How to Strengthen Your Abs: Five Approaches

How to strengthen your abs.

INTRODUCTION

In this post, I talk about how to strengthen your abs and why it’s important.

The core of our bodies is made up of the muscles of our midsection, front, back, and sides. They include our abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis.

The core muscles, especially the abdominal muscles, play very important roles in the performance of both our daily and any athletic activities. In other words, they’re not just pretty and for show-off. Although that’s fun, too, isn’t it!

Before running right out to start an aggressive abdominal workout program, please talk to your doctor to make sure you have no condition that could or should prevent or limit you from abdominal workouts. Umbilical hernias are one example. I have an umbilical hernia and speak from experience.

You can find abdominal exercises online that work for certain conditions. Personally, I have chosen to do light abdominal work under my trainer’s guidance, and all is well so far! But do talk with your doctor before you start.

IMPORTANCE OF ABDOMINAL & CORE WORKOUTS

The Mayo Clinic explains that strong core muscles make it easier to do many physical activities. Therefore, core exercises are an important part of a well-rounded fitness program. And they provide other important benefits.

Specifically, core exercises build abs and other core muscles thereby improving balance and stability. They train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work together. This produces the balance and stability necessary for our daily and athletic activities.

Many successfully-performed sports and other physical activities require stable core muscles. For example, think about watching your favorite golfer take her/his first, powerful swing at the tee. See that dramatic turning of the body? That’s a fully implicated core if ever I saw one! Could this be you?

Or reaching for something on the top shelf at home or the grocery store. And turning your body to see what traffic is coming from your left before making a right turn when you’re driving. Or reaching down to tie your shoelaces. I think you’re getting the point – yeah?

Additionally, core exercises can help build and tone your abs. They are essential to abdominal muscle definition. Although it takes aerobic activity to burn abdominal fat, core exercises can strengthen and tone the underlying muscles.

Furthermore, strong abdominal and other core muscles can prevent poor posture, lower back pain, and muscle injuries. They can also prevent lower back pain.

So, with all this in mind, let’s take a look at these workouts. By the way, this is nowhere near a definitive list of the different types of workouts you can do. There’s soooo much available on the internet, including the list from the Mayo Clinic at one of the links, above. Just do a search, and you’re likely to find exactly what you’re looking for. And a trainer will also give you guidance.

And don’t forget to BREATHE as you do any of these! See my posts about the importance of breathing during workouts and how to do it correctly:

What constitutes correct breathing.
Breathing in the context of exercise.
Proper breathing for the different categories of exercise.

THE WORKOUTS

This first workout is pretty intense, IMHO. It’s stuff my trainer, Chris, would likely be able to do. I can’t do any of it! May never be able to, either!! So this how to strengthen your abs approach may not be the one to start with. For you advanced people – go for broke!

Never, ever believe you have to start at maximum output. Not only will you not be able to do the exercise, but you could injure yourself.

Therefore, I recommend that you include the words “beginner”, “moderate”, or “advanced” in your search terms.

This next workout is very different than the first. The moves are slower, resemble yoga more, and might appear to be less intense than the first video. However, you’d still be getting an extremely good abdominal workout.

I can do somewhat modified versions of some of these but not all – yet. If it helps give you an idea of my fitness level as compared to yours, I’m 73, getting fit for the first time in my life, working out and doing cardio for about a year and a quarter, 40 pounds overweight, with bad knees and an umbilical hernia.

I’m really impressed with what I can do so far, thanks to Chris’ guidance and my own discipline and consistency. So, do what YOU can, and you’ll see improvements!

This third approach on how to strengthen your abs looks like something a relative beginner could start with and get great benefit from. I haven’t tried these but my sense is that I could do them, even with the same number of repetitions.

This fourth set looks harder than the third and builds a bit on the second. I could do modifications of some of them and not be able to do others. They look good, though, and you can even see how the trainer is breathing hard from them. To me, that means hard work!

So, in this next or last group of exercises, we’re back with Mr. Intensity, as I’m calling him, from the first approach to how to strengthen your abs. I wanted to include this because of all the knowledge tips he gives, including the anatomy of the abs. Good stuff.

Again, these are not for your basic, out of shape, beginner by any stretch of the imagination! Maybe one or two of them could be done by most of us – maybe! However, those of you who are intermediate or advanced might get great benefit from these moves.

He does say that he’s showing beginner level and higher. I would think they might be more intermediate to advanced. However, there are actually a couple of things here that I think I could do for a few reps and sets – emphasis on “a few”!

But I’m not an expert or a trainer. Just me, Aileen, thinking about what she could or could not do and how that might apply to others.

CONCLUSION

And here we are at the end of another post. I learned a lot from researching and writing this my own self! And I hope you will get some good tips on how to strengthen your abs and some abdominal exercise ideas that make sense for who you are.

It is always my fond hope that you will find this information helpful. I welcome and look forward to your comments, questions, and feedback!

And remember — Fitness with Attitude, everyone!

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