Just to keep it real, the main reason most people get into fitness training, is for the flat stomach or the 6 pack. I get so much questions asking me how to get a 6 pack or hot to get a flat stomach. Most of the time, they literally just come at me and are like “Hey, I want a 6 pack, how do I get those”? As if it’s something they can just buy at the mall and slap it on. Basically what I am trying to say is that, abs are the in thing and everyone wants it. So it’s no surprise that I am asked this question and the answer is basically; proper dieting and exercise. But this article isn’t about how to get a 6 pack or a flat stomach (I will discuss that in another article), but how to get prevent those painful ab cramps that can have you bent over in a fetal position, or gasping for air not knowing what to do until the pain subsides.
It has been advised, at least this is what I have read and follow, to train abs at the end of your workout session. If you are a regular at the gym, try to observe those who are being trained by a professional trainer and see when they generally have them work out their abs. Most professional trainers will have their clients train their abs at the end because one, it makes it a nice challenge at the end and two, which is the main reason, your abs get activated throughout nearly all the other weight lifting exercises. They are there to keep stability, so if you train them before you work out, you can fatigue them quickly and this can cause your other exercises to suffer. Although there is an upside to training abs at the end of a workout session, there is also a very huge downside; ab cramps. I experienced them so badly, that I have stopped training abs because the pain was ridiculous. I would go towards the station to do my hanging leg raises and instant cramp will set in. This sucked because I would have to try to walk up straight with this pain in my core, towards the locker room so I could do some stretches to loosen it and even if I came back after doing those stretches, I would cramp up again. So it was a clear sign that I needed to forget the ab workout and call it a day.
Now, if one wants to have a nice impressive core, they have to train them like they train the rest of their body and probably with even more intensity as it gets targeted as previously mentioned, throughout other work outs. With my frustration, I got to searching around for a solution. I found out that, obviously, when you are training, you lose sodium hence why cramps occur. Not to get too technical but the influx of sodium into our cells, helps through a system of action and reaction, trigger muscle contraction. Without the sodium, this pathway would not occur.
It is suggested, to help with the ab cramps, one should carry around with them some salt and put a little on their tongue and chug it down with some water, about 15 minutes before you start your ab workout. Now, as much as a legit suggestion this is, I have forgotten my little baggie of salt to try this method out. So if anyone who reads this, tries it out and it works, drop me a line so my readers can see it! Due to this forgetfulness of mine, I had to find an alternative means to work out my abs at the end of my workout sessions, without experiencing ab cramps and I found a solution!
This is what I do. When I am done with all of my other exercises, I find one of those big exercise balls and I lay back on it until I have completely stretched out my core. I stay in the position for a while until I feel my abs have stretched out nicely. I also try to keep very hydrated throughout my workouts and have started consuming BCAAs (which I am not sure directly works but it wouldn’t hurt because you should be using them anyways). The stretching as I have googled and saw, is another method that helps with preventing ab cramps. Right when I was done stretching, I was able to work out my abs without any pain!
So, if you have ab cramps, try out the ab stretch and the salt technique and get that 6 pack or flat stomach, that you’ve always wanted! 🙂Read More »