Abs. Abdominals. Washboards. Six packs. Let’s talk about those tricky but oh so important muscles and why there is so much more to them than aesthetics.
I can not stress enough how important it is to have strong abdominals regardless of what is covering them. I have heard people say SO many times that they are “waiting to lose weight” before they do any core work. This is a HUGE mistake-our abdominals are key when it comes to living healthy, pain free lives. Our bodies have two layers of abdominals, the superficial being the rectus abdominus and the external obliques. These are the muscles that the vast majority of people focus on in their hunt for the elusive six pack. The more important but most often neglected are the deeper muscles, the internal obliques and the transverse abdominus. These are the muscles that support our back, they provide both lateral and rotational support forming a corset of sorts which works to keep our lower back (the lumbar spine) stabilized. A weak internal core leads to all sorts of problems and the spine can be severely effected. Did you know that one of the primary causes for low back pain is weak abdominals? Crazy, right? So, now you understand why a strong inner core is so very important-slack on your core and your back will suffer.
Ok so aesthetics, let’s talk about looks for a moment. A question I have heard time and again is “How do I target the fat on my stomach? How do I get rid of it?”. The sad answer, my friends, is that we can not choose where our bodies decide to lose from. There is no secret exercise or magical ab crunch that is going to miraculously target that glorious little pooch that so many of us ladies struggle with. The saying “Abs are made in the kitchen” is dead on-without a clean diet no amount of exercise will get you those washboard abs. The best advice I can give you in terms of looks is eat clean, do intervals whenever you do cardio, and lift (an all-cardio regimen will destroy that much needed muscle mass). But this is a discussion for another day and another post. Let’s get back to strengthening the core.
There are lots of different exercises aimed at strengthening both your inner and outer abdominals,and these are a few of my favorites. Check out the videos and experiment with which ones work best for you. If you have questions, let me know! I am always happy to help. For my mamas out there, these exercises are even more important because of the wear and tear on our abdominals while pregnant. There are also plenty of variations that can make these exercises more challenging, but for now let’s get that core strong! Oh, and HAPPY FRIDAY!
Bent Knee Raises (video)
Glute Bridges (video)
Bird Dogs (video)
Planks (add leg lifts or twists to challenge yourself) (video)
Back Extensions (video)
Flutter Kicks (video)
Stir the Pot (video)
Photo Credit: aisledash.com