Oh, YESssss, the Abdominals or Abs, as most people refer to them, are sometimes the hardest body part to train…and see results.
Who doesn’t want great abs? Abs, in fact, are at the top of most people’s list of body parts to get fit. A solid core also makes a strong back; they work hand in hand. The thing about abs is that you want to focus on quality versus quantity…meaning 10 good sit ups where you are totally engaging the abdominal muscles will beat 20 sit ups that you just rushed through. Abs enhance the entire body, and eating healthy and well-balanced meals, along with a consistent workout routine, will get you closer to those six-pack abs you so desire. They are there and waiting to present themselves. Work is required, but stay consistent, and you can do it!!
Rectus Abdominis (‘six-packs abs’)
Anatomy & Tips
The rectus abdominis muscles are two muscles running vertically from the pubis to the xiphoid process of the sternum. They run on both sides of the anterior wall of the abdomen. These two parallel muscles are separated by connective tissue. Its function is to depress the ribs and flex the vertebral column. Crunches (when performed correctly) are excellent for strengthening the rectus abdominis. Two other good exercises for working the rectus abdominis would be an exercise ball and vertical leg crunches. Be sure to exhale (blow out the air) as you contract the muscles and inhale as you return to the starting point. Check out other exercises for the rectus abdominis within the ‘exercises’ tab.
Anatomy & Tips
The obliques are not always a common muscle to exercise. Some people work the abs and not so much work is put into the obliques. The oblique muscles are stabilizers. They are engaged with just about every move we make. The obliques consist of the external obliques and the internal obliques. There are two of each on both sides of the rectus abdominis. It is the external and internal obliques which allow you to bend and rotate at the torso. The right internal oblique works in conjunction with the left external oblique and vice versa.
The next time you work your abs, pay some attention to your obliques as well. Be sure to include exercises geared towards the obliques in your ab regimen. A few good exercises for the obliques would be the use of the stability ball to perform crunches, the Russian twist and with a partner, the medicine ball twist.