This week we are going to talk about muscles of the abdomen.
First of all, the abdominal muscles (“the abs”) are located on the anterior side of our abdomen. When talking about the abs, there are 4 major muscles that we should be familiar with. Starting from the outermost layer we have the external oblique muscle. Then, in the intermediate layer we have the internal oblique and the rectus abdominis. Lastly, the innermost layer we have the transversus abdominis.
So… what do these abdominal muscles do?
The abdominal muscles help support and protect our internal organs, move our vertebral column through flexion, lateral flexion, and rotation. They are also necessary for day-to-day activities such as breathing, urination, defecation, coughing, weightlifting, and giving birth!
A weak abdominal could lead to poor posture, low back pain, and a decrease in sport performance. In the following section, we will show you 2 exercises that can strengthen your abdominal muscles.
While lying face down, lift your body up on your elbows and toes. Try to maintain a straight spine. Do not allow your hips on either side to drop by drawing your belly button in. Maintain your pelvis in neutral position the entire time. This exercise primarily targets your transversus abdominis. Try to hold the plank for 60 seconds and repeat twice.
2) Bicycle Crunches
Lying flat on the ground while facing up, put your hands behind the head. Bend one knee to 90 degrees and straighten the other leg. Try to bring the opposite elbow to the knee by rotating your trunk. Alternating sides and perform 8 repetitions on each side. Repeat the exercise twice. This exercise targets your external oblique and internal oblique at the same time!