As a beginner, you have big dreams to build a 6 pack abs and have a sexy midsection that says you are strong and healthy. It isn’t just men who strive hard to tone their abdominal muscles; women are just as crazy about abs workouts because a toned tummy is the best asset to have. However, before you can understand which exercises are best for your abs, you also need to understand a little bit about the anatomy of your core.
Core muscles form the very foundation of a healthy body. To be able to do a multitude of exercises well, you need a stronger core. And the good news is that toned abs also look real great! So while they increase your athletic performance, they also boost your confidence and make you feel better about your ‘self image’. But did you really know what all muscles formed your core? We will find out which 4 parts forms our ‘Core’ and we will also talk about the perfect workout regimen that is guaranteed to give you a sexy 6 pack abs. Understanding the anatomy of the core will help you understand which exercises will stimulate specific muscles for most effective workouts.
The Anatomy Of The Core
Your core comprises of 4 parts of group of muscles. Each has a different location. Different functioning and can be stimulated using different sets of exercises.
1. Rectus Abdominus
Located from the sternum and covers the entire area, till the pelvic bone. These are what most people call abs or 6 pack. The function of the rectus abdominus is to pull the upper body to the hips and make lateral movements.
Exercise to target these muscles: Sit ups and Crunches.
These are located on either side of the waist. They comprise of 3 layers – internal obliques, external obliques and transverse obliques. These are responsible for lateral movement or what one may call the twisting and tilting of torso.
Exercise to target these muscles: Decline oblique crunches and Side bends.
These muscles are located between sides of the rib cage. They are used when you twist your torso from side to side, without moving the waist. Their main function is depression and elevation of the ribs, which happens when you take deep breaths.
Exercise to target these muscles: Truck twists.
These are also called boxer’s muscles and are located between the lats and the front abs. their function is to pull the scapula forward and to the side, like the motion you make while throwing a punch.
Exercise to target these muscles: Single arm cable crunches and Barbell pull overs.
The core muscles are fast twitch muscles that are denser and respond better to heavy explosive kind of workouts. This means that when you do core exercises, you need to look at moderate rep range and not endless reps. So, each set you do should be made of 8 to 15 repetitions.
5 Best Core Workouts
Now that you have a better understanding of the anatomy of the core, and know which exercises will target what muscles, we will talk about an ideal beginner’s abs workout. Remember, you need to concentrate more on your form in the beginning and not the number of reps you do. Bad form will lead to bad habits and more injuries in the future, so begin by correcting your form with the assistance of your gym instructor.
These abs workouts come highly recommended by Alex Stewart, a world renowned body builder. Add one workout to your training session each day of the week to see maximum results.
Abs Workout One:
- Begin with crunches. Do 3 sets of 12 reps each, with a maximum of 30 seconds rest in between each set
- Cable crunches come next. Do 3 sets, each with 8 to 12 reps. You can take a rest of 30 to 45 seconds in between 2 sets
- Bodyweight side bends are the third workout today. Don’t use weights, just your own body’s weight to bend from side to side to tone obliques. Do 3 sets with 12 reps in each and take a 30 sec break in between sets.
- Last exercise today is Seated Leg Tucks that work on the lower abdomen area. Do 3 sets with 12 to 15 reps in each. Take a 45 seconds break in between sets.
Abs Workout Two:
- Begin with seated barbell twists. Do 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps in each. You can take a 30 seconds break in between sets.
- Next are crunches. Keep your hands over your head, pulled back straight and do 3 sets with 12 to 15 reps in each. Take a 30 second gap in between consecutive sets.
- Air bike crunches are the third exercise today. Do 3 sets again, with 12 reps in each. Take a 45 second rest in between 2 sets
- End with leg raises. Do 3 sets with 8 reps in each and take a 30 sec break between sets.
Abs Workout Three:
- Begin with Frog sit-ups. Do 3 sets with 12 reps in each. Aim to rest for no more than 30 seconds between sets.
- Next are oblique crunches, done on the floor. Do 3 sets again with 10 to 12 reps in each and 40 seconds rest between sets.
- Jack Knife sit ups bring a great variation to sit ups. Do 2 to 3 sets and aim for 8 to 10 reps in each. Take rest for 45 seconds between sets.
- End with reverse crunch. Do 3 sets with 10 reps in each and a 30 second break between consecutive sets
Abs Workout Four:
- Begin with the Russian Twist. Do 3 sets with 12 reps in each and rest for 30 seconds between sets
- Next is Barbell Side bends. Do 3 sets with 8 reps in each and 45 seconds rest between sets
- Next is a simple crunch using an exercise ball. Do 3 sets with 8 reps each. Rest for 30 seconds between sets
- End with the Ab Crunch machine. Do 3 sets with 8 to 10 reps in each and a 30 to 45 sec break between sets.
Abs Workout Five:
- Begin with Decline Crunches. Do 2 to 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps in each. You can take abreak of 30 to 40 seconds between sets.
- Next are Leg Pull-Ins. Do 3 sets with 12 reps in each and take 30 seconds of rest between sets
- Dumbbell Side Bends are the third exercise today. Do 8 reps in each set and aim for 3 sets, with a break of 30 to 45 seconds between two sets
- Last is the Exercise Ball Crunch. Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps and take a 30 sec gap between sets.
Here are 5 super blasting days of abs workouts. You can bring variations by changing the exercises you do every day and also by changing the order in which you do these exercises. Just remember, it is best to couple the 4 mentioned together on the same day as they effectively workout all the 4 parts of your core effectively. Your mantra should be ‘Quality over Quantity’ as a beginner, so remember good form and motivation is the key.