Hard Abs – Do you have what it takes?

Your whole body will look good if your abs look good. It is one thing to have a big chest or big arms. If you have abs as hard as rocks is another.

You must know what turns heads like crazy: a defined set of abs. And you know that women just love them.

Did you know that you abs or the Rectus Abdominis is just one big muscle? From the top of your pelvis, it stretches up to your ribcage. Those sexy six-packs are just sections of this one muscle.

About Ab Myths

The myths about training the “upper ab” or “lower ab” are nonsense. The action of any muscle is to contract. And just as you can’t contract half your bicep or quad, you cannot contract half your abs as well. The simple fact is that if you can’t see your lower abs, they are just covered with fat. You do not need to work your abs harder: you actually need to lose weight!

So you can say goodbye to straight-leg raises, hanging knee-raises, and any other type of leg raises for building your abs. They won’t work. The primary function of your abdomen is to stabilize your body. When you raise your leg, your hip flexors pull on your spine and arch it forward/downward. Your abs stabilize this action by resisting and essentially keeping your back from breaking. You should note that this is the static action of the abdomen and it does not build or strengthen. These exercises only feel like they are effectively working your abs because of the repeated strain and exhaustion of your muscle that produces catabolic, lactic acid build up.

What Really Works

Contraction is the only thing that strenghtens muscle in your body. For abs it is all about decreasing the distance between your rib cage and your pelvis. That means that sit-ups will actually help. But you should keep some other things in mind.

First you should know that your abs are fully contracted when your shoulders are about 5 to 6 inches off the ground. Touching your elbows to your knees is no use. Crunches are the way to go.

Secondly you should not wedge your feet under something to help you get up. If you are doing the crunches properly, you will not need this. Your legs should be at 90 degrees to each other and your knees at 45 degrees to your waist. Use something to press your heels back against to stabilize yourself if you need to. Now you will use your hamstrings instead of your hip flexors which will keep the focus on your abdomen.

Lastly you should keep your hands lightly held against the side of your head or crossed on your chest. There is no need to clasp them together behind your head or neck. Otherwise you will be tempted to pull with your hands to get the last few reps out. This will put unnecessary strain on this fragile part of the spine.



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