Just because your abs didn’t get sore, doesn’t necessarily mean that you didn’t work them effectively.

You may have worked them quite efficiently, but … due to these muscles being adapted to the routine, they didn’t respond with any soreness.

So how important is it for abs to get sore after an abdominal workout?

If your abs are sore after a workout that targeted these muscles, then this is a good indication that, indeed, you succeeded at targeting these muscles, and in a challenging way.

However, what if your abs don’t get sore after a workout (“after” meaning the day following)?

  • Did the routine used to make your abs sore?
  • And now they don’t get sore? Yes, the muscles have adapted.

It’s time to up the ante with the routine if you’re not satisfied with the results.

On the other hand, what if a workout has never made your abdominal muscles sore? This often (but not always!) means that the workout was never effective in the first place. You chose an exercise routine that was never challenging.

In my case, I never experienced sore abs after doing cable crunches, yet this particular routine is amazing and gave me definition within 30 days.

So here was an exercise that never made my abs sore, yet produced results within a month.

And it continued producing more definition thereafter, plus greatly increased core strength. The cable crunch (when done properly) is probably the best exercise for the abs.

Do cable crunches right, and it doesn’t matter if you get sore.
If you’re not satisfied with your abs, then shock them with a routine that your body isn’t used to.

Force your body to re-adapt by imposing a movement or volume that the muscles aren’t familiar with.

You can up the ante by holding the sticking point for a 2-count before releasing. If you do crunches on a bench, keep your hands off the bench for a change.

If this is too easy, place a light dumbbell between your feet, or a medicine ball between your lower legs, and see how the crunches feel. Tuck in all the way; squeeze tightly into a crunch position before each release.

If you spend a lot of time working your abs, they probably won’t get sore.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time on abs to bring out definition and even a six-pack.

Overall-body training, with sound nutrition, will keep body fat stripped down low enough to reveal your ab muscles.

You can keep ab routines at the top of the training pyramid and still maintain core toning and strength.

Bottom line: Sore abs post-workout are not a marker for eventually developing a six-pack, and lack of soreness is not an indicator that you’ll never get that dream midsection, either.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.