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4 Types of Abdominal Muscles
Transversus abdominus. These muscles are the “core” of the abdomen area. They support the trunk and protect internal organs housed in the abdominal cavity.
Rectus Abominus. These are the muscles that are called the “six pack” or give the appearance of a “washboard” stomach. They are located between the ribs and the pubic bone.
External obliques. This muscle group is on the left and right sides of rectus abdominus muscles. They help to stabilize the trunk and upper body during twisting motions. When the body is twisted to the right, the left external obliques are engaged. When the body is twisted to the left, the right external obliques contract.
Internal obliques. This muscle group forms a border along the rectus abdominus muscles. They also provide support during twisting motions. When the body is twisted to the right, the right internal obliques are engaged. When it is twisted to the left, the left internal obliques contract.
The following stomach flattening exercises to do at home are the perfect way to get your flattest belly ever!
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Flatten your Stomach at Home!
Plank – Works the transverse abdominus and rectus abdominus
1. Get in the push up position – hands on the floor and body raised with back straight.
2. Pull the navel toward the spine and hold as long as you can.
3. Repeat 3 times.
Bicycle - Works all abdominal muscle groups
1. Lie on your back with your hands gently laced behind you head.
2. Pull knees toward the chest and slowly raise the shoulders off the floor.
3. Extend the left leg out while turning the shoulder blades towards the right to bring the left elbow towards the right knee.
4. Alternate, bringing the right elbow to the left knee.
5. Continue as if riding a bike for 12 to 16 repetitions.
Vertical Leg Crunch – Works the rectus abdominus and internal and external obliques
1. Lie on your back with your hands by your sides.
2. Raise both legs to a vertical position with ankles crossed.
3. Slowly contract the abs as if to bring your chest toward your feet.
4. Pull your belly button towards the spine during the movement.
5. Relax by lowering your shoulder blades back on the floor.
6. Repeat 10 times.
Reverse Crunch – Works rectus abdominus and transverse abdominus
1. Lie on your back with hands by your side or laced behind your head.
2. Pull the knees into the chest at a 90 degree ankle. Feet can be either together or crossed.
3. Contract the abs to lift your hips off the floor while reaching your legs toward the ceiling. (try not to swing the hips but use the abdominals to stabilize yourself by pulling your navel to your spine)
4. Come to the rest position and repeat 10 times.
These are some of the most effective stomach flattening exercises to do at home. Do them on a regular basis and your abdominal muscles will start to show off your hard work!
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Ab Exercises. American Council on Exercise. http://www.acefitness.org/exerciselibrary/exercises.aspx?bodypart=1
Super Abs Resource Manual. University of New Mexico. Kravitz L. http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/abdominal.html