Strengthening the abdominal muscles is perhaps one of the most popular sport exercises that helps to tighten the stomach and make the physical figure slimmer. Despite the simplicity of the training process, it is important to do abdominal crunches correctly in order to avoid injuries or harm to the health.
Features of the anatomy
To understand which exercises on the abdominal muscles are harmful and which are effective, it is important to first get acquainted with the features of the muscular structure of the abdomen. It contains 4 muscle groups:
- Transverse muscle of abdomen. It is located inside and this provides support for internal organs;
- Abdominal internal oblique muscles. They have a diagonal arrangement extending from their depth to the single bones;
- Abdominal external oblique muscles. They are located on top of the internal oblique muscles and performs the function of bending and turning the body;
- Abdominal rectus muscle. This is this muscle that when strengthened, subsequently turns the stomach into a “six pack”, which provides the support structure with the possibility of tilting it forward.
There are a wide variety of exercises for the abdominal muscles, which vary in different ways of involving muscle tissues within the work load. At the same time, the concepts of the “upper” and “lower” abdomen does not exist, as the entire rectus muscles are stimulated during training. It is impossible to isolate and make its individual parts work.
The press is a stabilizer muscle that can be easily developed, while maintaining a stationary state. The main task is to maintain the stability of the bone joints of the pelvis, spine and thighs. Regular, the strengthening of the abdomen allows you to maintain a straight posture and a healthy spine. At the same time, it is important to remember about keeping a straight back and this is mainly applied also within the process of working at the computer:
- Eliminate leaning forward and throwing your legs one on top of the other;
- Keep the shoulders in a slightly lowered and retracted position.
One of the most striking examples of harmful exercises for the health of the press is the lifting of straight legs with a fixed body (in a lying position or in a hanging position). This has a negative effect on the spine and can cause unnecessary injury.
In the process of performing such exercises, the intervertebral discs experience a heavy load, which increases when the heel is detached from a flat surface. If the load occurs in a regular mode, the probability of micro-injuries in normal disks increases, which is fraught with their degenerative changes with the subsequent occurrence and increase of herniated discs. It is also possible to develop Osteochondrosis.
Another potentially “dangerous” occurrence for the lumbar part of the spine is an exercise called a “folding knife”, when the legs and body are simultaneously lifted from the floor surface. During the implementation of this, only the abdominal muscles experience tension, but the lumbar tissues are in a completely relaxed state and as a result of which, the entire load falls on the vertebral ligaments, which eventually begin with painful sensations before an injury occurs.
Do abdominal crunches correctly
To avoid unpleasant health consequences, it is important to do abdominal crunches correctly:
- It is necessary to completely exclude exercises involving the separation of the lower back from the surface or its support in a rigid flatness.
- When performing twists in the lying position, it is necessary to avoid lifting the lower back from the floor at all times.
In order to achieve the maximum load on the rectus muscle, it is necessary to perform a number of exercises that should be characterized by priority and exclude rest, for example:
1. Lifting the legs in a hanging position
In this case, the necessary equipment is a crossbar. Strengthening the muscle structures of the abdomen by lifting the legs in a hanging position on the crossbar is considered a basic exercise. It is important to remember that there is no lumbar support on a hard surface.
2. Side bridge
To perform this exercise, you must:
- Lie on your side, strain the muscle tissues of the abdomen and back, then gently lift the pelvis off the floor until it reaches the level with the legs;
- Place the forearm on the floor directly opposite the shoulder;
- Lock in this position for at least 15 seconds. If possible, it is desirable to hold out longer. The recommended time is about one minute;
- After the specified time, the listed “steps” should be performed on the other side;
- Try to keep the body in a perfectly straight position. To do this, you should strain the abdominal muscles and the buttock or “glute” muscles.
3. Plank with an outstretched arm
It is an emphasis on the forearms in a reclining position. The features of the exercise are as follows:
- The legs are joined together or shoulder-width apart. It is important to take into account the wider the position of the legs, this will make the training process easier;
- The right hand is raised forward in a diagonal direction and to the right by 45 degrees;
- This position is fixed for a couple of seconds, after which the initial position is taken again.
Perform similar actions with the left hand. Important condition: after taking the starting position, the forearms should be positioned exactly perpendicular to the shoulders. In this case, the elbows should be placed directly under the shoulder joints. You can find out more in the article how to perform a plank correctly.
4. Swiss-ball crunch
Starting position is lying on the Swiss-ball:
- Hands are joined behind the back of the head;
- The legs are located shoulder-width apart;
- The body and hips are in exact parallel to the floor
After taking the correct starting position, the usual body crunches are performed for 15 repetitions and this is enough within one time. In the absence of strength or the correct method of training, it is permissible to perform a smaller number of repetitions.
Now that you know the Do and Do Nots within the training process of the abdomen, you can safely train this vital group of muscles without having the risk of injury or performing these techniques incorrectly. Gaining the well-known “six pack” will not be far away once you have adopted and leaned to perform these techniques correctly.
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