Written by: Kayte Corrigan
It’s good you know your core and how it functions. Beyond looking awesome while baring the midriff, your abdominals workouts benefit more than your fashion sense. If you think about it, your abs literally hold you up right and protect your internal organs. There isn’t much between your ribs and pelvis, your abs are your armor.
Rectus Abdominis – The coveted six-pack and the most superficial abdominal muscles. It’s a long and flat muscle that runs vertically between the pubis and the sixth and seventh ribs. The Rectus is responsible for flexing the spine. Any time your ribs get closer to your pelvis, that’s your rectus abdominis at work. It also helps to stabilize during side bending and twisting.
External + Internal Obliques – Brothers working together for side bending and spinal rotation. The fibers of both muscles run opposite one another diagonally. External fibers point to the hips like putting your hands in your pockets and internal the opposite way. External run from your 5th to 12th ribs down to the side of your hip and kissing the Rectus Abdominus while the internal run all the way to your lower back. The internal and external oblique on opposite sides work to rotate the torso one direction and the same side internal and external are used to bend sideways.
Transverus Abdominus – Meet the deepest layer of muscles in the abdomen. The Transverus Abdominus or TA, is foundation of spine stabilization in addition to aiding in respiration. Think of the transverses as the ice under the six-pack. What’s the point of a beverage if it isn’t frosty? The fibers of this muscle run horizontally around the font and back of the body, feeling like a corset tightening slightly when engaged. Drawing the navel in to stabilize the spine, a strong Transversus protects the lower back along with weight regulation along the vertebral column and pelvis.
Hip Flexors – No, not really abdominals, but abdominal helpers. Your hip flexors bring your legs to your torso in aid of full flexion. It’s really important to be mindful when you do abdominal exercises to stay out of the hip flexors. Modify if you begin to feel strain in this muscle group. The best way to isolate the abdominals is to minimize the involvement of the hip flexors.
If you think about it, your abs literally hold you up right and protect your internal organs. There isn’t much between your ribs and pelvis, your abs are your armor. How strong is your armor?