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Core Perfection

Updated on February 18, 2016

The Core

When you think of your core and abs, do you see them as the center point of your body structuring your top to your bottom? Your core and abs are more then just a set of "6-pack" abs that look great slathered in lotion and baking under the summer sun. They are a complex group of muscles consisting of the deep skeletal muscles thru the obliques and quadratus lumborm to the external spinal flexors. Together they work to keep your body balanced and stabilized. It is very important to focus on the strength and stability of your core, rather than the physical appearance. No point in having 6-pack abs if your lower back is cramped and pain-filled, generally making your everyday life terrible.

Get to Know Your Muscles

  • Pelvic floor muscles; these are the muscles that support your bladder, bowel, and uterus if a woman
  • Transversus abdominis; aka the TVA, they are the deepest and innermost layer of all the abdominal muscles
  • Multifidus; contain a number of fleshy and tendinous fasciculi
  • Internal Obliques; they lie just below the external obliques
  • External Obliques; is the most superficial of the three flat abdominal muscles
  • Rectus Abdominis; aka the "abs" is a pair of long flat muscles at the front of the abdomin
  • Erector Spinae (sacrospinalis) especially the longissimus thoracis, and the diaphragm. Minor core muscles include:
  • Latissimus Dorsi; name means broadest muscle of the back
  • Gluteus Maximus; largest of the three muscles of the buttocks
  • Trapezius; pair of large triangular muscles extending over the back or the neck and shoulders

Abdominal Muscles Anatomy

Source

Abs Workout Plan

This is a sample workout plan that will strengthen and tone the core.
This is a sample workout plan that will strengthen and tone the core.

Illustrations

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The most basic of abdominal exercises. Focus on breathing while you perform each crunch.Place you back flat against your mat, slowly and controlled bring your legs straight up, lower back down to complete one rep. A bit more challenging of a crunch. Here you'll bend and keep your legs parallel to the floor, lifting from your hips to bring your knees to your chestThis one is a lot more challenging. Lying back on your elbows rise up to meet your knees, control your body back down to complete one rep.Using a bench, lying on your stomach with your legs hanging off, control the switching of legs.This is a laying alternative to the above flutter kicks.Also on the more challenging side. Start completely flat with arms above the head, pulling your core into your center, act to bring your fingers to your toes. Gently lay back down.This requires weights, dumbbells or plates. Focus on the action of bending and straightening back up. Don't use your arms and shoulders to lift the weight.Requires a rack. Holding the weight of your upper body on your forearms bring your legs up from the waist. Straight leg, tight bent knee, or lose bent knee.
The most basic of abdominal exercises. Focus on breathing while you perform each crunch.
The most basic of abdominal exercises. Focus on breathing while you perform each crunch. | Source
Place you back flat against your mat, slowly and controlled bring your legs straight up, lower back down to complete one rep.
Place you back flat against your mat, slowly and controlled bring your legs straight up, lower back down to complete one rep.
A bit more challenging of a crunch. Here you'll bend and keep your legs parallel to the floor, lifting from your hips to bring your knees to your chest
A bit more challenging of a crunch. Here you'll bend and keep your legs parallel to the floor, lifting from your hips to bring your knees to your chest
This one is a lot more challenging. Lying back on your elbows rise up to meet your knees, control your body back down to complete one rep.
This one is a lot more challenging. Lying back on your elbows rise up to meet your knees, control your body back down to complete one rep.
Using a bench, lying on your stomach with your legs hanging off, control the switching of legs.
Using a bench, lying on your stomach with your legs hanging off, control the switching of legs. | Source
This is a laying alternative to the above flutter kicks.
This is a laying alternative to the above flutter kicks.
Also on the more challenging side. Start completely flat with arms above the head, pulling your core into your center, act to bring your fingers to your toes. Gently lay back down.
Also on the more challenging side. Start completely flat with arms above the head, pulling your core into your center, act to bring your fingers to your toes. Gently lay back down.
This requires weights, dumbbells or plates. Focus on the action of bending and straightening back up. Don't use your arms and shoulders to lift the weight.
This requires weights, dumbbells or plates. Focus on the action of bending and straightening back up. Don't use your arms and shoulders to lift the weight.
Requires a rack. Holding the weight of your upper body on your forearms bring your legs up from the waist. Straight leg, tight bent knee, or lose bent knee.
Requires a rack. Holding the weight of your upper body on your forearms bring your legs up from the waist. Straight leg, tight bent knee, or lose bent knee.

Put it all Together

To effectively work your core you will want to complete a series of target specific exercises.

  • Focusing on the internal and external obliques as well as the transversus abdominus will pull in your waist line, for women giving the hour glass effect, while for men the structured and stacked abs effect.
  • Targeting the rectus abdominal, located right underneath the breast will lengthen the torso

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