The abdominals are the muscles found in the abdomen, which basically serve three functions: they support the upper trunk, allow movement of the upper trunk and keep the internal organs within the abdominal cavity.
This muscle group is involved in many everyday movements and also in different sports disciplines, such as football.
In order to tone the muscles in the area, abdominal exercises should be performed. It is a matter of following a routine of physical activities that work this part of the body. To achieve toning, the fat covering these muscles must first be eliminated, which can be achieved by following a healthy diet and aerobic exercise.
Functions of the abdominals
- As mentioned above, the abs serve a number of functions, which are explained more fully below:
- Help improve body posture
The abdominals that are involved in maintaining proper body posture are several, such as the pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, diaphragm, internal and external obliques, and lumbar squares.The function of these muscles involved is to stabilise the joints found in the spine. This helps to avoid overloading the pelvis and spine, but also to improve the movements of the limbs and torso. It is therefore necessary to work on the abdominals to keep the body straight and improve posture.
- They help to combat flaccidity
Sagging in the abdominal area is caused by the accumulation of fat, which is mainly due to an inappropriate diet full of calories, although it can also come from different metabolic problems or the advance of age.Performing a series of exercises that help to strengthen the abdominals will not burn fat. It is precisely to achieve this goal that aerobic exercise should be performed at least three days a week. However, abdominal exercise will reduce the flab in the area by toning it up. Therefore, it is ideal to combine both exercises for best results.
- They protect the internal organs
The abdominal area has no bony protection, so this task falls to the abs. The main muscles involved are: the obliques, the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis. For this reason it is essential to work them, because the stronger they are, the more protection they give to the internal organs.
- They help to improve breathing
The lungs are not the only muscles involved in breathing, but also many others, including the abdominals, which should be worked to help improve the breathing process.
- Avoid and prevent back and lumbar pains
Back and lumbar pain is one of the most common ailments in the population, which can be caused by overtraining, poor execution of physical exercise, taking on more weight than you can or poor posture, among other reasons.To avoid the appearance of these pains, it is necessary to strengthen the abdominal and lumbar area. If there are no previous problems in the spine, the individual can achieve this goal without any problems by following an exercise routine. On the other hand, when there is already pain in the area, a series of specific exercises will have to be carried out, which will help to soothe the pain and not aggravate it.
- They help to deflate the abdomen
Some people suffer from bloating, which can be caused by overeating, air entering the digestive system, irritable bowel syndrome or gas accumulation.By following a series of good habits, this problem can be avoided, but if the abdominal region is also worked on, the individual can achieve great results, thus eliminating the bloated appearance of the belly.
Types of sit-ups
- Standard crunches
Standard crunches are movements in which only those muscles are worked. To perform them, the individual must lie on their back, bending their knees and resting the soles of their feet on the floor, although they can also stretch out their legs, raise them or rest them on a chair. The hands should be placed behind the head.In this position, push-ups should be performed by pressing with the stomach muscles. The lower back should be resting on the floor.
- Abdominal crunches with rope or band
A band or rope can be used to provide resistance to the contraction of the abdominals. The individual should kneel under a pulley and hold the band with both hands, pulling it down and behind the neck.The individual then bends at the hips, causing the weight to straighten the back. Then lean the body forward in order to contract the abdominal muscles, as well as pulling the elbows outwards. The tension must be maintained at all times, and the hips must remain absolutely still.
This type of abdominal crunch involves the use of weighted discs or dumbbells. The individual must lie on his back on a bench with an inclined slope, trying not to move his feet. The individual then grabs the dumbbells and extends the arms out to the sides, leaning forward to lift the upper torso.
- Stability ball crunches
This type of exercise activates the lower abdominals, as well as providing strength in the torso. You sit on a ball with your feet flat on the floor. They then walk forward so that the ball rolls down their back. The hips and knees should remain bent, and the head and shoulders should hang down.In this position place your hands behind your head and lean forward until you reach your waist. The lower back must remain on the ball at all times.
- Reverse sit-ups
This type of exercise increases the strength of the lower rectus abdominis. The individual has to lie down with the legs and arms outstretched, resting the palms of the hands on the floor.In this position, the legs must be raised so that they are perpendicular to the ceiling. Then you should lower and raise your legs without them touching the floor and keeping them bent. You can also bring your knees up towards your chest while your legs are bent.
- Twisting abdominals
This exercise works on the lateral obliques. To do this, lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor while placing your hands behind your head.In this position, the individual must sit up as if doing a standard sit-up, but turning the torso to the right when he/she reaches the top. Subsequently, he/she will have to lower and repeat the same movement to the left.
Tips on how to perform abdominal exercises correctly
- There are a number of recommendations to be followed in order to carry out abdominal exercises correctly:
- Do not repeat the same exercise several times
If you perform an exercise that works only one part of the body over and over again, you will not get the desired results. For this reason it is necessary to work other parts of the body in addition to the abdominals.First of all, stretching and warm-up exercises have to be performed. Kegel exercises or squats can be done before the abdominal exercises.
- Breathing must be controlled
Muscles need oxygen to function at their best, so do not hold your breath when exercising. Breathe deeply and continuously, avoiding wheezing and gasping. On the other hand, the mind should remain relaxed, avoiding distractions as much as possible. It should be kept in mind that to carry out a good workout, both the body and the mind must be exercised.
- It is necessary to respect rest times
After physical exertion, the muscle needs to rest, as small tears can occur and require a period of time to heal. It is precisely when the abdominals are at rest that they increase in size and are able to repair any tears.
- You need a balanced diet without excess calories
To achieve great results in a short time in the abs, it is necessary to control your diet and know the calories you eat. To do this, you should look at the labels on food packaging, which show the nutritional value of the food.
- A timetable should be established
There are various opinions on how many days to rest and how many days to exercise. Some trainers recommend doing sport five days a week, leaving one day for lighter exercise and the last day for rest if the individual wants immediate results. This hard work will quickly pay off in the form of toned abs.
- If you want long-term, progressive results, trainers advise you to train intensively two days in a row, rest the next day and so on. The important thing is to be consistent and keep exercising your abs.