The midsection sits on the front and sides of the lower half of the torso, originating along the rib cage and attaching along the pelvis. It is composed of several muscles:
- The Rectus Abdominus– is commonly known as the “six-pack” muscle of the abs. Thin bands of connective tissue give it that appearance. It helps to flex the spine (bringing the rib cage closer to the pelvis). This is seen in the abdominal crunching movement. When the movement is reversed, the Rectus Abdominus acts to bring the pelvis closer to the rib cage (e.g. with a leg raise movement).Exercises for building these muscles are: Crunch or Sit Up and Seated Leg Lifts.
- Intercostals: Lie between the side of the rib cage. It comes into play when you flex the torso and twist from side to side. It helps in elevation and depression of the ribs. Exercise to work your intercostal muscles. Exercise to build these muscles is Air Bike or Bicycle Crunches. For the exercise, put your hands beside your head. Be careful however to not strain with the neck as you perform it. Now lift your shoulders into the crunch position. Bring knees up to where they are perpendicular to the floor, with your lower legs parallel to the floor. This will be your starting position. Now simultaneously, slowly go through a cycle pedal motion kicking forward with the right leg and bringing in the knee of the left leg. Bring your right elbow close to your left knee by crunching to the side, as you breathe out. Go back to the initial position as you breathe in. Crunch to the opposite side as you cycle your legs and bring closer your left elbow to your right knee and exhale. Continue alternating in this manner until all of the recommended repetitions for each side have been completed.
- Seratus Anterior Muscle: It is the ridge like muscles which run from the upper 8 or 9 ribs at the front-side of the ribcage – covered by the arms when by the side – and attach to the wing-like bone at the back of the shoulder blades (scapula). Lie between the front abs and lats. They help in pulling of the scapula forward and around like in the motion of throwing a punch. Exercises to build this muscle are Incline shoulder raises and Overhead shoulder raises.
- Transverse Abdominus often referred to as the TVA- is the deepest muscle of the core (meaning it’s underneath all the other muscles). It wraps laterally around the abdominal area. Acts as a natural weight belt, keeping your insides in. This muscle is essential for trunk stability as well as keeping your waist tight. Therefore, activating this muscle enhances you posture and prevents back pain. Studies have found that people who activate their TVA prior to lifting heavy object are less likely to experience back problems. When performing ab workouts, if you exhale when you flex your spine, you will be activating your transverse abdominal muscle along with your rectus abdominus. In addition to your regular ab workout, this simple exercise should be performed 10 times daily. Take a breath in. As you exhale, pull your belly in, as if you were trying to draw your navel to your spine. Hold your belly tight for ten seconds. Eventually, it will enjoy staying that way! One of the best exercise for your transverse is Body Pike. To do this exercise get up on your elbows and toes and hold your body in a straight line for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Keep your butt even with the rest of your body and breathe. This will work your transverse abdominals to draw in your stomach.
|run diagonally on the body, allowing for angled movement. Work to rotate the torso and stabilize the abdomen. Exercises to work these muscles are Side Bends and Oblique Crunches.
- Midsection training should be in the moderate rep range for best growth. No more endless reps of crunches and sit up like you’ve done in the past. Focus on sets in the 8-15 rep range. Harder the better.
- Before and after doing abdominal exercises, it is important to stretch. To stretch your abdominals, lie on the exercise mat face down in push-up position. Push up with your arms, keeping your pelvis on the floor. Next, stand up and do a whole body stretch, clasping your hands above your head and pushing your palms toward the ceiling.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.