Did you know that almost every exercise you do can involve your abs? Whether it’s the traditional crunches, or something like a standing shoulder press, your can engage and work your abs in hundreds of exercises for your workout program. Let’s look at the functions and different movements that your abs perform.
Most commonly seen in the gym is flexion of the trunk. This is what most people do when attempting to get those “six pack abs”. Exercises such as crunches, sit-ups, hip raises, knee ups, and toe touches are all involved in flexion of the trunk and are a great way to sculpt the abdominal muscles. Twisting movements work the abs as well. Swinging a bat, tennis racquet, or throwing overhead all involve the abdominal muscles. These movements can be replicated with cables, resistance tubing, and medicine balls.
Another function of the abdominals include stabilization. When you draw in your naval towards your spine and hold, you contract your abdominal muscles in an effort to protect your spine and other internal structures of the core. It makes a natural weight belt. Everyday activities such as lifting a suitcase, holding a child in one arm, and carrying a heavy laundry basket all involve core muscles, and will fatigue the abdominals. When you carry a load such as a suitcase in one hand, the core muscles on the opposite side of your body contract and keep you in an upright position. Many exercises can replicate carrying an unbalanced load and therefore make abdominal exercises unlimited. Let’s take a look at some.
Unbalanced loading can be done by doing some traditional exercises with only 1 arm instead of two. When performing a standing shoulder press for example, use a dumbbell in 1 hand only and perform the overhead press while drawing in your naval, and feel oblique muscles on the opposite side of your body contract. Other movements done with 1 arm that allow for the same response to occur would include; lateral raise, tube chest press, front raise, and scapular raises. Try the same exercises while standing on 1 leg to involve the hips.
Involve your abs in every exercise you do by performing the draw in technique. Try this technique next time you perform a hamstring curl or leg extension, bicep curl or tricep press. The exercises are limitless. Everything you do can involve the abs and strengthen the muscles of the core.
Remember that the abdominal muscles also move in many different angles, not just forward/backwards, across and side to side. Every twist has an angle involving the abs. Twist at 10 different angles and you work those muscles differently every time. Applying these concepts will allow you to create many new abdominal exercises for your workout program, and you can also find many of these descriptions, pictures and videos at liveleantoday.com. Learn to do them correctly and enjoy having an entirely new arsenal of ab exercises at your disposal.