Ab Sculpting Exercise - One Of The Most Productive Exercises For
Your Abs That Is Hardly Ever Used
Before I talk about one of the most productive and forgotten Ab Development
exercises ever developed, you will need to know how your abdominal
muscles actually work. I know for a fact, if I don't offer some pretty
convincing evidence, it will be very difficult for you to believe
such a claim so here is where a little education will go a long way
to prove my point.
Your abdominal muscles are really one big muscle called the Rectus
Abdominus. You do not have upper, mid and lower abs unless you have
some genetic anomaly. This is really critical to understand because
the long muscle fibers in the abdominal muscles start at ribcage and
ends at the pubic region.
So, when you contract your muscles during a curl-up or crunch, the
two ends of the muscle fibers move toward each other. It is impossible
for the lower portion of the Rectus Abdominus (abs) to function without
equally "firing off" all the other muscle fibers in the abs.
Once the muscle relaxes and allows its two ends to move apart and
reach its original stretched position, you will complete the full
range-of-motion of an abdominal exercise,
I am not forgetting the external and internal Obliques because they
are directly and indirectly involved while performing any abdominal
movement so its really not necessary to hammer out your Obliques regularly.
In fact, since the only thing a muscle can do is shrink and grow (atrophy
or hypertrophy), you probably will not want to overly develop the
Obliques because it will create a thicker looking waistline.
That means the key to creating great-developed abs is to use exercises
that fully contract the abdominal muscle until it is fatigued and
that will take the muscle through it's full range-of-motion, just
like any other muscle you build in your body.
Remember though, you will not see your abs if they are hidden under
a layer of fat and you cannot spot reduce the fat from waistline by
training your abs for hours on end. Simply doing hours of abdominal
exercises may develop your abs but you will still carry that layer
of fat around your body if you aren't burning the appropriate amount
of calories. If you are trying to lose body fat, there are much bigger
and better exercises than abdominal exercises for burning calories
and body fat.
Now that you know how the abdominal muscle works, it's time to discover,
"The most forgotten productive exercise for your Abs."
Reintroducing, TADA - The Sit Up.
Wait! Don't go yet. It's really, really important for you to know
how to properly perform a Sit Up. If you perform the Sit Up like you
did in Gym Class, you are reducing the Sit Up's effectiveness by almost
50% and you could cause some serious low back pain for yourself.
I know; if a personal trainer or non free-thinking exercise physiologist
is reading this section right now they are going to tell me I am crazy
for recommending Sit Ups. Here again, it is important to understand
the rules behind Abdominal-development and the Sit Up exercise really
qualifies as a very effective movement.
Remember, when the abdominal muscle is working, Two ends of the muscle
fibers must move toward each other and be able to fully contract.
Does the Sternum and Pubic area move toward each other when performing
Does the Abdominal Muscle bend and stretch the spine in its full
range of motion in a Sit Up?
Does the abdominal muscles reach full extension to full flexion?
YES, if you perform the exercise correctly! So, why does the sit up
exercise get such a bad rap?
Primarily because the old style Sit Ups you performed incorrectly
in gym class put too much stress on the lower back and hip flexors.
But, do you know what is really crazy about that logic? If more muscles
than one are involved, it is called a compound or multi-joint movement.
You wont hear me saying compound movements are bad. Are these supposed
experts trying to get people to actually believe that compound movements
are great for every muscle except the abdominal muscles?
If I remember correctly, didnt these same exercise physiologists
claim squats and Deadlifts put too much strain on your knees and back
and that we all needed to stop doing those exercises too? Just a few
years later, most of the experts are now eating their words, arent
Description of Exercise - Here is the appropriate way to perform
an effective Sit Up.
Lay flat on your back with a rolled up towel under your lower back.
Bend your knees about 45 with heels on the floor and keep your toes
pointing up. Do not anchor your feet.
Spread the knees apart approximately 6-8 inches to prevent the hip
flexors from contributing too much to the exercise.
Next, extend your arms between your legs and keep your hands between
your legs throughout the movement because it will help keep you in
the proper position.
Now, exhale and lift your shoulders off the ground, keeping your
neck in a neutral position. Concentrate on trying to force the lower
portion of your ribcage into your knees by curling the spine upward
into the sit up position. (DO NOT CURL YOUR NECK). Slowly lower yourself
back down to the starting position by uncurling your spine and you
are finished with the repetition when you feel the rolled up towel
supporting your lower back again.
Notice how both ends of the abdominal muscle fully contract together
and are stretched through its full range of motion. When you perform
a Sit Up with proper biomechanics, your next crunch exercise will
pale by comparison.
(c) 2003 - 2004 Randall T. Gartman
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Randall Gartman, "Certified Personal Trainer and NLP Practitioner,"
is author of "eMpowering Physical Mastery" and "eMpowering Pain-Free
Living - Life Without Obesity." To learn more about his books and
to sign up for more FREE tips like these, visit his site at