Your Ab Muscles: Everything You Need To Know
Your ab muscles are important, both for overall balance and stability, and if you want six pack abs, these are the muscles that you need to target in your workouts.
However, your ab muscles are made up of much more than just the "six pack" bit you see on the front. And in fact, despite what you may have been told, the rectus abdominis
(that's the six pack bit) is actually one sheet of muscle that is attached just under your chest and runs right down to your pubic bone.
Since your abs is actually a single muscle, how well the little segments line up once your body fat is low enough for them to show through is just a matter of genetics. If you're lucky enough to have very symmetrical abs, it's nothing to do with your workout routines. If you don't have perfect six pack abs, don't panic - you're completely normal.
Some people say that you should work the "upper" and "lower" abs separately, and some say that since the abdominis rectus
is a single muscle, you can't. There is similar disagreement over best treatment of the pectoralis major
muscles - some say you should concentrate on "inner" and "outer" pecs, or you should do "upper" and "lower", but they're all wrong. Your pecs like your abs are one single muscle, but that's not to say you can't perform particular exercises to place emphasis and more stress on one end of those muscles. Working muscles from different angles will stimulate different levels of fibers based on joint mechanics and antagonistic muscle groups involved, but don't expect to be able to correct so called "unbalanced" muscles in this way. By doing a workout that hits all of the muscle evenly, you will see the best results.
The other important muscles you need to be aware of are your oblique
muscles. These are the sheet muscles that appear on the sides of your waist, and support your abs during twisting or turning movements. They also provide support to your lower back and general core stability. Don't neglect your oblique muscles when training to get a six pack. They frame your abs making them look more solid, and without strong obliques you may struggle to perform some of the advanced ab muscle exercises. A well rounded and overall workout will give you better, more visible and stronger ab muscles.
A quick word about warming up and cooling down. The great thing about manual exercise for your ab muscles is that generally you don't need to warm up or cool down. If you've got a spare 20 minutes you can find a quiet corner and do some situps, then get straight back to work. If you've worked particularly hard on any muscles, do give yourself a minute or two to catch your breath and regain your composure, and don't workout the same muscles too often. For your abs, once a day for 20-30 minutes is fine.
6 Pack Quest
Vince Delmonte shows you the secrets to sculpting an award winning set of six pack abs, step by step. Start your quest today, and have six pack abs in no time.