There is no such thing as upper and lower abdominal muscles. If your trainer refers to your abs as working upper and lower RUN !!!!….
There are four main abdominal muscle groups that combine to completely cover the internal organs:
- Transversus abdominus – the deepest muscle layer. Its main roles are to stabilise the trunk and maintain internal abdominal pressure.
- Rectus abdominus – slung between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. This muscle has the characteristic bumps or bulges, when contracting, that are commonly called ‘the six pack’. The main function of the rectus abdominus is to move the body between the ribcage and the pelvis.
- External oblique muscles – these are on each side of the rectus abdominus. The external oblique muscles allow the trunk to twist, but to the opposite side of whichever external oblique is contracting. For example, the right external oblique contracts to turn the body to the left.
- Internal oblique muscles – these flank the rectus abdominus and are located just inside the hipbones. They operate in the opposite way to the external oblique muscles. For example, twisting the trunk to the left requires the left side internal oblique and the right side external oblique to contract together.
Another muscle that is involved in moving the trunk is the:
Multifidus – this is a deep back muscle that runs along the spine. It works together with the transversus abdominus to increase spine stability and protect against back injury or strain during movement or normal posture. Proper ‘core strengthening’ techniques, learned from a skilled allied health professional, can support the combined function of these muscle groups.
3 simple exercises to target the abs are:
Standing cable twists, (knees slightly bent and hips don’t move) plank (hold for only 45 seconds, keep a straight line repeat 3 times) and crunches (Crunches: legs off the floor and crossed) coming up too far in a crunch will work and strain the hip flexors…exhale when completing the crunch to allow the diaphragm to relax and target abs) Do everyday…
By: John Hart
Master’s In Education” (Disability/Rehab)Newcastle UniversityAustralia
“Grad Cert Education ”NewcastleUniversity”Australia
“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”
“Cert 4 Personal Training”
“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”
Member of ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association)