Though most people just think about the abs that are visible when a person has a six pack, there are actually four different sets of abdominal muscles that work together to support your stomach and back. The rectus abdominis muscles are two sheets of muscle that run from the pelvis to the ribs, and these muscles help you bend forward. Both the internal and external obliques run diagonally along your sides, starting at the outer edge of your ribs and wrapping inwards towards the hips.
Below both the rectus abdominis and the abdominal obliques is the transverse abdominis, which wraps around the waist like a corset. This muscle supports the spine, but is also the muscle mostly responsible for holding the torso tightly together. In order to get a slim waist, it is necessary to actually work out all four of these muscle sets instead of just focusing on building the rectus abdominis muscles.
Now before you give up just because of the name, this routine is actually pretty awesome as it involves you using the core of your stomach muscles in movement. It also helps to strengthen your arms, neck and shoulders.
How To Do:
- Lay flat on your back with arms at your side.
- Straighten your legs, squeeze them together and slowly lift them towards your head.
- Be sure that your shoulders, arms, and head lie completely flat on the floor.
- Do not lift them as you lift your legs, and your body and legs should be at about a 45 degree angle.
- Slowly roll your spine, leaning your legs slightly to the right. Make sure your legs are squeezed together.
- Move your legs back to the center without putting them on the floor.
- Make the same lean to the left.
- Continue going from side to side. Complete 10 reps, three sets, inhaling slowly and freezing for two seconds on each side.
This exercise really gets your heart pumping while activating the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis.
How To Do:
- Start by crouching on your toes with your palms on the ground.
- In one swift motion, extend both your legs at the same time so that all of your weight is on your palms and toes while your body is entirely straight.
- Then quickly hop back up to the starting position and stand up straight with your hands in the air. Repeat at least five times more.
- If you are interested in exercising more muscles at once,
- you can also include a quick push up between the plank position and returning to the crouching position.