What are Abs?
The term ‘Abs’ is easily understood by everyone since almost person on Planet Earth has become a participant in the ‘race for fitness’.
There is also another interesting connotation to the term ‘ab’ that is used in English Literature to describe sonnets that go with alternate lines ending in rhyming words.
Ab Workouts have taken the fitness world by storm ever since “flaunting” them became a hobby or obsession with some people.
Abs or Abdominal Muscles are stomach muscles which are parallel and paired and run vertically on either side of the abdomen. They provide for easy spinal flexing and allow two-way side rotation of the body. Ab muscles are not always visible through the fleshy layers of the stomach so they have to be purposely developed to make them more visible.
This calls for a strict workout and exercise regimen that is certainly not for the faint hearted. Not all people who consider a regular fitness program to keep fit need to indulge in a tougher routine to project their ab muscles. However, in certain cases it may be necessary to strengthen abdominal muscles from a sport or medical point of view, and here it is useful to consider the benefits in the long-term of engaging in abdominal exercises.
Health benefits of abdominal workouts
The key to improving health and maintaining that in the long-term is an exercise regime that becomes a lifestyle habit. In a similar way, the beginnings of good abdominal physique start early in childhood when we are told to ‘sit straight’, ‘keep the back upright’, ‘tuck in the belly’, these are all pointers to strengthening abdominal muscles.
Abdominal exercises are not to be confused with cardio-vascular exercise regimes or weight reduction programs. Since they involve a whole lot of simple and complex exercises, it is better to identify those that provide good physique as against those that provide rippling, hard-toned muscles known simply as ‘6-packs’, the kind you see wrestlers, weight-lifters and sportsperson involved in other intense sports showing off.
Abdominal muscles are mostly strengthening exercises, not “fat-burning” regimen. They are the best way to tone abs and put the stomach and consequently the entire body into good, physical shape.
There are several questions that one would ask if wishing to get into an ab workout routine. Some of them could be:
1. Does it improve posture?
Yes, they certainly do. If the abdominal muscles are in good shape and toned, then body posture falls in line.
2. Do they reduce lower back problems?
They have been known to protect and support the spine much like the support system for a beam or rod.
3. Does stomach fat get burned off?
There is no direct answer to this question because burning off fat depends on a combined regimen of diet and fitness where calorie intakes and energy outputs have to be in tandem.
4. Do they improve sports performance?
Obviously they do. Simply because there is improved balance in body and muscle co-ordination that is the crux of all sports activities.
Advantages of Ab workouts
The advantages of ab workouts vary from person to person. And of course for men and women there are different combinations, except maybe for hard core sports like weight-lifting. Here the intention is not to advocate muscular toning of the ‘6-pack’ type. The “Holy Grail of Fitness” tags goes to ‘flat abs’ which are quite easy to develop rather than the muscular variety.
Even basic and ordinary ab exercises that anyone can safely do in the confines of a home environment, if done on a regular basis and in a controlled and patient manner, produce visible results over the long-term.
Some of the easier exercises that work towards strengthening the abdominal muscles and in turn, ‘toning the abs’ include:
• Leg Raises
• Side Planks
However, the last word on the matter is to choose an ab workout that is suitable and effective and adapt that to individual requirements.