Q & A - How often should you train your abs and for how long? with Sixpacknow's Ricky Gonzalez

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This is a great question. Many people always ask us how often they should train their abs. I usually tell people who are new to working out that they should start off their training program with 2 effective abdominal training sessions per week training each of the abdominal sections, start off slow and just do 4-5 sets of crunches at each session. Then, as they feel they are getting less sore and better conditioned for that type of workout, they should add a few more sets to each session or throw in new exercises, like hanging knee raises or some of the others featured in the Members Area. I take the 2-3 times per week approach (when I started training my abs, I began with 1 session a week and worked my way up). I think this is much better because you are still training the muscle often enough to get great results, but you're not over-training the muscle. I only do 6-8 sets for my abs at each workout, and that's only during my pre-contest cutting phase (in the off season, or bulk up phase, I only train my abs once a week). I usually do 3-4 sets of crunches and 3-4 sets of hanging knee raises, 2-3 times per week. I let the dieting and the cardio work do the rest. Both of them combined help me eliminate all the unwanted body fat that's covering up the cuts in my abs.


As far as on "how often" and "how long" you should train your abs, you should concentrate more on quality, instead of quantity. Effective ab training is where it's at, not so much "how often" and "how long". If you train your abs on a Monday, and they get sore, I mean really sore, then there is absolutely no possible way that you can train them again on Wednesday. And if you did, your abs won't get any more cut or developed because you are not allowing enough time for the muscle to recover properly.

Sometimes, after a really hard ab workout my abs will get sore for 4 days. I won't touch them again until the following week, which is usually 5 or 6 days later. Other times, I'll only get sore for a day, or 2 or 3 days later, I'll train them again. You just have to listen to your body, it'll tell you when it's time to train them again. I did mention "effective ab training" so let me get back to that. It means you train the muscle with perfect form, to failure. So if you are allowing your legs to extend all the way to the bottom before bringing them back up again on the hanging knee raises, then your form is bad. When you do your knee raises, lift your knees all the way up as high as you can, allow them to only come down a few inches, and then lift them back up. On the crunches, do the same thing. Crunch up as high as you can, only come down a few inches, and then crunch back up again. You want to keep the tension on the muscle, it's the only way you fire all the fibers in your abdominal region. Don't ever allow your abs to rest during a set or else you're just wasting your time. You should experience an excruciatingly painful burn in your abs when you perform your sets this way. Just make sure your form is perfect and you train to failure. Another thing, keep your rep range between 20-25 reps, that should be perfect. Another side note, make sure you're doing cardio work and eating clean. You can do sit ups, crunches, and hanging knee raises until the cows come home, but if you don't diet off that layer of fat over your ab muscles, you will never see the cuts of your abs.

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