Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lower Abdominal Exercises

lower abdominal exercisesThe lower abdominal area seems to cause the most anguish among those who want a flat stomach. Pregnancy, childbirth, excessive beer, whatever causes it…..the lower abdominals seem to be the least responsive and the most trouble.

The fact is, however, that there is not “lower abdominal” muscles and “upper abdominal” muscles. There are four main abdominal muscles and they are not separated by “upper” and “lower”. The four main abdominal muscles are:

1. Transversus abdominus – the deepest muscle layer. Its main roles are to stabilize the trunk and maintain internal abdominal pressure.
2. Rectus abdominus – located between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. This muscle has the characteristic bumps or bulges, when contracting, that are commonly called ‘the six pack’. (you know what we all want!) The main function of the rectus abdominus is to move the body between the ribcage and the pelvis.
3. External oblique muscles – these are on each side of the rectus abdominus. The external oblique muscles allow the trunk to twist, but to the opposite side of whichever external oblique is contracting. For example, the right external oblique contracts to turn the body to the left.
4. Internal oblique muscles – these flank the rectus abdominus, and are located just inside the hip-bones. They operate in the opposite way to the external oblique muscles. For example, twisting the trunk to the left requires the left hand side internal oblique and the right hand side external oblique to contract together.

Traditional sit-ups, where the feet are anchored and the upper body is lifted completely up from the reclining position, tend to work the hip flexor muscles more than the abdominal muscles so they are really quite ineffective. Crunches that emphasize the upper part of the muscles or reverse crunches which will emphasize the lower abdominals are much more effective. There are also many other very effective ways to work your abdominal muscles.

Do some research and develop a program. Work your abdominal program consistently and you will see results.

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