The most sought after muscular feature by a long shot in both males and females is sculptured abdominal muscles. We judge an individual’s fitness level by the appearance of their abdominal muscles. We have television personalities with more abs than talent. We envy it,wish for it, we may even do some crunches all to no avail. What are they and what do we need to do to get them?
Anatomy of Abdominal Muscles
What makes up the abdominal muscles are 5 muscle groups. The transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis (the six-pack), external obliques, internal obliques and the pyramidalis muscle. These muscles are present in all of us but don’t appear unless your body fat is low enough. While concentrated abdominal exercises are necessary one must also do adequate amounts of cardio and it must all be accompanied by a solid nutrition plan. Any one of these, while benificial, will rarely lead to the highly prized six-pack. The one word that applies here is consistency.
Cardio for Abs
Every body builder, fitness model or athlete will tell you the same thing, you must do cardio to reach your goal. The cardio must be done on a consistent basis, 4-5 times a week. This is the only way, unless your genetically gifted, to lower your percent body fat to a level that your abs will show. The upper abs start to show when ones body fat is in the upper teens and the lower abdominal muscles only show when one gets to 10=12 %.
The cardio is best done in the morning prior to eating. You can do a variety of different forms and intensities. The most important rule is to do it and to make it intense for 30 minutes. It has been shown that doing the cardio in the morning prior to eating you will burn more fat and that doing intervals will burn more fat in shorter period of time.
Nutrition for Abdominal Muscles
We will call this eating clean, sounds easy but many find this the hardest part. When one eats clean they eat no processed foods and restrict carbohydrates and when they eat carbs only complex ones. The diet consists of fish, eggs, lean meats, and vegetables. Sugar, bread, pasta , rice, alcohol are out. Now you begin to see the difficulty. No beers and pizza, no hamburgers and french fries. These are the sacrifices that must be made for the coveted abs.
Abdominal exercises come in many forms, from the basic crunch to the hanging leg raise. The most important things to remember is you must mix up your routine, constantly increase the intensity and maintain perfect form.
Too many times we see people flopping around in the gym doing hurried poor form ab exercises. I would suggest that this is a waste of your time. Every rep should be perfect and requires concentration. For example when doing hanging leg raises one can not swing the body, the upper body must remain still like your back is against a wall.
This strict form will be ultimately rewarding over the long haul. The intensity must change as well increasing the number of reps and adding weight. Finally you must spend more time on the lower abs than the upper. These exercises include V-ups, straight leg hip raises or heel press, reverse crunch with a ball, V-up ball pass. Finally throw in a plank every other day and try to push your time longer and longer each day, this is a great core exercise.
Exercises for your abs can be done every other day and should require no more than 15 minutes
Now you have all the tools needed to have those sculptured abdominal muscles you have dreamed of. The only thing standing in your way is discipline and hard work. Good luck
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