The following exercise is an abdominal exercise that we gave as a response to one of the questions of our readers.
First, let’s clear up something.
The muscles in the central area of the body are very important if we want greater stability of the body, strength and support for the rest of the body parts. All abdominal muscles are in the core of the body, which contains several other muscles. Here we’ll stick to the abs.
There are four ab muscles arranged in three layers.
Front (rectus abdominis), outer-lateral (external obliques), inner-lateral (internal obliques) and inner (transversus abdominis). The abdominal muscles are not only the front abdominal muscle, the one most frequently exercised. Even when people say “upper” and “lower” abs, these are only part of the front abdominal muscle, i.e. the upper layer (rectus abdominis).
Frontal abdominal muscle: RECTUS ABDOMINIS (rectus = straight)
Then, the outer-lateral abdominal muscles, called external obliques are positioned on the left and right side of the front abdominal muscle.
And the inner-lateral abdominal muscles, called internal obliques are positioned under the external obliques.
The most neglected abdominal muscle is the innermost muscle, positioned in the deepest abdominal layer. It is positioned under the internal obliques and the front abdominal muscle.
Inner abdominal muscle – TRANSVERSUS ABDOMINIS (called “transverse” because its muscle fibers are running transversely, meaning across to the vertical middle of the abdomen, i.e. are positioned horizontally)
Its strengthening helps prevent pain and injuries on the lower back. It’s a natural “belt”!
One of its functions is to stabilize the lower back and the pelvis before performing any movement with the arms or legs. If the following exercise is put into practice, you can achieve greater protection of injuries on the spine caused from lifting and you’ll get a greater stability of the torso (the middle part of the body).
Another important function is that with this exercise you can tighten your abs inwards, especially if they are distended (stretched outward), due to bloating or other reasons. This allows the abdomen to flatten and your abs to appear more detailed.
However, this is only one of the factors for flat belly and visible abdominal muscles.
This muscle is not exercised with conventional abs exercises. You exercise it by doing abdominal vacuums, i.e. by pulling the abdomen back.
The exercise for the inner abdominal muscle – abdominal vacuums
The exercise is performed by pulling the abdomen inwards. Your effort should be as if you were trying to touch your spine with the belly button. You are sitting down or standing up and squeeze your abdomen as far back as possible. Squeeze back and relax 10 times (warm up). Then hold back for 5 seconds and relax. Do this for 3-4 minutes in total for the first couple of days.
Then hold for 8-10 seconds. Do it for 5 minutes, three times daily. After 3-4 days, go to 20 seconds, 6-7 minutes each time, three times a day. After this the duration of the hold-back should increase, and while holding your breathing should be regular.
This exercise is don on an empty stomach (at least 3 hours after a meal) If you do this vacuum exercise without following the advice laid out here you might get uncomfortable aches in the abdominal area.
We hope now that this won’t be the most unknown exercise for abs.