What is an “ab”??

September 28th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

One important and rarely mentioned aspects of physical fitness is body awareness.  I think those of us with type one or type two diabetes have a leg up in this arena because we have a heightened awareness of what happens inside our bodies.

I’ve used that heightened awareness to my advantage when it comes to physical fitness.  (Any kind of advantage counts in my world.)

You can move through any exercise you perform without a moment of thought—just do what you’re told to do or climb onto the machine and go.  But when you involve your brain and some basic knowledge of anatomy, you can use it to benefit the time you spend exercising

You put more thought in, you get more results out.

This is true about any exercise, but today let’s talk briefly about abdominal muscles.  I mean, when was the last time you asked yourself what “abs” are, anyway?!

The simple answer is that “abs” is short for “abdominals” and generally refers to the group of muscles that I simply (and entirely unprofessionally) think exist to keep your insides from falling out. 

When it comes to abdominal exercises, it’s good to understand what muscles are involved so that you can think about the move and stimulate more muscle recruitment

Just like any muscle, it is impossible to target just one area of the mass.  (Try using only your upper bicep muscle…) but you can do certain moves that recruit areas a bit more than other areas.  For example, a crunch when correctly performed stimulates the upper areas of the rectus abdominis than it does the lower areas.  Likewise, a crunch with your hips simultaneously lifting off the ground will stimulate and fatigue the lower areas of the rectus abdominis more than it will the upper areas. 

Try to feel the differences in your abdominals next time you are doing an ab workout.  Think of your anatomy and visualize the differences when performing a regular crunch and when you crunch straight up with your knees to one side (which will recruit more obliques than a regular crunch).

It is generally simple stuff, but the more work you can do to understand what is physically going on inside your body, the better results you will see from the outside.

Go to it!

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