Four Great Exercises to Build Your Abs
If there is one standard that most of the world uses to determine whether a persons body is in good shape it is a well defined set of abdominal muscles. The “ab” muscles are a visual symbol of a person that takes care of their muscles and, by association, their body as a whole. Although the later is not necessarily true, a good set of abs is a desired physical attribute for most to aspire to.
Which muscle groups to work
. Building each of the main ab muscles takes a concentrated effort. From a lay persons point of view there are three main abdominal muscle groups: the upper, the lower and the oblique’s. The upper ab muscles are often referred to as a “beer belly”, the lower abs as a “pooch” and the oblique’s as “love handles”. As the exercises that help strengthen these muscle groups are discussed, . . For a total fitness plan, you may want to speak with your doctor.
Start with a pain free stretch
Personal discipline is one thing but stopping before you begin, because of a pulled muscle, is another. Begin you ab routine with a nice even stretching of your core body. Relax and roll any muscle you have between your upper neck and your waist. This might best be described as keeping your feet planted shoulder width apart, bending your knees slightly and making a 360 degree circle with your upper body(waist up.) As you do this you will feel muscle groups pulling as you stretch them. DO THIS SLOWLY and you will quickly find the ab groups you will soon be working.
Proper position and isolation
In performing each of the following exercises, proper positioning is important for getting the maximum effect out of each movement. . This angle, in reference to the floor, will generally be 90 degrees unless otherwise stated. . The next important tip is to not overextend your range of motion. . You will only need to cover about 30 percent of that range for the best isolation of the abs. Strangely enough, you will find this lesser motion more difficult.
. . It is how you do the sit-up that counts. Most people do them incorrectly. Perform a “crunch” by:
- Laying on the floor and bending your knees to a 90 degree angle with the floor. Heels on the floor with feet at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Interlace your fingers behind your head.
- Relax your arms and neck.
- Smoothly raise your upper body to a 30 degree angle while bringing your knees to your chest. Return to the starting position slowly and smoothly, repeat.
- Keep your arms and legs relaxed and move in a smooth motion for best results.
Working up to a Side Bridge
. For these exercises simply fill two or more 1 gallon jugs with water and begin curling them for 15 repetitions, this equals one set. Repeat and ad weight (more water or jugs.) For your shoulder use the same jugs and lift, with a slightly bent elbow, to the side. To perform the bridge:
- Lay on your side with straight legs one on top of the other. Place your hand just under your body at shoulder. Press down on your hand and raise your body up until the arm is almost locked (don’t let it lock.)
- Raise your opposite arm to perpendicular with your body and hold the position for a count of 10. Lower and repeat.
Medicine Ball Plank
. You are also not lowering and raising yourself but holding one position for 15 counts. , work toward a 30 count for one set. Do three sets to start and make sure that your knees are slightly bent and not locked.
Standing or seated twists
. Stand with feet at shoulder width apart. Place your hands on your hips and twist smoothly from side to side. As you become more stretched and comfortable with the movement begin holding a weighted object like a medicine ball or water filled jugs with two hands at your center. Once you feel comfortable with this movement try the same movement while sitting on the floor with your feet off the ground and knees slightly bent. When this feels easier try bouncing the ball on each side while your feet remain off the ground.