Proper Abdominal Exercises
Everyone wants the look of sexy washboard abs. But doing proper abdominal exercises can be a little tricky.
When it comes to your abdominal and core muscles, form and technique are especially important. Improper form can put strain on other muscle groups, like your lower back, which can lead to serious discomfort and very little in terms of results.
This article provides you with the basics of proper form and technique for abdominal exercises. Whether you’re a seasoned bodybuilder or a beginner, listen up! This is important information.
First, it’s important to understand what your abs are made of. The six pack look primarily results from one large, single muscle called the rectus abdominus. This is the abdominal muscle that people can really see, so it’s the one that most ab exercises focus on.
Underneath this large muscle is the rectus transverse, which still plays an important role in balance and core strength. Finally, to the sides are the internal and external obliques.
Because these muscles are somewhat small in terms of width and depth, they can be worked out more frequently than other muscles. For example, doing a few ab exercises every other day can give you great results. On the other hand, if you’re doing really intense ab workouts that last for 30 minutes or more, I would recommend only focusing on abs twice a week.
Proper Abdominal Exercises
No matter what ab exercise you’re doing, the key is to engage. In order to really focus your efforts on your abs, rather than compensating with your back or straining your neck, you need to really engage these muscles. This means tightening your ab muscles and moving through exercises at a controlled pace. Let’s look at 3 popular ab exercises…
1. Crunch – The crunch is probably the most popular ab exercise out there, and really focuses on your rectus abdominus. To do a proper crunch, lie with your back to the floor and your hands by your sides. If you like to put your hands behind your head, it’s important that you don’t pull or strain your neck as a result. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart. Then slowly raise your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor, in that order. Hold for a second, then return to the floor and repeat.
2. Sit-Up – The sit-up is very similar to the crunch, and has the same starting position on the floor. What makes it different from the crunch is that your back will lift fully off the floor and your chin will meet your chest throughout most of the exercise. In order to improve form and prevent injury, I recommend crossing your arms over your chest rather than holding them behind your back.
3. Side Plank – The side plank is another popular abdominal exercise, but this one works your obliques and transverse abdominus. It’s important to always keep your body perfectly parallel and in a straight line, without arching your back or rotating your hips and shoulder.
Lie on your left side while resting on your left arm, extended straight outward and resting on your palm or with your elbow bent and resting on your forearm. Hold your right hand on your hip for the best form and make sure your body is in a perfect line. Engage your hips and obliques and raise them to the ceiling, holding that position for as long as possible. Repeat on the opposite side.
Proper Abdominal Exercises – Conclusion
Hopefully I’ve cleared up some of your confusion when it comes to proper abdominal exercises. When it comes to improving muscle growth and recovery, treat your abs like any other muscle group. Supplements like Scivation Xtend and Optimum 100% Casein Protein can be extremely affective for building your abs, while Muscle Pharm Shred Matrix can help you cut and tone.
Have any questions or feedback about these proper abdominal exercises? Please leave a comment below…
How can I be sure that when I am doing abs work out its not putting pressure on my back. I mean how can I be sure that my back is engaging or my abs?
Simply flex your abs during the exercise and that will take away the pressure from your back.