Sculpt A Six Pack

The abdomen, or the belly as it is commonly called, lies between the chest (thorax) and pelvis.

Abdominal structure:
The abdomen is marked by the diaphragm on the top and the horizontal line in level with the top of the pelvis at the bottom. The stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, gallbladder, spleen and the large & small intestines are housed in the abdominal cavity.

Located between the ribs and the pelvis on the front side of the body, the abdominal muscles support the trunk and keep the organs in place while facilitating the internal movements. There are four main groups of abdominal muscles.

Lower and upper abs:
The deepest layer is transversus abdominis which stabilizes the trunk and maintains the internal abdominal pressure.

Slung between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis, rectus abdominis moves the body between the ribcage and the pelvis. The tilting of the pelvis and the curvature of the lower spine are enabled by this muscle movement.The famous six-pack’ refers to the characteristic bumps or bulges which emerge while the rectus abdominis contracts.

External oblique muscles lie on each side of the rectus abdominis. They allow the trunk to twist such as turning of the body to the left due to the contract of right external oblique, and vice versa.

Internal oblique muscles are just inside the hipbones, flanking the rectus abdominis. Their operation is the reverse of external oblique muscle functioning. For instance, the left side internal oblique and right side of external oblique contract together to cause the trunk to twist towards left side; 

Best exercises for developing the abdominal muscles :
The abdominal muscles, along with pelvic floor muscles, back muscles, sacrospinalis, and the diaphragm are the core muscles which can be strengthened by exercises. The core exercises include abdominal crunch, bridge, single-leg and double-leg abdominal press and their variations, segmental rotation, quadruped, modified plank, side plank and Superman.

The exercises can be done on a carpeted floor or mat. During each core-strength exercise, one should take deep breaths in a free manner. The focus should be on tightening the transversus abdominis which contracts when one coughs.

Each of the exercises should be repeated five times and can be increased to 10-15 repetitions as the strength improves. Instead of hours on crunches and sit-ups, one could lose fat through more productive exercises such as Barbell squat, dumbbell lunges, pull-ups, seated barbell military press, etc.

Along with the exercises, the proper dietary regimen which includes protein, carbs and good fat, will enable the loss of body fat at a healthy rate of 1 percent per month. 

One should realize that the muscles actually develop during the rest period. Thus, doing too much of workout without rest will inhibit proper development. Of course, too much of rest is definitely useless. One could spend 20 minutes working abs twice or thrice a week.

Depending on the current body level, one could develop six-pack abs in three to twenty months. 

People with osteoporosis, back problems, and other health issues, pregnant women, etc., should get advice from their doctors, and avoid strenuous exercises.

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