One of the biggest areas that people always want to improve on is their abs. Most people think that just by working their abs, it will flatten their stomach and they will have a perfect set of abs. This is not altogether true. Just because you work your abs out, you still need to have a good diet to loose those extra inches.
When working your abs, you need to treat them like any other major muscle group in your body. You need to exercise them three to four times a week. You don’t have to do hundreds of sit-ups or crunches every time either. There are many different ways to exercise your abdominal muscles. The abdominal muscles are broke down into four different sets of muscles. You have the rectus abdominis which is more commonly known as the “six-pack.” The internal and the external oblique muscles are commonly known as “love handles.” And then you have the transverse abdominal muscle, which actually wraps around your spine.
The rectus abdominis is the easiest group to work. Exercises that will work this group are regular sit-ups and crunches. For beginners you need to start out slow. The most important rule when working out is to stretch both before and after your workout. This allows your body to recover faster and prevents you from injuring yourself. Start by doing 10-15 reps of each exercise and repeat three times. These repetitions are called sets. When you are doing your sets, do each type of exercise. For example, if you are doing sit-ups, crunches and leg lifts and at 10 reps apiece, do each exercise once. After you have completed all three, then start over on the next set. Rotating through each exercise that compromises your set prevents your body from over-working one area. It also provides you with a variety in your routine and keeps you from becoming bored with your workout.
The next group is the internal and the external oblique muscles, also known as the love handles. There are several exercises you can do to work these muscles. The first one is the bicycle exercise. To do this exercise you lie face up on the floor and interlock your fingers behind the back of your head. Bring you knees in toward your chest and lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Take your left leg and straighten it out to a 45 degree angle while at the same time turning your upper body to the right. Try to touch your left elbow to the right knee. Continue with the other side and the other leg. The movement should resemble that of peddling a bicycle. The important things to remember is not to pull on your neck while doing this exercise.
Another exercise is called the captains chair. To do this exercise you will need to use actual gym equipment. The captain’s chair resembles a chair with no seat. It is tall enough so you can stand upright in the equipment and your feet will be off the ground. To do this exercise you climb up on the chair, put your arms on the arm rests, grasp the handles and let your legs hang down. While keeping your back firmly up against the back rest, slowly bring your knees up to where they are parallel to the floor. Hold for a second and return to the starting position.
The last group is the transverse abdominal. This is the hardest area to try to work but is still an important one to remember. To work this area you can do the plank exercise. To start you need to lie face down on the floor or mat keeping your forearms and palms flat on the floor. Push your body up off the floor raising yourself up on your toes and elbows. You should form a relatively straight line with your body. Keep your abs tight to maintain this straight position. Holding this position depends on your level of fitness. For beginners just try 15 to 20 seconds. For the more advanced, hold up to a minute. Repeat this exercise up to five times each set.
These are just a few exercises to get you started with your ab workout. There are hundreds of things you can do to work your abs. The biggest thing is finding the ones that work for you. Body shapes and preferences will be factors in the ones that you choose. Remember that it takes dedication and commitment to your workout to improve. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to find a workout partner who will push you and not let you quit.
We have many more Exercise and Fitness Routine Articles Now Available.