We've discussed before how much cardio and strength training you should be doing, but what most people are really wondering is how often to train your abs. To find out the answer, I reached out to four separate trainers who each differ in their specialties. Here's what you need to do to chisel out that six-pack.
From a Pilates Instructor
Molly Sigman, certified Pilates instructor and Equinox Pilates manager, recommends doing a bit of core work every day or incorporating core exercises into your workouts three to five times a week. "I also focus on using my deep transverse abdominis abdominals when doing ballet and flow yoga," she told POPSUGAR. "This way, I leave feeling incredibly strong and centered."
From a TRX and Spinning Instructor
Corey Phelps, a certified BASI Pilates teacher and TRX and Spinning instructor, says to perform ab-specific work three times a week (roughly every other day) for results. Additionally, she recommends incorporating cardio and compound, total-body movements into your workouts, like squats and deadlifts, which "target large muscle groups, work the core, and pack a significant fat-burning punch."
From a HIIT Trainer
Nick Pags, HIIT coach at Ripped Fitness, said: "You can do abs every day. Your abs are unique because they can take more of a beating than any other part of the body." Because your core is so heavily utilized in your daily physical functioning, it can handle more than you think. Nick said that under 10 minutes of "excruciating" ab work is plenty — but no rests are allowed.
"You must push to absolute fatigue multiple times throughout an ab-focused session," he said.
Additionally, consistency and proper form are key.
From a Personal Trainer
"When training abs, I have my clients do them every day before their weightlifting sessions," said Ridge Davis, a personal trainer in West Hollywood, CA. "The abdominals are the powerhouse for all movements and exercises, so it is critical to get them activated before doing the main part of your weightlifting session."
Ridge shared that he breaks down ab training into programs: one program that focuses on the rectus abdominus (abdominal muscles) with planks, hollow holds, and leg raises, and a second program that targets the obliques with side planks, cable chops, and Russian twists.
However, all trainers unanimously agreed that exercise won't help you sculpt your midsection without a proper diet. Eating clean foods, following a high-fiber, low-sugar diet, and maintaining a calorie deficit were all recommendations.