Training the abdominal muscles is essential to achieve a flat stomach and a firm core that provides you with the stability of movements you need. Discover the keys to correctly exercise the abdomen avoiding mistakes that reduce the effectiveness of your effort.
Upper, lower, oblique, transverse. They are the main abdominal muscles and play a fundamental role in protecting our spine and achieving a firm trunk and correct posture.
Exercising the abdomen is not only a matter of achieving an enviable six-pack, but also a way to gain strength and power throughout our body. Starting to do sit-ups requires a certain technique of execution to avoid any type of injury that can especially affect the back and, specifically, the lumbar area. Before deciding which exercises to include in your routine, take a look at the basic guidelines for an abdominal session. Take note!
How to work your abs correctly
They are not easy to train. The abs cost theirs and trying to eliminate abdominal fat is usually a priority objective to achieve a lean body and optimal physical shape. If you are willing to work hard, remember that you must start small, increasing your effort progressively and taking into account the following essential keys to train your abs:
1. The posture of the back
Keeping your back from arching when doing sit-ups is essential to avoid damaging your lower back. When doing floor exercises, for example leg raises, remember that you must support the base of your back well. In addition, in movements that involve raising and “pulling” the trunk, this lower area must remain straight or slightly rounded, never forming a small convex arch that could cause a lumbar injury.
2. Do not tense the neck or the nape
It is a beginner’s failure. Exercising the abdomen without injuring the cervical implies precisely that your effort is focused on the muscles in this area and not on your neck. If you place your hands behind your head to perform a lift, keep your elbows wide open and not “squeezing” and pulling. You would damage your cervical and in addition, the exercise would give little results.
3. Varied routine
If training the abs seems boring, it is because you are not introducing exercises with which to work all the muscles in the area. It is important to do this to achieve a harmonious development and also so that you’re training is not limited to the external abs. If you really want a core that supports it all, you will have to also train the deep abdominals (rectus abdominals, internal oblique’s, transverse…). Combine dynamic exercises with other isometrics, such as the plank, to have a routine as complete as it is effective.
4. Breathe properly
Inhaling and exhaling at the right time is an essential guideline in an abdominal workout. If you don’t learn to breathe properly to do sit-ups, your muscles won’t have enough oxygen to carry out the effort you are asking of them. Practice breathing until, in a natural way, you breathe in before the effort and expel the air at the moment of maximum muscular tension.
5. Stretch at the end of the session
Some stretches appropriate should be part of your abdominal routine. Spending a few minutes practicing them is a guarantee that the muscles, which have worked intensely, will recover correctly and that you will be able to perform a new session without the stiffness causing damage.
6. Don’t use arms or legs
Pushing yourself with your arms or legs when doing a sit-up is another very common failure that reduces effectiveness. Before doing sit-ups, take a few seconds to check which parts of the correct starting position and that neither your arms nor your legs will be able to provide you with extra momentum during the exercise. If it costs you, you can start doing sit-ups on the bench (your roller will serve to hold your feet).
7. Get enough rest
Finally, one of the basic keys to abdominal training is to respect the rest times your muscles need after exercising them with intensity. Don’t fall for overtraining. Two abs sessions a week are more than enough to get a firm, powerful core that you can show off.