Understanding Ab Exercises

Understanding Ab Exercises

Arguably, some of the most beneficial exercises are those that work the body’s core. This area of the body is comprised of the abdominals, glutes, lower back and obliques, which are the abdominal muscles located on each side of the body. Strong core muscles can improve posture, balance and stability, along with reducing the risk of injury and alleviating back pain.

To obtain the full benefit from doing core exercises, there are a few points to remember. First, do a variety of different exercises that work all the core muscles rather than only one exercise. Working the upper, lower and side abdominals will produce the washboard effect that most people desire. Second, always use proper form. It is better to do fewer repetitions with proper form than to do more with bad form, which can lead to injury or lackluster results. Lastly, using proper breathing will ensure the exercise is done properly, with comfort and without dizziness due to lack of oxygen.

The crunch is the staple of abdominal work, and it is very effective when done with proper form. It is different from a traditional sit-up, which is not always recommended due to unnecessary strain on the lower back. The crunch is more efficient and works the abdominals more effectively. It uses a smaller range of motion; there is no need to touch the elbows to the knees.

Keeping the elbows open and the chin off the chest, the head and shoulders are lifted off the ground, keeping the lower back firmly on the ground. Exhale on the lift; inhale on the release. Some people refer to this movement as a scoop. Imagine making the letter C with the body while lifting to produce a scooping movement. Use this exercise as a part of a larger abdominal routine for optimal results.

Remembering to breathe may seem obvious, but proper breathing while performing core exercises takes some attention and mindfulness. Some people fall into the habit of holding their breath because the muscles around the diaphragm are being used, but this will reduce the body’s ability to work effectively.

Muscles need a steady level of oxygen to perform properly. Deeply inhale on the release of the muscle and strongly exhale on the contraction of the muscle. This technique will create more efficient use of the muscles and reduce fatigue and dizziness.

Doing abdominal work is a great way for beginners to start an exercise regimen. It will build stamina, strength, and will reduce the risk of injury as other exercises are added. Abdominal exercises will tone the muscles; they will not burn fat. The appropriate amount of cardio is needed to burn fat and achieve a healthy and complete exercise program.

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