Updated: Jan 3
Lets talk about ABSSSS!
I had an interesting conversation with a friend about if abs are hereditary or the product of hard work… so I want to know what you think: drop a comment down below and let me what you believe: Are abs made in the kitchen and the gym OR are people just #blessed!
When you think of abs, what muscle do you typically think of?
There are 4 separate muscles that contribute to your overall abdominal development
Each of these 4 muscles has a different, yet important, role to play – so you want to make sure that your workouts train all of them effectively.
Together, these muscles will impact your core stability, strength, your posture, in addition to providing many other important functions.
Let’s quickly go through each of them, one by one.
When people generally think of a ‘six-pack’, this is the muscle that they are talking about.
The rectus abdominis is positioned between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis, and is actually made up of 8 distinct muscle bellies.
When the muscle contracts, these muscle bellies are visible, assuming low enough levels of body fat, creating that ‘six-pack’ look.
This is what people mean when they say they’re working their ‘upper’ or ‘lower’ abs.
2. External Obliques:
After the rectus abdominis, the obliques are probably the one other abdominal muscle that many people focus on.
Your external obliques sit on either side of your rectus abdominis, and are actually the largest of your abdominal muscles.
This is the muscle that allows the trunk of your body to twist.
3. Internal Obliques:
Now you can think of this muscle as kind of being the opposite of the external oblique.
They are located directly below the rectus abdominis, and sit just inside your hip bones.
The internal obliques are also responsible for twisting and turning, but they control the other side of the movement.
For example, when you twist to the right, you are contracting both your right internal oblique and your left external oblique at the same time.
Since they control the movement on the same side of your body, internal obliques are sometimes referred to as “same side rotators.
4. Transverse Abdominis:
It is a very important muscle, which is integral to holding your entire abdominal structure together.
The transverse abdominis is the ‘deepest’ of your ab muscles, located underneath your rectus abdominis and obliques.
However, even though you’ll never see this muscle visually, it is incredibly important to maintaining a functionally strong core and for creating large amounts of stabilizing internal abdominal pressure
Q: How often should I train my abs?
To get results and prevent overtraining, focus on hitting your core two to three times a week post-workout. During those workouts, aim to include a variety of core exercises—not just crunches. Planks, cable woodchops, and abdominal rollouts are all good variations to include. Also, aim for the bulk of your program to consist of total-body exercises that are going to involve your core like front squats, deadlifts, and standing shoulder presses.
When choosing sets and reps, also be sure to mimic your current training program. If the rest of your training is geared toward increasing maximal strength and power, then your core moves should focus on that as well (shifting to medicine ball throws versus woodchops for instance). As with other muscle groups, vary the exercises and intensity to constantly see results and avoid overtraining.
Looking for a good ab routine to throw into your current gym training schedule? Check out these routines below: