You've felt that burn in your core when you come to the end of a really challenging ab exercise. Before you begin a new set, though, it's important to take a break to allow your muscles to rest before going at it again. This will not only give your muscles a break, but also allow you to catch your breath and get the most out of your workout.
Take 30- to 60-second breaks between ab exercise sets. For beginners, try to stay at the longer end of this range.
Drink plenty of water during your breaks to stay hydrated. As your body sweats, it will continue to lose water, so continue to rehydrate.
Stretch your core muscles during your ab exercise breaks as well. Try stretches such as the Cobra, where you lie on your stomach, then push your palms into the floor as you curl your upper body toward the ceiling.
Avoid taking too long a break between sets. Too much rest defeats the purpose of your workout, so if you find your heart rate slowing down or your breath becoming easy, shorten the time between sets a bit to keep challenging yourself.
Listen to your body. If you feel as if the ab exercises are far too challenging, or you aren't getting enough rest between sets, take a longer break or simply stop the workout for the day. Adjust your workout to your limits and needs.
- Consult a physician before beginning any new exercise regimen.
Jennifer Kimrey earned her bachelor's degree in English writing and rhetoric from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. She's a regular contributor to the "Houston Chronicle" and her work has appeared on Opposing Views Cultures, The Austin American-Statesman, The Red Vault, The Western Vault and various other websites and publications.