Abdominal Function 1: How it works


When you walk into almost any gym or outdoor exercise class, you would see many people do countless reps of sit-ups,  crunches and similar exercises. They may believe that doing isolated ab exercises will give them flatter, stronger abs or improve their golf swing or running. However, think about this. When in real-life do you perform daily activities where you lie on your back and move your trunk up and down repetitively? Do you play golf or any other sports from this position and move in this pattern? If you want a leaner and stronger abdominal muscles, you should understand how they work with your entire body.

Sit-ups may give you the abdominal burn, but does very little to improve abdominal function.

Abdominal muscles function beyond flexing your trunk and spine forward and contract those muscles from a ground position, such as in sit-ups and crunches. The deep abdominal muscles that are close to your organs and spine stabilizes the torso while the outer abdominal muscles move the body in various directions.

Your abdominal muscles also transfer energy from your lower body to your upper body, allowing you to lift heavy objects that you would not normally be able to lift and carry with your upper body alone, according to physical therapist Gray Cook, author of “Athletic Body in Balance.” You can try this by lifting a 20-pound dumbbell or a similar weight over your head with your arm and shoulder alone, or push the ground with your legs first and press the dumbbell overhead. Which is easier?

Bruce Lee once said, “My strength comes from my abdomen. It’s the center of gravity and the source of real power.” In order for your abdominals to generate strength, they must be able to extend first before contracting. When you extend any muscle, you are generating potential, or stored, energy. When you contract the muscle, energy is released in the form of kinetic energy. A good example would be a baseball player throwing a baseball, where he must rotate and lean his torso back to cock the ball before rotate the opposite direction and lean forward to throw. Imagine what his throw would be like if he threw the ball without extending and rotating his torso first.

AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Traditional abdominal exercises do not move your abdominal muscles in their full movement spectrum. It focuses on contraction and movement in one plane of motion instead of using your entire body and multiple directions. Although these exercises can increase some abdominal size, they do not reduce your body fat in your mid-section or give you washboard abs. You are better off performing full-body exercises and work on your food intake. In the next section, we will look at some sample exercises to help you better understand how your abdominal muscles function with your entire body.

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Comments
5 Responses to “Abdominal Function 1: How it works”
  1. Lisa Wolfe says:

    Very nice start, Nick. I look forward to reading more! 🙂

  2. Nice work, Nick! I see you have been busy!!
    Have a very Happy New Year.

    We still have some work to do….?

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  1. […] “Abdominal Function: How It Works”, we understand about the anatomical and biomechanical aspects of the core muscles. To further […]



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