Abdominal Workout

Abdominal Workout

 

Abdominal Muscles is a large group of muscles located in the front of abdomen along with oblique muscles.

It is categorized as below:

  1. Abs
    • Upper Abs
    • Lower Abs
  2. Oblique
    • External Oblique
    • Internal Oblique

You must train all the four areas of the abdominal region in order to have a complete abdominal development. Lower abs need to be more trained since most of the fats are located in the lower abdomen. I have summarized abdominal workout as below to keep it short and simple.

Front bending of upper body will target upper abs.

Side bending or twisting of upper body will target external oblique.

Front lifting of lower body will target lower abs.

Side bending or twisting of lower body will target internal oblique.

 
Abdominal Muscles

This area is to allow you bend your chest towards  the downward side. Toning these muscle groups will result in six pack abs.

Below are few exercises to target Abdominal Muscle groups.

Crunches

Main Area Targeted: Upper Abs

Steps:

  1. Lay flat on the floor with your feet flat on the ground and knees at a 90 degree angle.
  2. Place your hands behind your head. Beginners should place them across the chest.
  3. Curl your torso towards your knees, lifting the shoulder blades off the ground as you breathe out.
  4. Hold the curled position and contract the abdominal muscles for 1-2 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position as you breathe in.

Sit Ups

Main Area Targeted: Upper Abs

Steps:

  1. This exercise can either be performed on floor or on an inclined bench with leg supports at the top.
  2. Sit on the bench and hook your legs up to the supports. Lean back and stretch the abdominals. Place your arms across your chest or behind your head.
  3. Raise your body towards your knees as you breathe out.
  4. Contract the abdominal muscles. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then slowly go back down as you breathe in.
  5. Make sure you are not touching the bench with your shoulders in order to keep your abdominals flexed. Repeat.

Cable Crunches

Main Area Targeted: Upper Abs

Secondary Area Targeted: Serratus anterior

Steps:

  1. This exercise requires a cable machine. Use the rope attachment if available, or a triceps pushdown bar. It is very effective since you can increase enough weight.
  2. Kneel down about two feet in front of the machine. Hold the rope or bar behind your head and keep your body at 45 degrees to the floor. This is the starting position.
  3. Contract your abdominal muscles as you crunch down towards the floor.
  4. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then slowly return to starting position as you breathe in.

Leg Raises

Main Area Targeted: Lower Abs

Steps:

  1. Lay down with your hands to your sides for support.
  2. Raise your legs so they are off the ground, keeping the abdominals tight.
  3. Slowly raise your legs 90 degrees, contracting the abdominal muscles.
  4. Slowly return to starting position as you breathe in.
  5. Do not touch the floor with your feet.

Hanging Leg Raises

Main Area Targeted: Lower Abs

Secondary Area Targeted: Serratus anterior

Steps:

  1. This exercise is performed in the hanging position, with your legs fully extended. If the bar is not high enough to fully extend your legs, keep your knees bent.
  2. Raise your legs 90 degrees, trying to keep them straight.
  3. If beginner, try to lift only the knees.
  4. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then slowly lower them to the starting position as you breathe in.

Plank

Main Area Targeted: Lower Abs

Secondary Area Targeted: Upper Abs

Steps:

  1. Start by getting into a press up position.
  2. Bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms and not on your hands.
  3. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine.
  4. Hold this position for the prescribed time.
  5. Beginners - 60 seconds, Advanced - 120 seconds 

 

Obliques

This area is to allow you bend your back to the side and allow your body to twist at the core. Toning these muscle groups will shrink your waistline.

Below are few exercises to target Oblique Muscle groups.

Side Plank with Straight Leg

Main Area Targeted: External Oblique

Secondary Area Targeted: Gluteus Maximus

Steps:

  1. Start off this static contraction exercise by lying on your right side, supported by your right forearm and elbow planted at your side. Your left arm is resting extended on your left thigh.
  2. With your hips and leg on the floor, begin by raising your hips so your body forms a straight line from ankle to head.
  3. Your points of contact to the floor with be your elbow to forearm support and your side ankle.
  4. Hold for a minute, then slowly lower back down to the starting position.

Twisting Hanging Leg Raises

Main Area Targeted: Internal Oblique

Secondary Area Targeted: Lower Abs

Steps:

  1. This exercise is performed in the hanging position, with your legs fully extended. If the bar is not high enough to fully extend your legs, keep your knees bent.
  2. Raise your knees towards your chest, bending the knees and twisting to one side. Thus contracting the abdominals.
  3. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then slowly lower your legs to the starting position, stretching the abs. Repeat, alternating sides.

Cable Oblique Twist

Main Area Targeted: External Oblique

Secondary Area Targeted: Serratus anterior

Steps:

  1. Hold the V-bar with both hands. Step away and turn your lower body away from the pulley machine, until your arms are pulled horizontal across your chest towards the pulley machine.
  2. Stand with a wide stance, with one foot further away from the pulley than the other with both knees slightly bent.
  3. Ensuring you keep your arms straight, rotate your torso away from the pulley machine across your body, until the cable touches your shoulder.
  4. Return back to the starting position, slowly and under control.

 

Bicycle Crunches

Main Area Targeted: External Oblique

Secondary Area Targeted: Lower Abs

Steps:

  1. Lie face up and place your hands behind your head, supporting your neck with your fingers.
  2. Have your abs tucked in and the small of your back pushed hard against the floor.
  3. Lift your knees in toward your chest while lifting your shoulder blades off the floor.
  4. Rotate to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee as you extend the other leg into the air.
  5. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee. Alternate each side in a pedaling motion for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
  6. Focus on tightening your core, not your neck, through each repetition.

 

Dumbbell Side Bends

Main Area Targeted: External Oblique

Steps:

  1. Grip a single dumbbell and, while standing, hold it down at your side with your palm facing in toward your thighs. Begin with your torso upright. Avoid using an extremely heavy weight.
  2. If you’re holding the dumbbell with your left hand, then tilt your torso to the left to lower the left dumbbell down toward your knee. Don't lower the dumbbell below the knee when you’re bending to avoid injury.
  3. Return to upright and then bend your torso to the right. Keep movements slow and controlled and avoid allowing your shoulders to twist when you’re bending.
  4. After you’re finished with the set, perform a set while holding the dumbbell in your other hand.

MORE FOR YOU

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.