Does Your Stomach Hurt When First Doing Ab Exercises?

If you're a newbie, ab exercises could strain your muscles.

If you're a newbie, ab exercises could strain your muscles.

You're determined to finally have that flat stomach you've always dreamed of, so you've started working your abs really hard at the gym. Unfortunately, your stomach muscles likely hurt. This pain is either the result of the new focus on conditioning or because you've overstretched your abdominal muscles. Whatever the reason, focus on how you can reduct the discomfort and keep working toward your fitness goal.

Warm Up

Although warming up won't always necessarily prevent abdominal muscle soreness, it better prepares your core for future workouts, says the American College of Sports Medicine. You should also ease slowly into your ab routine. Doing too much too soon could result in extra soreness. With proper warm ups and after gradually adjusting to your new ab exercise regimen, you'll stop experiencing as much pain. The Mayo Clinic recommends starting your workout by walking briskly for five to 10 minutes.

Recover

After a core session, your muscles need time to recover. The American College of Sports Medicine advises that you should not to work out your abs if they already feel sore from a previous workout. To relieve some of the pain, ice your stomach for about 20 minutes right after you're done at the gym. Keep in mind that less pain is not necessarily a sign that your muscles have recovered completely. They could still need some rest.

Work Out Often

Exercise often to avoid muscle soreness. Make a commitment to work your abs two to three times a week). Muscle soreness, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness, shortly after you work out is typical if you're just getting back to exercising. In addition to your core, your workout regimen should include at least 30 minutes of moderate cardio five times a week and strength training twice a week.

Prevent Injury

Generally, abdominal muscle soreness will go away on its own, but you can injure yourself during an ab workout. You may tear an abdominal muscle, known as an abdominal muscle strain. This condition varies in severity from mild to sharp pain. To prevent this injury, don't use weights that are too heavy for you if you are holding a weight plate during a crunch, stop exercising if your stomach muscles feel tired and ensure you use proper form when you work your abs. To complete a basic crunch, for example, lie on your back with your arms folded over your chest and your knees bent so that your feet touch the floor. Keep your knees and feet hip width apart. Squeeze your stomach muscles and slowly raise your head and shoulders from the ground. Count to three, taking a deep breath with each count, then go back down to starting position. Don't force yourself to lift your torso abruptly and don't pull on your neck.

 

About the Author

Debbie Lechtman is a writer living in Hartford, Conn. She has a degree in magazine journalism from Syracuse University. In the past, she has worked for major national publications, specializing in fitness and wellness. Currently, she works as a writer and copywriter and is awaiting the upcoming publication of two short stories in literary magazines.

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