Even for the most muscular among us, the importance of rest usually isn’t lost on gym-goers. Muscles and tissues need time to recover in order to get stronger — overtraining is a real issue that can cause damage down the road. Plus, when you don’t give your core a break, it makes it difficult to see the results you want.
Unfortunately, the traditional way of attaining a six-pack may be less effective than you think. Jolie Manza, founder and lead instructor of YogaKoh tells PopSugar, “Spot training the abs is not the answer. There is a much more total-body approach to reaching the goal, rather than just doing hundreds and hundreds of sit-ups a day.”
While that may be good news for the ab-averse, it’s important to consider an overall training regimen as opposed to an intense, daily core crunch. Men’s Journal notes that many people do their core work towards the end of their sweat sesh, adding that planking and doing a series of crunches may not be the answer to getting the strong muscles that you would like. If you’re training your abs on a daily basis, your muscles can’t fully repair themselves.
“It’s important to give your muscles time to heal in between workouts,” Bianca Cheah, wellness expert, yoga instructor, and founder of Sporteluxe, told PopSugar. “When you work out, you cause micro tears in the muscle, so try mixing up your workouts and give yourself ample time to heal and rest.”
It's best to train your core two-three times per week
Rather than logging the same core routine every day, it’s important to add variance to your workouts for more reasons than one. Men’s Journal suggests moving beyond the classics like sit-ups and planks by adding full-body movements such as squats and standing shoulder presses. These work various parts of the core and the body — making for a well-rounded physique. The outlet also recommends adding other core exercises such as cable woodchops and core rollouts during your exercise sessions.
However, even when it comes to these movements, it’s easy to overdo it. In order to see the results you want, stick to training your core only a few times a week, the outlet recommends. Having an overworked core can actually cause lower back pain and structural alignment issues. Astrid Swan, a certified personal trainer, tells Women’s Health, “All the benefits of strengthening your core can revert back if overdone with postural issues and muscle imbalance being the most significant.”
Swan suggests taking at least one full rest day a week and another to perform lower impact exercise to help your muscles recover. “My advice is to work out hard and then let the body recover. You will see results faster and be happier with your efforts from working out!”
Of course, adding lots of fruits and vegetables to your diet alongside low-impact movement like walking is always a great addition to a healthy routine as well!
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