If you’re looking to achieve the abs you see on the cover of magazines that are shapely, lean and strong, then you need to incorporate much more than sit-ups or crunches in your next workout. Starting with building a strong core is the foundation to effectively working and defining any abdominal muscle. As you strengthen the core, your abdominal workout will not only improve but so will many other areas of your training.
Where is your core?
Basically your core is your entire torso all apart from head, arms and legs. I always so from the top of your xhpoidto past your hip flexors, the Major muscles included are the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae (sacrospinalis) especially the longissimus thoracis, and the diaphragm. Minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius. Many of the muscles are hidden beneath the exterior musculature people typically train. Some of the most important deeper muscles include the transverse abdominals, multifidus, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and many other deeper muscles. Sadly people do it wrong because the actually fail to activate these muscles, as they cannot feel these muscles working as in when you are doing bicep curl, you can see it flexing.
Starting with a few of the basic core exercises below then add some isolated Pelvic Floor/abdominal activations using a neutral spine to avoid the stronger back muscles that always take over. Then lastly adding in a couple of multi-function ab exercises is key to sculpting the abs. Because your core acts as a main stabilizer and center of force transfer you should include additional functional movements such as Torso push-ups,
Overhead Lunges, Squats and Deadlifts.
Torso Push ups
Proper start position is assumed and maintained (hands may not slide down lower)The chest stomach hips and legs leave the ground at the same time. Spinal alignment is maintained with the body moving as a single unit. Use a mirror as a great tool to look for neutral alignments.
Dynamic Core tests
The plank and side plank really evaluate static core strength, while the bird dog and knees to chest help evaluate dynamic core strength. Finally the deadlift strength evaluation puts a higher demand on the posterior core stability to handle larger loads.
Start with a plank on your elbows/knees for as long as you can, start with 15 seconds progressing to 90 seconds. If you make 60 seconds plus you can then move on to level two, plank elbows and toes. A nice table top posture must be maintained, no pyramids here, with a flat back and level hips. Hands should be in front of shoulders, elbows are stacked directly under the shoulders, don’t forget to breathe.
Use the same set for a side Plank, start with 15 seconds, then progress to 90 seconds, our elbow must be located directly under the shoulder and feet stacked on top of each other, while maintaining straight spinal alignment horizontally and vertically.
Dynamic Tests -Bird Dog, Leg drops
On all fours, tighten your abdominal muscles, look for any drooping of the core area, fix by keeping your spine and neck in a neutral position; you should be looking at the floor. Fingers spread wide and hands stacked directly under shoulders, Slowly extend your left leg behind you while reaching your right arm forward. Try to keep your hips square and make sure your lower back doesn’t arch.Hold for 3-5 seconds. Slowly return to the starting position and do the move on the opposite side. Complete 5 to 10 repetitions on each side.
Lie on your back on an exercise mat (or soft ground). If you are a complete beginners and or have back or posture issue start with making a small heart shape with your hands and placing under your lower back, your tailbone will fall directly in the center of your hands, This will help to prevent using your back for momentum, raise your legs to as far as you can keep them straight, Keep the rest of your body steady. Then slowly lower your legs back to the starting position (don't let them touch the floor). Repeat until you complete your reps.again start with 5-10 reps,
*don’t forget to use your breath with each abdominal exercise, slower the better at engaging the right muscles.