Ab exercises don’t rely on endless situps for a solid core. I’m following these 5 tactics for strengthening my abs and improving my fitness.
Ab exercises build a solid core and are the basis of total fitness
Having flat, ripped abs is the Shangrala of exercise.. it is what everyone who works out aspires to. A washboard stomach and cut definition means that all the hard work dieting and exercising have paid off. It means little abdominal fat. Flat abs show your dedication and are the benchmark of fitness and attractiveness.
But, for real, the goal of the six-pack stomach are likely out of reach for all but the most dedicated muscle-builder. It requires sets and sets of isolation exercises and a fat-shedding diet that demands too much time and effort from those who are just looking to get fit and healthy.
Fitness experts have long said that the goal should not be to try and attain “flat abs”. What they say is that we should instead be going for “strong abs”. While flat abs have a visual appeal, strong abs provide support and protect us from injury.
Focusing on strong abs instead of ripped, flat abs is actually better for our bodies and our egos.
The way to strong abs is not just sit ups
Many studies have shown that traditional crunches not only don’t give you segmented abs, they also miss development of more important muscle groups. And sit ups are notoriously risky in terms of strain and injury to your back.
Attention to muscle groups like the Transverse Abdominis help strengthens and stabilize the core. This is important in protecting the spine as well as extending our range of motion. A strong core supports strength training for other body parts, too. Sit-ups rely on developing only one set of muscle groups.
Crunches can also make your stomach bulge, instead of making it flat. Using the wrong form can really make sit-ups useless as an exercise.
Ab exercises mean more than just building a six pack
From a health and fitness aspect a strong core is more important than flat abs. Exercises should be targeting the full extent of trunk muscles that help us lift, twist, bend, and reach. And keeping the midsection fit through stretches is important to keep in mind, too.
Supporting your core through a variety of exercises will make all your other workouts more effective. A stable core is necessary to support other big-muscle exercises like deadlifts, squats, and press ups. Execises for the chest and shoulders, such as push ups, rely of a stable and strong core to produce results.
Benefits of stronger abs range from better posture to more effectively exercising. While you might not see a chiseled waist, you will get a slimmer waistline from a full ab exercise regimen. The kinds of exercises needed to work your abs will also help reduce stubborn abdominal fat. That will make you healthy as well as fit.
5 tactics I’m using to get stronger abs
I am always trying to find exercises that I can actually do. I have a routine of 8 exercises that I should do at least twice a week, but my general level of fitness prevents me from actually performing them effectively.
It is a struggle to keep realizing I have to accept my current situation. I want to be ambitous. But that just keeps bringing failure. So, I have to humbly start from where I am and do the exercises I can that will help me.
Still, I am finding 5 ways to get stronger abs:
- I’m improving my posture. When I’m waiting in line or standing at work I draw my shoulders back, lengthen my spine, and draw in my gut. It requires constant reinforcement, but it provides a little bit of toning.
- I aim to do rounds of pelvic tilts. When I can I take a few minutes and lay on the floor with my knees bent and my feet flat. I draw my navel towards my spine and activate my abs. Then I push my pelvis towards the ceiling, keeping my back straight. I hold for a moment, contracting my glutes and abs. Then I lower myself back to a prone position. I’ll try to do at least 15 reps of this.
- If I have been sitting for a while I make a point to sit up straight and twist my upper body as far as I can to the left and then to the right. I’ll do this several times until I feel the muscles along the side of my trunk loosen up.
- I’m eating less. Too much of any food, even healthy choices, pushes the muscles of my abdominal wall outward. By eating smaller portions I am not only cutting calories I am also putting less stress on the muscles.
- Starting this month I’m undertaking a 30-Day Plank Challenge. I’m going to gradually build up my core strength by a few seconds every day.
My 30-Day Plank Challenge
This month I am undertaking a 30-Day Plank Challenger. I want to get stronger abs and a solid core. My plan is to incrementally increase the amount of time I perform a plank position. In one month, I will see what results I can produce.