About a month ago I began seeing a lot of posts over IG, YouTube, blogs etc. on how there is no need to work out your abs. I felt like this was some kind of revelation: if I am tensing my core (comprising abs and back muscles) on every move I do in the gym, then surely my abs are getting a workout? I was in the process of doing my 4 weekly change in workout routine, and looking to cut down the duration of my gym sessions around hand-in time at uni. Cutting out working my abs seemed like something now would be the time to try. I chose to do six compound moves a session, working everything but my abs specifically, which would be naturally worked by everything else I was doing. With a few planks thrown in and some moves in my HIIT sessions I would have to use my abs for, such as mountain climbers and burpees (can get rid of my burpees!), I figured this would be perfect. Somewhere in my head I was conscious I would kind of miss working my abs specifically, but I may as well try what everyone was doing , right? Wrong.
Four weeks down the line, and one of my favourite YouTube PTs posted on her blog on exactly the same subject. She had stopped working her abs, and then realised that it is actually not a great idea. Which prompted me to write this post, and change up my own routine. Because I was missing my hanging crunches.
Your abs are part of your core, this section “wrapping” around your middle. The core is important for your posture, balance, stability…In four weeks I haven’t really lost much core strength, but I noticed a little bit of a difference when I got started again. Call it “feeling a bit rusty”. Oh how I had missed working that core. When I first got into working out at fifteen, I began with Pilates. Pilates is obviously very core-focused, and working this area remained part of my work-out routine ever since. By not working my abs I somehow hadn’t realised that I would be missing out working an entire section of my core as intensively as I usually do. Oops.
And so we’re back to incorporating a bit of the abs into my workouts, to maintain my core strength. More flutter kicks, cable twists, Swiss ball pikes etc. etc., because whilst not working my abs as much did mean I focused more on my upper body and glute strength, I think I knew I was missing it. And so what have we learnt? Don’t go with what everyone is doing, do what feels good to you. Whilst whatever everyone else is doing will change in a few weeks, you know your own body, and what feels best. For me that means long live hanging crunches…