Developing Abdominal Muscles – Myths About Spot Reducing

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The abdominal muscles are composed of the rectus abdominus that runs vertical in the front of your body, the deep transverse oblique muscles, and the internal and external oblique muscles located on the right and left side. Your abdominal muscles are almost always being used for posture, when you sit, walk or move. There are a variety of exercises you can do for them, from crunches to more advanced moves. Here are some exercises that can be performed while lying down.

Abdominal Exercise #1
Lie down on your back. Keep your lower back touching the floor at all times. This is a large part of your workout for your lower abdominal muscles. Lift your legs about four inches from the floor. Bring up one leg at a time so that your knee is right above your waist. You can touch your knees or not. Alternate legs. Do five sets of ten repetitions. This works primarily the lower rectus abdominus muscle.

Abdominal Exercise #2
Lie on top of a Swiss ball and put the palms of your hands on the floor. Do not lock your elbows. Move forward so that your thighs are over the Swiss ball. Move the Swiss ball toward and away from your waist with your thighs. Keep your body and Swiss ball as steady as possible. Do five sets of ten repetitions.

Below are some other abdominal exercises you perform using a mat. These are very common in Pilates mat classes.

Abdominal Exercise #1
Lie down on a mat, with your belly on the mat. Have your arms straight in front of you. Do not lock your elbows. Have your legs extended and do not lock your knees. Lift your arms and legs simultaneously about four inches from the floor, or as high as you can while keeping your belly on the floor. Inhale when you bring your arms and legs up and exhale when you return them to the starting position. Do five sets of ten repetitions. Rest five seconds between sets.

Abdominal Exercise #2
Repeat exercise #1. This time, lift alternate arms and legs: right arm and left leg, and left arm and right leg. Do five sets of ten repetitions. Rest five seconds between sets.

Abdominal Exercise #3
Lift your knees up at about 90 degrees with your hands positioned behind your head. Keep your neck aligned with your spine and the tip of your head facing forward. Slowly lift your head and torso up while crunching your abdominal muscles. Exhale out as you crunch up and inhale as you return to the starting position. Keep the rest of your body still while you perform these ab crunches. Do 5 sets of 10 repetitions. Rest for 60 seconds in between sets.

The Myth of Spot Reducing
It’s important to remember that you actually cannot spot reduce! This is a myth! When I first started working out, I was a complete novice and I wanted to lose fat from certain areas of my body. I would train my abs for hours a day and never got results since my diet was terrible. Finally, after about a week, a personal trainer came up to me and told me about the myth of spot reducing and how I needed to clean up my diet and add cardio in order to lose body fat from all over my physique in order to get those 6-pack abs I wanted so badly.

Genetics plays a big role when it comes to the location where you primary store body fat. Some people can look at an abdominal machine and start chiseling their stomach very quickly, while others will need to extremely hard just to reduce just a fraction of adipose tissue from their midsection. It all depends on your own genes and how your body reacts to exercise.

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About Author

Louiza Patsis

Louiza Patsis is certified as a personal trainer by the International Sports Sciences Association. She is the author of a book about mind-body connection, accepting your body, balance and endurance, flexibility and strength, stretching, and exercise programs. See my profile page for more information!

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