I want to address an issu
e that comes up often with my clients and people interested in exercise this time of year in particular. How do I get a six-pack? I am going to tell you something that you’ve probably heard before, but an eating plan that helps you lower body fat is a sure way in getting those abs to show. However, this article is going to stress some exercises to help strengthen and target that abdominal wall area.
Keep in mind there are four main muscles that make up the abdominal wall: Transverse abdominal is (the muscle activated when you cough), the rectus abdominis is “the upper abs” and the internal and external obliques. Here I want to discuss a few exercises that work the whole abdominal wall.
Try starting your ab work with the transverse area. Why?Because it is a key protector of the lower back, and is often weak on most individuals. Exercises like leg raises,hip thrusts, vertical knee raises, and stability ball in and out rolls work this area well. The trick is on the leg raises to keep your lower back DOWN at ALL times and don’t let it come up. If you have a hard time, try bending one leg and lift and lower with other leg.
With the hip thrusts, grab a piece of stationary equipment and raise your leg straight in the air. Proceed to thrust up and back and hold for a count of two.
Most people don’t go high enough, or don’t hold long enough. If it’s too easy add a dumbbell between the feet, or use a slant board to increase difficulty. The vertical knee raises come next. Make sure your back is against the pad and round your back just a little to add more tension. Lift the knees to the chest and hold for two seconds. Again if it’s too easy, add a little resistance with a weight. Also lower down 3-4 seconds to make it even harder. Stability ball in and out rolls, also called springboards, walk out off the ball with shins resting on ball. Push down hard with shins and bring the ball to chest and hold for two-three seconds, exhale and extend the legs back out. If it’s too easy try doing it on a single leg. Next is the “upper abs”.
Remember anytime you bring your torso toward your lower body your doing flexion of the spine. That targets that abdominal wall area. I like stability ball crunches, Janda sit-ups and Overhead band reaches. First ball crunches, lie back on a stability ball so that can get a good stretch. This loads the abs then place your hands on your chest and pull your self almost all the way up, and exhale. Inhale, and lower back down slowly to make it hard. If it’s easy, try placing your hand over your head and that will make it harder, or add a light weight. Janda sit-ups were designed by a back specialist name Vladimir Janda.
You need a partner for this exercise but it’s a good one. Lie down on a mat with legs bent. Place hands by chest. Have someone pull your calves toward them and then proceed to pull your self up toward your partner and three-quarters of the way up and exhale. Pause for a second and lower slowly. This move really works the abs and takes pressure off the low back. And finally overhead reaches with a band. Wrap a band around a stationary object about head height. Hold the handles of the band overhead and out a little ways. Then I want you to push your butt underneath you, stretch back a little and then crunch forward. Exhale and pause and lower back slowly. Be sure you DON’T arch your back, it will place pressure on the spine. Want more Thinking abdominal wall tension, walk out more or use a heavier tension band.