Exercising the abs to get a flat stomach is good provided you follow the right method! You will understand why as you read the following advice.
This article will give you all the information on abs, how to exercise them and what equipment to use.
1. What Are Abs For?
Before thinking about the aesthetics of the abs, let's look at them from a medical point of view.
The abdominal muscles (the rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique and transverse abdominal muscles) play a crucial role in balancing the pelvis, posture and spine.
They are also used in all your daily actions for performing movements such as rotating the body and leaning over.
As you will have realised, these muscles are totally essential!
2. How To Get Clearly Defined Abs Quickly?
In order to recover a flat and firm belly, some are ready for anything... Some persist in completing endless sets of ab exercises, thinking that this is the only solution to achieving the celebrated six-pack. Yet they would be mistaken... to have visible abs, you need to respect the following basic rules, above all.
WORKING ON YOUR POSTURE
To have a beautiful, toned and well-defined figure, it is advisable to maintain a certain balance in the way you do your abdominal belt training. As with conventional muscle strengthening exercises, you need to:
- Vary the exercises (materials, variants, etc.)
- Respect the recovery times
- Change the layout of the session (work at a position, circuit training, etc.)
- Step up a level in order to make progress, i.e. increase the workout time of the exercises or change equipment
To avoid back problems, (lower back pain, lumbago, herniated disc, etc.), the centre of the body must be toned and balanced. Make sure you also work on the "strength" of the anterior muscle chain (abs) and lateral muscle chain (obliques), and a little more on the lower back region (quadratus lumborum muscle, spinal muscles, etc.)
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
To make the abs visible, they must have a certain bulk and tone. But that's not all, you must also be quite lean to have a flat stomach (less than 10% of fat for men and less than 16% for women).
To do this, keep the following two things in mind:
- A balanced diet in the long term (good eating habits)
- Regular cardiovascular exercises (at least twice a week). Nothing beats exercising on an exercise bike or treadmill to maintain your fitness, improve your cardiovascular health, develop your breathing and burn calories.
3. How To Exercise The Abs
To make the abs visible, you need to work on different areas of expertise (stability and instability exercises) and levels of difficulty. To improve, you need to increase the duration of the sets or your workload, after which you will go to the next level.
- Basic level: floor ab exercises (sit-ups, plank, etc.)
- Superior level with instability: ab exercises with instability using a gym ball, a DST, an Abdo Gain or a Gain Trainer.
- Superior level with stability: ab exercise using the pull-down workstation, chin-ups
4. Of What Weight Training Equipment Do You Need For The Abs?
To start abdominal exercises including dynamic exercises (sit-ups), you can use roller-type devices that guide the movement of the body and help you to be properly positioned during the exercise. They often consist of a foam head rest to relieve the user's neck. The device is placed on the ground and the feet are not blocked. The movement is started by moving the arms to help you raise the upper body. For example, choose the AB 110 for a beginner level. For more regular use, opt for the AB 220 or the AB 350.
INTERMEDIATE OR EXPERIENCED LEVEL
To increase the range of motion of the basic exercises in order to perform more in-depth exercises on the abdominal belt, experienced sportsmen and women can use an abdominal bench. With this equipment, the movement is done by raising the upper body. The feet are held in place by foam pads to provide stability and safety during the exercise. It is possible to adjust the exercise angle (height of the foam tubes and incline of the feet) in order to increase the level of effort.
Other training tools can be used to strengthen the abs in depth by working on your proprioception. Examples of this include the Gym Ball, Domyos Strap Training, Abdo Gain and Gain Trainer. These very effective fitness accessories generate instability that forces the athlete to engage the stabiliser muscles in addition to the muscles which are being specifically targeted. They are used for in-depth exercises and tense a series of muscles:
- Directly targeted muscle(s) (e.g. pecs, triceps, etc.)
- The abdominal belt that is specifically needed to maintain a static position and ensure good core strength. You contract the abs at all times to maintain balance and protect your back.
- The postural muscles, which are used in supporting and protecting the spine (prevertebral, rhomboid, scapular, posterior deltoids, etc.)
You will have realised that, in order to get rock solid abs, it is not just a matter of doing lots of sets of exercises. A healthy lifestyle and the balanced exercising of the abdominal belt and lower back is the way to recover a flat belly and well-defined abs.