Working out is a must to help balance out hours of sitting at a desk, being on the computer chair, and lying on the couch in front of the t.v. It also helps fight the rapid onset of aging. This is why exercise and physical activity is so important and should be a daily routine. In order to do what you do, whether it is running your own business, working for a company, running errands, spending time with friends and family, working out allows you to do all that you do more enjoyable and easier. Plus adding physical fitness helps unload all the clutter in your mind and gives you a break from the rat race.
It is important that exercises are correctly performed. One type of exercises that is consistently done incorrectly by most people are ab crunches to work the abdominal muscles. The ab area supports us in all that we do. Having a strong core is crucial to your overall health including your posture.
To know how to do ab workouts properly, it is important to understand the abdominal muscles. Many people think that abs are one muscle and can be worked as a group. Even fitness industry “experts” and personal trainers teach this. Yet the reality is that ab muscles aren’t one single muscle but instead they are made up of two long muscles which are divided into different segments.
There are actually four types of muscles that make up the core/abdominal muscles, which aids you in everything you do. From sitting to standing to moving and working out, the abdominal area is the center of everything you do. This core area is made up of the rectus abdominus, the transverse abdominal, the internal obliques, and the external obliques. So each section must be isolated and worked out separately and correctly.
Yet for decades, the health and fitness industry leaders and instructors teach that you should lie on the floor with your back suppressed to the floor. This leaves no room for the natural arch of the spine. Then you’re taught to do crunches and sit ups in this back-flat-on-the-floor position yet since there is no arch in the spine, there is little range of motion. So what gets worked are the hip flexors and the neck because the body cannot lift any higher when there is no arch in the spine and no room to move. Is it any wonder that after doing crunches and situps people complain of neck aches and tight hip flexors? Also, the biggest complaint is that they see no results in from all the crunches, sit ups, and ab exercises that they do.
Properly working out the abs means to allow for the support of your back which lets the spine have its arch. Sit ups are not effective as once you reach a certain lift position, once you sit up so high, the stomach muscles are no longer engaged but the neck and hip flexors do the work. In order to work your abs properly, something tucked under the lower back to allow the natural arch of the spine and crunches is required. You can use a pillow or a special device made for a natural arch and ROM for your abs to be able to work as they should. These little inventions usually cost about $20 and up. (A great one is the newly developed CrunchR made just for this.)
Crunches should be done where the stomach muscles are contracted and tight on the lifting and lowering movements. Many people will relax their muscles as they lower to the floor. This is similar to cheating as it allows gravity to take over and the eccentric part of the contraction is neglected.
Make sure you work your ab (core area) properly. You’ll have to undo what you’ve always learned but the results will be worth it. Strong, tight abs are not only important for good health, good posture, and a good quality of life, they also contribute to good looks. Who can resist a trim waistline or sexy six pack abs?