Abdominal Exercises

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When doing exercises for the abdominal muscles, it's important to do exercises that work out different parts of the muscles. Find out how to do thin tummy exercises and partial sit ups with help from a strength and conditioning specialist in this free video on exercise and fitness tips.

Part of the Video Series: Exercise & Fitness Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Ashleigh Gass, strength and conditioning specialist with BrilliantAthlete.com. We're going to talk a little bit about how to do abdominal exercises. First of all, it's important to clarify and we'll keep it simple that the abdominal muscles are the muscles in the front and in the side of your trunk. One of their main roles is in stabilizing your entire body through movement, whether you're walking, running or playing sport. So your abdominal muscles play a very key role in stabilizing your whole body. And a lot of people wonder, well just how do you choose exercises to work your abdominals? And while there are many different answers to this question, one of the keys is to choose exercises that train different parts of the muscles. So I'm going to demonstrate a few that can help get you started. The first one is an exercise that's commonly called thin tummy. And this is how it works. Lie on your back, take a deep breath in and as you exhale, just pull your belly button in towards your spine so you're making your tummy nice and thin. You can use your fingers just so you can feel your belly button being drawn inwards. It's like you're creating a dish with your lower stomach. You can hold that for 5 seconds or so and then relax. The second exercise is referred to as a partial sit up. And this is actually discussed in Stuart McGill's book called Low Back Disorders. Bend one leg, straighten the other leg, hands can be across your chest and it's just a partial sit up movement. I just come up halfway and back down again. So think of this as a controlled abdominal exercise for the front of your stomach muscles. So I might do 3 or 4 with one leg bent and straight and then I'm going to change legs and repeat the same movement on the other side. The third exercise is an exercise that is good to start to strengthen the sides of your abdominals. So I'll start with both knees bent, feet together, my knees are bent to about a 45 degree angle. I'm on my elbow and my forearm. I'm going to push my knees down into the floor and lift myself straight up into a side bridge. You're going to feel the muscles closest to the floor working. And then I come back down again. And to start you might do 5 or 6 reps and as you get stronger you can increase that to 10 maybe even 20 with a couple second holds at the top. So again to sum, when you're looking at choosing abdominal exercises, make sure you choose a few that feel like they train different parts of the abdominal muscles and you'll be well on your way to getting a stronger, more functional midsection. I'm Ashleigh Gass, strength and conditioning specialist with BrilliantAthlete.com.

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