When most people hit the gym to train abs, they’re doing so for one reason: they want that set of six pack abs. Or, maybe you don’t want a full on six-pack, but a firm and flat stomach…that sounds pretty good to you.
While it’s great to use this as the primary motivator to get those sessions in, you must remember that there are many other great reasons to include ab training in your workout routine. By reminding yourself of these, you might just find that you stay more consistent with your routine.
Always remember that seeing visible abs is more about diet than it is training, so the following reasons will help you keep motivated to get that training in.
Strong Abs Prevent Injury
The first great reason to do those core exercises is to help prevent injuries from occurring. When your abs are weak, you’re especially prone to lower back pain as the chances are high that when you have weight over your head, such as when doing a shoulder press, your spinal column isn’t staying in proper alignment.
When your hips title and you develop a swayback (a sure sign of weak abs), you’re placing a great deal of strain on the lower back joints.
Strong abs will also help keep your body stabilized, reducing the risk that an oncoming force twists you into an awkward position – one that would eventually lead to injury.
Strong Abs Assist Your Other Key Lifts
Did you know that building stronger abs might just help your squat and deadlift? It’s a fact. Your core is called into play in every single other standing exercise you do as a stabilization muscle. The stronger your abs are, the more power you’ll be able to generate and the more weight you can lift.
This means better all-around results from your entire strength training program. The more weight you can lift during these moves, the better your fat loss and muscle building results will be.
Strong Abs Support Proper Posture
One element of a fit body that gets overlooked far too often is good posture. Without proper posture, you’re also at a higher risk for injury along with chronic back, shoulder, and even hip and knee pain.
Not to mention, those who don’t utilize proper posture often look less confident and may even appear larger than they really are.
With so many of us sitting at our desks hunched over all day, it’s imperative we are doing all we can to keep our posture strong. When your core is tight and resists fatigue, you’ll be able to sit up straight longer.
Strong Abs Improve Breathing And Energy
Finally, the last great benefit of making sure your abs are strong is that it’ll help to improve your breathing, which can also help improve your overall athletic performance.
Studies illustrate that when subjects performed interval training as well as core training as part of a study group, compared to their control counterparts who did neither forms of training, the test group showed improvements in a sport specific endurance plank test, running economy at the speed of the onset of blood lactate accumulation as well as improvements in their one hour running performance1.
When you have a stronger core, you’re able to breathe better, which will then mean superior resistance to fatigue during cardiovascular activities as well as improved sprint performance.
If you are an individual involved in any sort of aerobic conditioning, this will work greatly to your benefit.
So as you can see, there are many reasons for training abs beyond just looking good. A proper ab training program will help you reduce your risk of injuries, especially nagging back pain that can be debilitating for years as well as help improve your performance on all elements of your workout program.
While you never want to train abs first in the workout program as it’s important they aren’t fatigued when they’re needed for stabilization purposes, you don’t want to leave them be a mere afterthought either. When training your abs, attack them from all angles to ensure a well-rounded training routine. This is the best way to ensure you aren’t leaving yourself subject to any weaknesses.
Reference: Tomas, K. “‘Functional’inspiratory and core muscle training enhances running performance and economy.” (2014).
Please Note: Before following exercise routines or changing your fitness regime, please consult a certified fitness professional. Always talk with a medical practitioner before following dietary advice or taking supplements.