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Ab Exercises That Work the Lower, Middle and Upper Abs

written by: Caramel • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 4/15/2011

Getting the stomach area toned is the matter of a healthy diet together with the right exercises. Doing the wrong exercises is a waste of time which will lead you nowhere, but this article gives some effective, safe, and simple exercises that will help you get washboard abs in no time!

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    Overview

    Getting the core area of the body toned and trimmed can be a challenge if you go about it the wrong way but with the help of a simple plan, ab exercises that work lower middle and upper abs can be done effectively and yield amazing results. For total fitness of the abdominal area, it is important to develop the abdominals as a whole so one part is not toned and the other part left saggy.

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    The Makeup of the Abdominals

    The abdominal muscles are made up of three layers:

    • Tranversus abdominis is the deepest layer of the abdominals which functions as a type of girdle for the core area as it provides stability and support and has a significant role in exhalation.
    • Rectus abdominis muscles flex the spine
    • The external and internal obliques provide the body with lateral movement and rotation and turn the trunk.

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    Ab Exercises

    The following are some upper, lower, and middle effective abdominal exercises that should be performed 2-3 times each week for best results. In addition these exercises should be performed until momentary muscular failure occurs which occurs between 30-90 seconds.

    "The bicycle" exercise develops the rectus abdominis and works the obliques. This exercise is performed by lying face up on the floor and placing your hands underneath your head. Next, bring the head towards the chest area in a 90 degree angle while lifting your shoulders at the some time without letting the neck tag with it. While twisting your shoulder, straighten the leg out. Change sides and do up to twelve repetitions.

    A great exercise for the obliques is the "side bridge" exercise which also builds core strength and works the upper body. First, begin by lying on the floor with your leg extended out. Turn your body sideways and hold it up with one of your arms parallel to the mat or floor area. Your abs need to remain straight for at least 30 to 60 seconds.

    The "bent elbow plank" works mainly the transversus adominis but also works the entire trunk area. Begin with lying with your belly facing the mat and raising yourself to your forearms and toes (shoulders in line with elbows) while the back remains neutral and the abdominals are being contracted. You should hold this position for at least 5 seconds, then rest and repeat. The ultimate goal should be holding this position for at least 90 seconds with no rest. Those who are more experienced can strive to do this exercise while on their toes and hands.

    The Reverse Crunch isolates the lower part of the rectus abdominis and transversus when done correctly. Begin with lying flat on the floor, knees bent at a 90 degree angle, spine neutral, the feet a few inches from the floor, legs together, and hand at your sides. Those who are more experienced can place their hands behind their ears. The concentration should be on contracting the abdominals in order to raise your hips up and in toward the rib case area. You should inhale when returning to the starting position and exhale as you contract.

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    Conclusion

    Doing ab exercises that work lower, middle, and upper abs are an effective method of trimming and toning the core area when done correctly. The key is consistency through a few effective exercises like the ones in this article. Blasting fat from the mid section is more effective with a healthy eating plan and for information on effective ways to lose weight visit http://www.brighthub.com/health/fitness/articles/111182.aspx.

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