Get On the Ball for Tight, Toned Abs

You will likely fit into one of two training camps. Either you hate belly work, but you do it because it’s a necessary evil, or you thoroughly enjoy it. In any case, most people want to have better abs. Adding a few more sit ups is usually not the answer for creating those washboard six pack abs or toning your diaphragm. Don’t let excuses like “bad genetics” or “slow metabolism” control your fitness score, as these excuses are usually self-fulfilling prophecies. The solution is relatively simple, but not easy. One of the “secrets” to improving your stomach shape is to increase your metabolism both acutely (for a short time) and chronically (during the day). Typically, your metabolic rate will increase for a few hours after a workout, so maintaining regular workouts is important for your metabolic success.

Cardio for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day goes a long way towards increasing your metabolism both during and after your workout. Cardio uses the stored fat calories as energy sources to eventually expose a flat stomach. However, your long-term success will be improved as your lean body tissue is increased because larger muscles burn more calories than small muscles throughout the day, even if you are just sitting at your computer and working from home. There is no way you need to add 20 pounds of muscle before your resting metabolic rate increases. even a bit more muscle will help, regardless of your age. You should choose abdominal exercises that shorten and tighten the fibers in this area, not exercises that stretch the abdomen excessively. Stability ball crunches are great because they optimize your abdominal contractions while protecting your back.

Muscle shape and function

The rectus abdominis muscle consists of a series of short fibers that are stacked vertically on top of one another. The linea alba is a thin, tendon-like vertical line that creates a groove in the center of the abdominal wall so that the rectus abdominis appears to have left and right halves. There are usually three additional rows of horizontally arranged tendons that run across the rectus abdominis. The fibers of the rectus abdominis are short and run only from one horizontal tendon insertion to the next. When the rectus abdominis is tense, these short fibers arch between the tendon grooves, almost like little ropes or blocks, giving it that six-pack look. Even if you’re not into a six pack, the small blocks of abdominal fiber give your waist a tight and flat look from your rib cage to your pelvis.

When both the right and left halves of the rectus abdominis muscles contract, the trunk bends forward so that the head and chest move closer to the hips and legs (assuming a firm pelvis). This is the general movement of the crisis. Although there is muscle activity in all blocks for most abdominal exercises, the top two rows tend to contract and shorten the most as you crunch. However, crunching on the ball can effectively activate the lower fibers near the pelvis.

You can see the outer oblique muscles dance and tighten when your abdomen is reasonably tight, and especially when you twist in either side. If you haven’t already, crunching the ball will bring you closer to that goal. The outer slope runs from the lower ribs through small bundles of muscle fibers that are angled in the same direction your fingers would point if you put your hands in your pockets. As the outer slope approaches the center of the abdomen, it connects with other muscle fibers to form a flat fan-shaped muscle that attaches to the pelvic bones of the pelvis and hip structure, as well as the linea alba. When both the left and right sides of the external oblique muscles work together, they can flex the trunk and move the head toward the feet. When one side contracts (unilateral contraction), the body turns to that side.

The inner oblique muscle sits straight deep to the outer oblique muscle. It sticks to a thick connective tissue sheath in the lower back, the so-called thoracolumbar fascia, and to the pelvic bone of the hip. Its fibers run around the side of the torso at right angles to the outer oblique muscle, fan out from their origins and run (superiorly) to the head. It adheres to the lowest three or four ribs where it becomes continuous with the internal intercostal muscles (breathing muscles of the chest). Similar to the outer oblique muscle, the inner oblique muscle flexes the torso at the waist and moves the head toward the feet when both the left and right parts contract. It helps twist the torso when it contracts on one side.

Crunch on an exercise ball

This exercise is most effective at contracting the top two rows of the rectus abdominis, but the inner and outer oblique muscles also help flex the trunk.

1. Gently lean back on a Swiss ball. First, lay the ball behind you and hold it with your hands. Bend your knees and lower yourself so your shoulders and back are in the center of the ball. Next, straighten your knees and let the ball roll towards your head a little. Continue until your knees are about 90 degrees and the ball is in your back (lumbar spine). Your shoulders are not touching the ball, but your shoulder blades are touching the ball in the starting position. Make sure your shoes have a good grip surface. Otherwise you run the risk of slipping off the ball.

2. Place your hands so that your fingertips are on either side of your head. It is not a good idea to put your hands behind your head and cross your fingers. This is because when you are tired you can pull your hands up on your head and bend your neck forward forcefully. This can injure your neck. If you put your fingers on the side of your head (the temple area), you cannot use your head as a lever to lift your head and torso off the ball.

3. Straighten your elbows to the side and away from your body (not forward). First take a breath; Then exhale as you bring your head and chest up toward the ceiling. Your shoulders should rise an inch or two during this first phase. You will feel how your lower back presses deeper into the Swiss ball and the upper row of the rectus abdomnis contracts sharply as you ascend. Don’t let the ball roll forward when you get up. And don’t let your hips drop when your chest comes up.

4. In the second phase, try to come up even further so that your shoulder blades (shoulder blades) stand out from the ball. However, remember to curl your shoulders and upper back so your chin moves towards your chest while your torso curls (or crunches) towards your thighs. Hold the crunching position until two.

5. During the third part of the exercise, tilt your pelvis forward and up toward your head as your shoulders move up. Pelvic tilt is critical as it greatly activates the lower blocks of your abdominal muscles. Meanwhile, try to keep your abdominal muscles squeezed while holding the pelvic tilt.

6. Inhale as you slowly control your upper body as it returns to the starting position. The ball will keep your shoulders and head from resting between reps, so you will maintain tension throughout the exercise and between reps. This significantly increases the effectiveness and intensity of the exercise.

Important tips

Getting in and out of the car can be difficult or uncomfortable if you’ve previously injured your lower back. Check with your sports doctor before doing this or any other ab exercise. However, this is considered an excellent exercise even for someone with a weak back, as it will not put your lower back at risk if done correctly. Plus, the ball supports your lower back throughout the exercise, while regular sit-ups and leg raises even put a healthy back at risk. In addition, strengthening the abdominal muscles reduces the risk of other back injuries.

Do not hold your breath while crunching on the stability ball, as this will increase intra-abdominal pressure and prevent the abdominal fibers from shortening as much (although it may feel easier to crunch if you hold your breath). It is good to either exhale as you grind forward, or better yet, to exhale before doing the contraction. Then focus on getting maximum fiber shortening during the exercise.

It would be impossible to achieve fitness, aesthetic, or exercise goals and toning abs if your diet is mostly high in fats and calories. Even if your diet is pretty good, you may need to add cardio to meet your exercise goals. As your body weight drops, the crunching becomes easier because you will have to lift less each time you get off the ball. Hence, you’ll need to add a few more repetitions to continue. You can also add a slight twist to the right as you lift your shoulder blades off the ball, followed by a slight twist to the left on the next rep. The twists increase the activation of the oblique muscles and thus tighten the “love grip” area of ​​your waist.

Nothing of value or endurance is likely to come easily, and this certainly applies to the abdominal muscles. As a result, you need to carefully set high standards and realistic goals for your diet and exercise program, and set firm deadlines for success. Then you must resolutely pursue your dream; Don’t let anything stop you from achieving these goals. Perhaps not all abdominal exercises are fun, but this exercise is not strenuous, but effective and intense.

References:

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Moore KL and Daley AF. Cinematic anatomy. Lippincott Williams & Williams, Baltimore, Jan.th Edition S. 1999. 178-187.

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Stich V., Marion-Latard F. et al. Hypocaloric nutrition reduces exercise-induced alpha2-adrenergic antilipolytic effects and alpha2-adrenergic receptor mRNA levels in adipose tissue in obese women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 87: 1274- 1281, 2002.

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