I'm doing pretty good exercises for my abs, but i never feel the usual pain i feel when i exercise other muscles, why ? And does this mean I'm not having progress or not doing enough ? I like to feel this pain and would like to feel it on abs too

  • looks like your abs adapted to what you're usually doing. try to make it more intense and engage them when doing the exercises.
    – Ker p pag
    Sep 16, 2015 at 6:17
  • I forgot to say that I also add more intensity regularly too. But i won't feel DOMS even after adding more intensity
    – Freedo
    Sep 16, 2015 at 6:18
  • try to have a 30sec rest period every set.
    – Ker p pag
    Sep 16, 2015 at 7:56
  • Try adding weight to your exercises. Weighted planks/leg raises can get pretty brutal.
    – erictrigo
    Sep 16, 2015 at 10:57

3 Answers 3


You Won't Have DOMS on Your Abs.......and that's an awesome thing!

Your abs muscles' primary function is to stabilize your upper body; this comprises more than half of your body weight.

They also assist your lower body with your numerous movement, balance, and co-ordination.

What do you think would happen if your core is so sore it can't keep you up?

Because these muscles are constantly working, they easily bounce back from any stress applied to them (similar to your heart muscles when stressed).

Does this mean I'm not having progress or not doing enough?


First, having DOMS isn't a definite indication that you're having progress. It's simply your body's reaction to the previous work done.

Any soreness felt should be gone in minutes or hours.

If you perform your exercise with medium to high intensity, you should feel the effects. One of the effects I feel is the constriction in the muscles after the exercises. My mid-region will usually feel an inward push by the muscles. Another effect is (and this usually happens if you have a low body fat %) that the muscles should actually looked more engorged than usual.

Should You Feel The Burn During The Exercises?

Absolutely! If you don't, increase the intensity.


  • A lot of people (at least the ones I've observed) perform the core exercises too fast. Many people turn the exercises into cardio. Core exercises should be done with slow speed. Pause briefly at the top and bottom of each rep and actively engage the muscles.

  • Utilize the full ROM (Range of Motion). Because core exercises are actually difficult when performed properly, a ot of people don't utilize the full ROM. The muscles have to be fully expanded and contracted to be activated.
  • Too many reps. If you fully engage your abs while training, you shouldn't be able to perform a lot of reps. My recommendation is never to perform more than 20 reps for each exercise per set.
  • Your exercises should comprise those that engage the front muscles and the side muscles. Many engage the front muscles and ignore the sides; the benefits will be minimal this way.
  • Lastly, many perform the exercises that activate the upper part of the abs (such as crunches) and ignore those that activate the lower part (such as leg raises).


Forget about DOMS for your abs. Focus on actively engaging them with high intensity and you'll feel and see the effects.

  • Great answer! I have accept it because you also answer all of my question, while the others only focused on the DOMS part! Good to know that :)
    – Freedo
    Sep 21, 2015 at 18:43

And does this mean I'm not having progress or not doing enough?

There’s a common perception that DOMS is a valid indicator for muscle hypertrophy, and, is a desirable goal for muscular gain. It’s generally accepted that DOMS is not caused by lactic acid build up, as was originally thought, but, actually occurs due to connective tissue micro trauma. It’s a byproduct of EIMD (Exercise Induced Muscle Damage). Exercises that emphasize the eccentric phase (lengthening or stretching of the muscle) have a more likely chance to result in DOMS. However, muscles tend to adapt to DOMS by preventing future muscle damage and soreness if the exercise is repeated in the same manner. So, even if DOMS was a valid goal (which it should not be), you would need to alter the stress placed upon the muscle (eg. Different exercises, more weight, different angles, etc.) in order to cause a DOMS reaction.

Current research indicates that there is no causal relationship to assume that DOMS/EIMD is a valid indicator for muscular progress (hypertrophy). As a result, I would suggest using a different indicator for your progress.

  • Ok good information, but then could you suggest an different indicator for progress ?
    – Freedo
    Sep 21, 2015 at 18:44
  • 2
    I think indicators for progress are going to be based upon and derived from your goals. For example, if your goal is to increase size, then, obviously, measurements of selected muscle groups should suffice. Or, if your goal is strength, a log of how your weights for various lifts have increased would suffice. Lastly, if your goal is to strip fat, a body fat analysis (eg. calipers) may be sufficient.
    – rrirower
    Sep 21, 2015 at 18:51

DOMS has nothing to do with gains.

Some exercises, like barbell good mornings, will wreck your hamstrings with DOMS, but that is because it's a lengthening (eccentric) movement, which is where DOMS shows up the most.

Concentric (shortening) and isometric (held motionless under tension) are not commonly DOMS inducing, and are primarily how abdominals are used. Your abs are braced tight (isometrically) during the deadlift, and contract (concentrically) during sit ups and squats.

If you wanted to cause DOMS in your abs, you can do something like an ab wheel, and rollout very slowly with your abs under tension, causing eccentric behavior.

But trust me (and every other human who trains) on this one: if eccentric exercises (ie: DOMS causing) was the most effective way to train, we would all be doing eccentric exercises. Some eccentric exercises are good, but it's not common. What's a better way to increase your bench: add more weight and push it up, or add more weight and slowly lower it down? They both might be beneficial, but the concentric (tightening of your triceps and pecs) is what produces the power output and produces gains.

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