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Is there proof that shows whether it is better to do abs everyday or with resting days in-between?

I have been doing an abs workout Monday to Friday for a couple of months now. My diet is pretty solid but been wanting to know if 5 continuous days is too much and if it is possible to get better results with more rest days while keeping the work out the same.

While searching online it seems like I am finding a variety of answers supporting both sides so hoping I can find more help here.

My daily abs workout consists of: -100 sit-ups -60 leg raises -40 knee to elbow raises -20 reverse crunches -2 min plank -1 min side plank (each side) -And then i do the following workout: https://athleanx.com/articles/abs-for-men/lower-ab-workout-6-minutes

I am 30, 5' 10", 175 lbs

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    I believe this is opinion based because not only "best" is subjective but "how many times per week" will depend on a lot of factors such as intensity, individual recovery capacity, etc.
    – Luciano
    Oct 28, 2022 at 8:09
  • …energy balance, life stress, work schedule, existing hobbies, family engagements, etc.
    – Thomas Markov
    Oct 28, 2022 at 9:50
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    I edited your question to be more subjective rather than asking for "best". Best is often subjective and can lead to closure.
    – JohnP
    Oct 28, 2022 at 15:02

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In "Physiological Basis of Fatigue", Evans and Lambert give us a definition of fatigue (that is used throughout exercise science, emphasis mine):

Fatigue may be defined as physical and/or mental weariness resulting from exertion, that is, an inability to continue exercise at the same intensity with a resultant deterioration in performance.

So fatigue is a deterioration of exercise performance. The goal of training is to intentionally accrue some measure of fatigue, in order to induce some desired physiological adaptations.

So we exercise and recover, and if our performance on those exercises has deteriorated significantly, we need to adjust training variables because we have generated excessive fatigue. So if your goal is to be really good at ab exercises, adjust your frequency/volume/intensity however you like until you find your recoverable limit. The volume and intensity you do with five days a week will probably be lower than what you could handle doing only three days a week.

That said, unless "good at ab exercises" is what you are trying to achieve, spending large quantities of time doing abs is probably not particularly useful. One of the few things AthleanX has right is "six minute abs" - six minutes a day is probably adequate for people who don't have ab training related goals.

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It's important to remember that abs are also a muscle that deserve as much rest as you would give every other muscle group. Would you do a leg workout 5 days a week?

In order for muscles to grow, they must recover and repair the fibers that you have ripped while working them. This is the same for your core muscles. A post from FitBod specifically regarding giving rest to abdominal muscles says:

Your muscles don’t grow in the gym, rather they grow when you’re not in the gym and giving your body a break. If you don’t have regular rest and recovery days, then you’re actually hindering your bodybuilding process. You’re neglecting your body, particularly your abs, of the chance to repair and recover and get you the results you want

It's also important to remember that you also work your core in other movements. Shoulder press? You are stabilizing your core for a safe press. Squat? You wouldn't be able to safely move weight up and down without stabilizing your core.

Brickbodies does state that your abs don't need as much rest because they are used for the stabilization previously and used to be worked more often, but rest is still important.

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    "Would you do a leg workout 5 days a week?" Yes, if the imposed recovery demands permitted it.
    – Thomas Markov
    Oct 20, 2022 at 19:47
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This is just my personal routine, I do abs at the end of my workouts every other day so roughly 2-3 times a week.

Some weeks I don't actually do "abs" since I work my abdominal muscles during my regular lifting (i.e. Squats, Hip Thrusts, RDLs, Bench Press). If you engage your core during all these types of workouts when using weights you will be working out your abdominal muscles without even having to do "abs".

I would recommend not doing five days in a row since your abdominal muscles need a break too and may become very sore. Every other day is usually a good rule of thumb. I hope this helps or gives some insight!

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