Champaign, IL—Stalled results during abdominal workouts leave many wondering why their routine failed. According to Frédéric Delavier, coauthor of Delavier's Core Anatomy Training (Human Kinetics, 2011), the same workout every day may reap rewards for a short period, but continued success requires modifying abdominal workouts to keep muscles challenged. “There is no set rule for how often you should modify your workout program. As long as your workouts are giving you regular results, why change them?” Delavier says. “But, there will always come a time when you will feel the need to make changes.”
According to Delavier, there are two obvious ways of knowing when a workout program needs to be revamped.
- Plateau or loss of strength. A workout routine is no longer effective when progress abruptly stops and muscles stop gaining strength. This phenomenon doesn't occur in one or two workouts, but is a trend over at least one week. When improvement begins to stall, a radical change is required. “The difference between a beginner and an experienced athlete is how quickly the person perceives these signals,” says Delavier. “So be attentive and be sure to keep a notebook so you can quickly pick up on these clues.”
- Boredom. When a person loses enthusiasm for working the core, a program has become too monotonous. According to Delavier, there are two types of boredom, and determining which is which is important because each requires different changes to a workout program.
The first type is great boredom and a complete lack of interest in abdominal work resulting from the monotony of overtraining. “When you first start working out, you feel like exercising every day to see results quickly,” Delavier says. “But this excess enthusiasm can cause you to lose strength rather than gain it—a sign of overtraining.” He advises reducing the quantity of training and starting a new workout program.
The second type of boredom involves a lack of interest in a particular exercise. “This is a sign that you have burned out the specific neuromuscular pathway for that exercise,” Delavier explains. “You have to replace that exercise, but you may not need to make any other changes.”
Delavier also stresses the importance of rest in a training regimen. “Muscle growth occurs only during the rest phase between workouts and not during the actual workout,” Delavier says. “So it is just as important to know when to rest as it is to know when to exercise. If you aren't making progress, then you aren't getting enough rest.”
Delavier's Core Training Anatomy is a comprehensive guide for strengthening and toning the midsection. It includes 362 full-color photos of over 100 exercises and 60 sample programs, including those for strength and athletic performance. For more information, see Delavier's Core Training Anatomy.