Stronger Abs in Four Easy Moves

 
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If working as a physical therapy assistant has taught me anything, it's that having a strong core may be the key component to living a life without chronic lower back pain.

I've also learned that nearly 100% of the patients who walk through our doors have a nonexistent relationship with their abs. As a result, most sessions start off with re-educating patients about the purpose of the abdominal muscles and how learning to "turn them on" will significantly help reduce back pain. I've lost track of the number of times I've been cueing someone to place their hands on their abs and they've responded with "Oh, I haven't seen those things in decades!!". Great news is that beneath the abdominal fat we've ALL got super awesome ab muscles that are just waiting to be accessed and (properly) strengthened!

Before you just scroll down to the exercises, bear with me...

...the lesson is just as important as the solution (if not more so). Anatomy & Physiology of the ABS in a nutshell: So we've got a couple of layers of muscle that make up the abdominal wall. They include the Rectus Abdominis (aka.."6 Pack", running vertically), the Internal & External Obliques (which run diagonally), and the Transverse Abdominis (the deepest layer, running horizontally). Together with some really important muscles of the torso, the abs help make up the Core. The MOST important feature of the core that you need to know is that is stabilizes the entire body. 

Why do you need to know all this? 

Because knowing how your body works will help you understand how to exercise efficiently! The best exercises to strengthen your core (...including abs) are the ones that require it to be super stable (Making more sense now?) That's why many of us feel our abs start shaking & burning after holding a plank for 30 seconds as opposed to doing 30 crunches. Now that you're equipped with a little more info, try out these four moves during your next workout. I love incorporating them into my weights circuit, doing 1 round of abs after each circuit!

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