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Many of us have probably tried countless ab workouts to get a flat stomach and a defined six-pack. Not only are they nice to look at, but strong abs are also important for good posture and protecting the spine. The next time you get ready to do your ab workouts, keep these 3 important things in mind.
#1: The abs aren't one big muscle, but a group of muscles in your midsection.
The abdominal muscles are composed of four main groups:
Transversus Abdominis - this is the deepest abdominal muscle and is located underneath the obliques. It stabilizes the lower back during movement, assists with breathing and helps to expel organ contents in the abdomen (child birth, going to the bathroom, etc).
Rectus Abdominis - best known as the six-pack muscles, the rectus abdominis controls lumbar flexion (moving the spine forward, ie doing a sit up or crunch). They are a pair of muscles that run vertically up the the front of the abdomen.
External Obliques - these are the outermost abdominal muscles and assist with rotation and flexion. The external obliques help to compress the abdominal cavity by pulling the chest downwards, which is important for holding organs in place.
Internal Obliques - located underneath the external obliques, these muscles also assist with rotation and flexion. They also help with stability of the spine.
Knowing this information about your abdominal muscles can help you when putting together your ab workouts. It's best to do ab workouts that focus on all of the muscle groups, not just one.
#2: You can't only do ab exercises to get rid of abdominal fat.
Unfortunately, just doing a bunch of ab workouts isn't going to make you lose abdominal fat. Spot training the abs will help to build and strengthen the muscles, but to lose abdominal fat will require you to decrease the amount of fat on your body as a whole. In order to do this, you should incorporate your ab workouts with other full body workouts. It's also important to drink plenty of water, get enough rest and eat a variety of healthy foods.
#3: You don't have to work your abs harder than other muscles.
Your ab workouts should be structured the same as any other workouts; it isn't necessary to work your abs any different. Your abdominal muscles are muscles just like any other area in your body and require consistent periods of work and rest. Over-training any muscle in your body can lead to serious injuries. When doing your ab workouts, and any other workouts, include rest days and pay attention to how your body feels afterwards.
Knowing these 3 things about your ab workouts can help you get the fitness results you want. Check out some of the abdominal exercises in my library by clicking here.