Summer’s back in town and everyone wants the same thing………….that flat toned stomach so we can wear our swimwear with pride. Keep reading and you find out how it all works, and what to do to get your own washboard stomach!
The abs are broken up into 4 main groups. They all have slightly different functions, but making sure you train each one will give you much better looking results!
Rectus abdominus – These make up the “Six Pack” running down the middle. Their job is to bring the ribs closer to the hips, so simple sit ups and crunches work this area best!
Transverse abdominus – This is the deepest ab muscle, its job is to suck in the belly button! The best way to work this is with “vacuum exercises”, simply pulling the belly button inwards! These can be be done on their own or during other ab exercises. Working the Transverse abdominus will help flatten the stomach and help your posture!
Internal & External obliques – These muscle are located diagonally around the sides of the abs, and work to twist and bend the body side to side. These can be worked with side bends and by adding a twist to your crunches
Quality, Not Quantity!
Many people seem to feel more is better when it comes to abs. “I did 200 situps this morning” is something we hear alot, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for you! When it comes to really working the stomach, slow your movements down and really think about “squeezing the abs”. This will stimulate more abdominal muscle and stop the larger hip flexors taking over! 3-5 sets of 20 reps when done properly will be more than enough to get your abs going!
The three S’s…..Suck, Squeeze and Stability!
Doing standard crunches is just going to work the rectus abdominus! Sucking in the belly button and squeezing the abs will stimulate the transverse abdominus. This will not just tone the stomach, but flatten the belly! Introducing a Bosu or a Swiss ball into your ab workouts will help you build your core stability. This not only helps posture and your other exercises, but it also means you will hit more areas of the abdominal muscles! Exercise like the Plank are also brilliant to hit all the deep ab muscles, and a great way of improving posture that will help your beach body look!
Posture is so important to a good physique! Working the lower back and hip muscles as well as the abs is vital. This will help maintain a healthy posture and emphasize your abs! Nobody’s belly looks good if they’re hunched over!
Showing off what you’ve got!
The best was to to emphasize your abdominal muscles is by maintaining a low body fat. This is done with a healthy diet and regular exercise! Don’t just focus on your abs, make sure you’re getting all round, good quality exercise! Make sure you vary your abs exercises! Don’t keep doing the same old things. Change things up to make sure your hitting every part of the abs!
Try this on for size!
Here’s a basic circuit to give you an idea of how to train all the parts of your abs quickly and efficiently!
1) Bicycle crunches – 12 reps – These are like standard crunches with a twist! Perform a normal crunch, by bringing your left elbow to your right knee, then vice versa! Again really focus on squeezing the abs!
2) Side Plank – 20 seconds, both sides – This is performed by facing sideways and placing your elbow on the ground. Your feet are planted sideways on the floor, then raise your hips up. Try and make the body as much of a straight line as possible, then after 20 seconds repeat facing the other way.
3) Leg raises – 12 reps – These can be performed differently depending on your level. Leg raises involve bringing the legs and hips closer to the ribs. These are great at working the bottom on the abs! For beginners start by performing these on the floor. Lay flat on your back and raise the legs upward and towards the torso. For those feeling more advanced they can be performed hanging from a chin bar, leg raise station, or simply off the end of a bed.
4) Plank – 30 seconds – The exercise our clients hate the most, but we don’t know why, we love it! Facing down, elbows on the floor, raise the hips off the ground and hold a nice flat body position. Its really important to relax the back and shoulders, and really suck the belly button in.
5) Swiss ball crunches – 12 reps – Sit on a swiss ball with your hands over your head. Slowly begin to lie back until your body is flat with your thighs. Then slowly begin to raise back up without hunching the back. Really focus on squeezing the abs and try to keep the ball as still as possible.
Repeat as many times as you needed.
For more advice book in for a free trail session at www.bourne-fit.co.uk