One of the most problematic areas for extra fat deposits is in your gut. While you may long for an attractive six-pack, you may have a whole keg instead. Ab exercises should be a vital part of your daily exercise regimen.
Your trunk is the center of your body that connects your head, arms, and legs. Powerful muscles in your back, chest, and abdomen help your respiration system and with mobility. The more you know about your abdominal muscles, the better you can understand the benefits of ab exercises.
Gender Differences in Fat Distribution
According to an article published by the Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, men and women deposit fat differently. While women tend to carry more fatty tissue in their hip areas, men seem to concentrate fat in their gut. Overweight men often have the proverbial “beer belly.”
Understanding Your BMI
Your body mass index or BMI is calculated by your weight, and divided by the square of your height, explains an article by the Centers for Disease Control. Your BMI is an indication of how much body fat you’re carrying. The report says that a BMI of 25-29.9 is overweight, and 30 or above is considered obese.
Our weight and BMI includes your entire body index. However, some of your weight may be concentrated in your gut. Although excess fat isn’t right for you, it can be even more hazardous to your health when the majority is abdominal fat. No wonder so many people lack confidence when they carry around extra blubber.
Health Hazards from Belly Fat
Abdominal fat, also called visceral fat, is unsightly, but it carries many health risks. An article published by The Endocrine Society warns that extra abdominal fat can lead to many diseases. The report lists hyperinsulinemia, being intolerant to glucose, type II diabetes, elevated triglycerides, excessive swelling, and inflammation, as well as distorted cytokine proteins.
Knowing Your Ab Muscles
Since many of your vital organs are in your abdomen, your ab muscles give them a thick layer of protection. The only bones in your abdominal cavity are the spinal discs in your back. There is also a thin layer of fat and connective tissues between your abs and your skin for insulation.
Your thorax, or chest cavity, is divided from your abdominal cavity by your diaphragm. This intense muscle raises and lowers as your lungs inhale and exhale. It’s also responsible for giving your coughs and sneezes a boost of air.
According to an article published by Medicine Libretext, your abdomen muscles are divided into four groups. They include the external/internal obliques and the transversus/rectus abdominis. Each performs a specific duty for your body.
The strong muscles on each side of your trunk are called your external obliques. They go from the lower half of your chest and connect to your pelvis. The external obliques are responsible for turning your trunk from side to side and pulling your chest inward to compress your abdominal wall.
Right below your external obliques is your internal obliques, which connect at the bottom of your rib cage and the top of your pelvis. These obliques are closer to your skin. They assist your external obliques by rotating your trunk and help your diaphragm in respiration.
• Transverse Abdominals
When you do ab exercises that strengthen your core, you are working on your transverse abdominals. They are the deepest of your abdominal muscles and are connected within the lower chest, ribs, sides, and down to your pelvis. It wraps around your gut to stabilize your internal organs, helps with breathing, and supports your trunk.
• Rectus Abdominis
Perhaps one of the most well-known abdomen muscles is the rectus abdominis, commonly called the six-pack. This muscle is intertwined with the protective sheath covering your abdomen. The upper part is connected to the chest and ends toward the pelvis.
The lower parts of the rectus abdominis are more prominent and form the six squares in your lower tummy. When you do ab exercises like sit-ups, it cuts the extra fat, so your six-pack is more chiseled.
Ab Exercises to Gain Confidence
Do you want to strengthen your core and get the chiseled ab muscles you want? The best place to begin is to start a regimen of ab exercises. Here are some activities that you can do in your own home.
1. Dragon Flag
• Lie Down on your workout bench. Place your hands behind your head.
• Raise your knees till they reach your chest, and then kick them upwards into the sky. While doing this, you need to raise your core a bit so that the only thing on the bench is your shoulders.
• The goal is to feel a burning sensation in both your lower back and your abdomen area. You will accomplish this as you keep your core and ab area straight as you go up and down like a flag-waving.
2. Superman with a Twist
•Lie Down on your tummy and position your hands on top of your head.
•Elevate your trunk and twist your upper body, rotating from one side to the other.
•This maneuver will focus on your abs, but it can also help reduce horrible back pain.
•Begin by lying flat on the ground, and place your arms behind your head.
•Your feet need to be a bit off the ground so that you feel the burn in your stomach.
•Slowly lift your knees towards your chest area till your rear end lifts from the floor.
•You want to do a crunch in the air by pulling your arms over your head.
4. Barbell Roll Outs
•Pack a barbell with weights of your comfort level and grasp the bar using an overhand grip.
•Place your shoulders precisely over the barbell. Now, gradually roll the bar ahead.
•Stop, then change the move going in the other direction.
•Move the bar till you get to a distance from your body that’s slightly uncomfortable, but It’s important to make sure that you don’t force anything as your hips will sag a bit.
5. Hollow Holds
•Begin by lying on your back with your arms lengthened over your head. Your arms and legs should both be lying flat on the floor.
•Simultaneously, while keeping control, lift your legs, arms, head, and shoulders from the floor. Now, lower your body back down to the ground, and do for 5-10 reps.
6. Cable Woodchopper
*Note: You will need a cable machine to do this maneuver.
•Adjust your machine so that it’s in the highest position possible.
•Put your back to the machine with your side on the weights.
•Grasp the handle and backup about one step. Your feet must remain on the floor about a foot apart.
•Placing your arms in front of you, pull the handle down. You want the weights to come across your body, but you should rotate your midsection while this is occurring.
•Now, slowly bend your knees and rotate your back foot as you return to the starting position. Switch sides and do the other foot.