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I started a gym routine 2 months ago consisting of just Pull-ups, Bench presses, Squats(with barbell), Dead-lifts and Military Presses And for the abs Hanging L raises, Russian twists and planks.

I really love the compound movements and core engagement.

I do it 3 times a week, Sunday Tuesday and Thursday.

I also occasionally (1-2 times a week) do a mini-core exercise at home consisting of planks, Russian twists, ab crunches and arch holds, external rotator cuff for the shoulders, starting with some Yoga movements.

My questions is, am I pushing too much? should a rest day be absolutely resting, or are the Abs/Lower Back/Yoga on "Rest" days is OK?

If its OK, is it also good to add exercises like the ab wheel and L-seat to the off days routine? I think this may be different as the strain on upper body is bigger with these exercises.

  • I think it will depend on your level of training intensity and your ability to recover. What you've described does not appear to be "pushing too much". In fact, Yoga would be a good way to "rest". – rrirower Aug 25 '15 at 12:26
  • If you do continue this, do consider adding in things for your lower back such as back extensions, reverse back extensions, or good mornings; your lower back is just as much a part of your core as your abs. – Alex L Aug 25 '15 at 13:03
  • @AlexL I do actually perform back extension and reverse back extensions, and actually I think that they both are performed while doing the arch hold. ZOD's answer actually made me realize that maybe it is not so good as it means I don't rest my lower back... Looks like I should just rest before I'll get injured :) – Mithir Aug 26 '15 at 6:08
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First, lower back exercises shouldn't be done ONLY on rest days. Of course, since you're already hitting your lower back with squats and deadlifts, it kinda makes the comment redundant; I just needed to point that out in case you switch programs.

Second, core training can be done daily. Your core muscles are strong enough to recover quickly from applied stress. Unlike legs or arms exercises (which can be extremely sore after intense exercises), the core muscles easily adapt to the stress have you seen anyone work their core muscles so hard they can't move the next day? Since it becomes tiring after a while (the exercises, not the muscles) if worked intensely daily, you can

  • Rotate the exercises performed.
  • Rotate between intense and light exercises.
  • Don't spend too much time on the exercises. 10 - 15 mins of moderate intensity should be enough.

Yes, you can add the ab wheel and L-sit to the core exercises.. You can also add V-ups

Don't forget your oblique muscles too.

You can take rest days too as nothing is set in stone. Just listen to your body and make adjustments as necessary.

  • So why shouldn't someone do hyper extensions or related body weight lower back exercises on rest days? I don't see how they are much worse than doing vanity exercises for just the visible part of the core (abs and obliques). They can also help with lower back DOMS from more intense back exercises. – Alex L Aug 25 '15 at 22:10
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    @AlexL In case it wasn't clear, my intention was that lower back exercises should also be part of back day. It's great to hit the back on rest days if you desire; however, it shouldn't be limited to those days (rest days usually means low intensity days). If the sentence wasn't clear enough to reflect that sentiment, I'll adjust it. – Kneel-Before-ZOD Aug 26 '15 at 11:57
  • Ah, i see. In that case, I guess we're in agreement. – Alex L Aug 26 '15 at 12:30

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