Abdominal Muscles: Why Having Strong Abs Is Structurally Important


abdominal muscles

Isolating the Abdominal Muscles?

As I’ve written in many blogs and essays on my site, there is a lot of folklore and fitness mythology floating around the locker rooms of countless gyms, as well as shooting through cyberspace. Especially on the abdominal muscles. As a personal trainer in Austin, TX for over 20 years, I’ve gotten a lot of questions in gyms, as well as via e mail. I always welcome them and encourage people to send in their questions. In this blog, I will answer the question that Mike Wallace sent in regarding the abdominal muscles. He asks, “if the abs are different muscles from the core, how do you exercise them individually in order to achieve a 6 pack”?

6 pack abs are a long sought after measurement of fitness, as well as bragging rights to those who possess them. They aren’t by any means easy to achieve, as a lot of sacrifice and continuous hard work goes into getting them. Furthermore, like I wrote in my spot reduction blog a while back, you can’t just exercise a muscle group for a while and expect those muscles to pop out like a bodybuilder’s would. You have to have a low enough level of body fat that would make the muscles visible. Otherwise, they’re simply cloaked by layers of fat and invisible, no matter how strong, or functionally efficient they may be.

What are the abdominal muscles, where are they, and what function do they serve? The abdominal muscles, or abs, for short, are a bilateral muscle located at the anterior section of the body, and they connect the pelvis to the sternum. Their function is to allow us to bend for and aft, as well as side to side. Functionally speaking, strong abdominals, combined with loose hip flexors, and gluteals, will position the erector spinae muscle ideally so we have an ideal pelvic placement. This results in minimal to no low back fatigue as well as great stability throughout the abdominal region. Aside from having bragging rights for well developed abs, in the real world, you will have a much easier time doing day to day things. Standing for prolonged periods, mowing the lawn, vacuuming, etc, are tough on those who have weak abdominal muscles as their low back hurts sooner rather than later.

Within the realm of bodybuilding, a clearly defined abdominal region is mandatory to to demonstrate maximum aesthetic results. Outside of that, it’s hardly necessary, but many people strive for it. How do you get a 6 pack? If you want to have a 6 pack, as opposed to looking like you just drank one, it’s a long and arduous journey. There is the seemingly endless abdominal workouts, the very strict dieting, and of course, the driving determination in place that’s required for any hard to reach fitness goal.

There are countless exercises one can do for the abdominal muscles. Everything from crunches, to planks, and so on. In direct answer to Mr. Wallace’s question, you can’t differentiate the 2 very easily when working out. The only way to do so would be to make sure that when you are doing what feels like abdominal region exercises, be sure that there is nothing stabilizing you, other than your core. For example, if you’re doing leg raises, don’t lean against the seat back cushion which offers you stability. Inch your way out a bit and stabilize your body with your core, as opposed to an apparatus. Is it possible to do core exercises without engaging the abdominal muscles? No, it’s simply not. Structurally, posturally, and functionally, however, you would ideally have both sets of muscles equally and well developed. That way, your have full structural soundness and when you do your everyday tasks such as getting out of bed for the day, the laundry, cutting the grass, and so on, you are pain free and can breeze right through it. Whether you choose to show it off or not is up to you.

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Andy
My name is Andy Bruchey and I founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition and sports specific training.
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Abdominal Muscles: Why Having Strong Abs Is Structurally Important
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Abdominal Muscles: Why Having Strong Abs Is Structurally Important
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Abdominal muscles are much more than having a 6 pack. Longtime Austin personal trainer Andy Bruchey explains how they effect our pelvis, lumbar region, and so much more.
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Andy Bruchey- Complete Fitness Design
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About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270