reduce the growth potential of your muscles.

A damaged muscle often has a limited ability to develop (and grow). Furthermore, overuse also just takes the fun out of sports.

Many people who quit fitness or bodybuilding do so because they have been working on this far too intensely.

Continuously wanting to get everything out of your body is not something most people can sustain for long. So, in the long run, this is not an intelligent strategy.

You need to find the golden mean between effort and relaxation to sustain it for a long time. So it’s crucial to find that optimal balance between strengthening exercises and rest.

Did you know: For a flat and tight belly, you will (possibly) need to lower your fat percentage and a balanced diet plays a vital role in this.

Why abs are special

We need to nuance the dangers of overexertion to the abdominal muscles.

Because while any muscle can be overtrained, fortunately, abdominal muscles can withstand quite a bit of strain. They are used continuously for anything and everything and are therefore harder to overuse than various other muscles.

Of course, you also use your legs and arms every day. But your trunk and abdominal muscles are actually used for almost every movement.

Even if you don’t leave your house for a whole day and almost only sit on your sofa or at the table, you are still using your abdominal muscles. They are really the basis for every movement in your body.

Your abdominal muscles already have to go to work when you take a quick walk to the refrigerator or toilet. And they also have to work on the toilet.

Thus, abdominal muscles can take more abuse because of this continuous and intensive use.

Beware: Every muscle can be overtrained, so don’t think you can do absolutely nothing wrong with your abs. However, you can take a little more risk with abs than other muscles.

If you think your abs can handle a little more, it probably won’t hurt to keep going a little longer. Generally, overload only comes into play when you really train way too much.

How you could damage your abdominal muscles

There are several ways you can damage your abdominal muscles.

This then has less to do with the amount of training and more to do with the way of training.

Specifically, it comes down to training the right way.

By this, we mean, above all, that you need to have the correct posture for every abdominal exercise you do.

Every exercise stands or falls by its execution. This applies not only to its effectiveness but also to its safety and the risk of injury.

There are plenty of workout routines available for training your abs but make sure you are careful.

The proper execution of just about any exercise is easy to find online.

On the Internet, there are numerous videos in which practiced athletes demonstrate precisely how to perform an exercise. Also, on this website, there are articles in which we explain it step by step.

Training your abs without proper technique is dangerous. The frequency is not the problem, but the way you train can cause significant physical problems and injuries.

Experienced athletes often think that they do not make mistakes in terms of posture and execution, thanks to their experience. Nevertheless, there are a lot of athletes and bodybuilders who do their exercises, including their abdominal exercises, incorrectly because they were once taught the wrong way.

How many times a week should you train your abs?

Now we come to the heart of the article, the central question you want answering: How often should and could I train my abs, at a minimum and at a maximum?

First, let’s dwell on how many days a week you can and should train your abs.

There is no question that abdominal muscles can take a lot. But not everyone agrees on how much exactly.

However, if you look at the advice of various coaches, magazines, and websites, you will quickly see that 3 times a week really is the absolute minimum.

If you train less than that, you will see little to no effect from your hard work. That, of course, would be a waste.

The maximum is every day. According to several trainers, working out your abs every day is totally fine.

Many athletes and bodybuilders do this and incur absolutely no damage from it.

Beware: Of course, it is still important to train in the right way.

However, this is advice given to experienced athletes and fitness enthusiasts, people who have been growing abdominal muscles for some time.

Are you just a beginner? Then at least you shouldn’t start with 7 days a week.

It is wiser to start with 2-3 times a week as a beginner.

And if you find that after a few weeks or months, this starts to come quite easily to you, or that you only see little results, you can build this up a little more and more in terms of frequency and intensity.

How long should you train your abs per day?

You now know approximately how many days a week it is best to train your abs.

But how long and how intensely should you train your abs during a training session? If you know this, then you know what the right balance is for training your abs effectively and safely.

It may come as no surprise to you that, on this point as well, the opinions of experts vary widely.

However, one piece of advice that often recurs is 10 minutes a day but at a very high intensity. You don’t take any breaks during these 10 minutes, and you are really only training your abdominal muscles.

This is quite intense on the one hand, but on the other hand, it makes you finish it quickly.

Of course, it is also possible to train your abs less intensively (but then you will have to train longer). For some, this is easier to maintain, while it is more difficult for others.

So it all depends on what you like best… Would you rather pump really hard until you feel it burn and then be done with it? Or would you prefer to train a little longer if it makes it less hectic and intense?

By the way, your body has a pretty good built-in gauge for abdominal training. So if your abs are sore the day after you work out, you’ve worked out enough.

This is simply a sign that you have put your muscles to work harder than usual, and of course, that is what a good workout should do.

Tip: If you have muscle soreness for more than 2 days after a training session of abdominal exercises, you have gone a little too far.

In short, listen to your body for the right feedback. Your body really does tell you if you’ve worked hard enough (and if you’ve overdone it).

How do I make sure my abs are nicely visible?

Training your abdominal muscles is, of course, an essential factor for beautiful, visible abs.

After all, people can’t see beautiful abs if they simply aren’t there. However, this is not the only element. The visibility of your abs also has to do with your fat percentage.

This is not hard to explain… Most fat is on your belly, and if there is a layer of fat in front of your muscles, no one can see them.

So, the less fat you have, the more visible your muscles are. That is when how often should you train your abs for the best results comes into play.

So for most of us, losing weight is at least as important as training your abs themselves (because most people also train their abs a little for the outside world).

So make sure your workout regimen is focused not only on abs and your torso but also on losing and burning fat.

For example, you can burn fat by doing cardio more often since this is the best training method to burn fat. Your diet is also crucial here, so pay close attention to what you (don’t) eat and drink.

Tip: One form of cardio can be (fast-paced) walking to burn your belly fat, as described in our other post How you can walk off belly fat: Tips to maximize fat burning

How often should you train your abs for the best results? Conclusion

How often should you train your abs for the best results?

Given that your abs are in constant use, they can be the strongest muscle in your body.

Start off with 2-3 times a week and build on that, but it’s more important to train properly to avoid injury rather than train a lot.

And as always, the right nutrition is key.

About Heather Campbell

As a dietitian, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More