There’s really nothing sexier than a flat, toned stomach, but…
…there is no point in having abs that look great and don’t actually function at their job of stabilizing us in all the movements we do. Back pain is definitely NOT sexy, but training your core wrong can actually set you up to hurt your back.
Most people just think of their “core” as their stomach muscles, but it’s actually made up of an entire band of muscle that wraps around your body above your hips – not just your stomach but your lower back as well.
Our abdominal muscles work together as a unit to support, stabilize and move us around. While most muscle groups have one primary and one secondary nerve, the abdominal wall is enervated by 8!
That’s because the core muscles have so many important jobs to do, and they work to stabilize our spine, support the movements we do with our legs, arms and trunks, protect our organs and basically never stop working for us as we go through our day.
Doing too many exercises that target the rectus abdominus, or the muscles that run down the center of our stomach (like crunches) combined with the habitual pattern of sitting at a desk all day or driving sets us up for badly imbalanced and dysfunctional cores that can’t protect us.
There are a few key players in your core.
There are the external and internal obliques, that help support us as we twist and bend – and also support our ribs as we breathe in and out. You’ve got the transverse abdominus that are one of the most important trunk and lower back stabilizers. Your rectus abdominus is also an important stabilizer of your trunk – but it works together with the other layers of muscle, not alone. You’ve also got deep core stabilizers, your primary hip flexors – the psoas muscles. They support and stabilize your lower spine along with the lower back muscles, the quadratus lumborum.
I could care less if I have a “6-pack” I’d rather have a strong, tight stomach and a fully functional BALANCED core that allows me to move in every direction and enjoy all of the activities I love.
You don’t need to know every function and every muscle in your core, but you do need to know that activating it with dynamic movements that target its many different jobs will not only protect you from injury and give you greater stability in all of your activities – training it properly, all of it – will actually give you that extremely sexy and lean look you’re after. With the added bonus of supporting you functionally.
Check out today’s 8 dynamic ab exercises, and work on performing them with good form so you can train your body to look sexier AND move efficiently and support you in every way!
1: 10-30 second hold L-Sits: 2. 10 Straight Leg Raises (or knee raises) 3. 10 Tuck Jumps 4. 20 Crab Walks 5. 20 Alternating Front Kicks to Cross-Cross Punch 6. 18 Squat Thrust Twist 7. 20 Side to Side Knee Jumps 8. 10 each side Towel Ups
8 Best Ab Exercises
Format: 3 rounds
1: 10-30 second hold L-Sits:
2. 10 Straight Leg Raises (or knee raises)
3. 10 Tuck Jumps
4. 20 Crab Walks
5. 20 Alternating Front Kicks to Cross-Cross Punch
6. 18 Squat Thrust Twist
7. 20 Side to Side Knee Jumps
8. 10 each side Towel Ups