Having flatter abs is the ultimate goal to “show” you are fit and you CAN have flatter abs over 40 ladies! But there are so many other benefits to having flatter abs besides the ripped core you can show off. By the way, you don’t have to have a six-pack to have flatter abs. Achieving the elusive “six-pack” really comes down to how much body fat is covering your abdominals. Believe it or not….we ALL have a six-pack of abs it just might be under a couple layers 😉
Find Out In Today’s Podcast:
- Dispelling flatter ab myths
- What are your ab muscles
- Exercises you can implement for flatter abs over 40
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Let me dispel some flatter ab myths!
- The abdominal muscles ALL work together.
- There are NO “upper” & “lower” abs. You CAN try to focus in on where you “feel” the exercise but you really can’t isolate the abdominal muscles individually.
- You will NOT get flatter abs by doing a gazillion ab exercises if you are not focused on losing body fat. Does that mean skip ab exercises? Absolutely not! There are many benefits to strengthening your core and getting flatter abs.
- Typically, you will not see ab definition in a female unless they are below 18% body fat and that depends on where they carry their body fat (if your primary fat storage area is your stomach, you may not see definition until around 10% body fat).
See Below For Flatter Ab Demonstrations
The Abdominal Muscles
The abdominals are made up of four muscles:
- Rectus Abdominis
- External Obliques
- Internal Obliques
- Transverse Abdominis
Rectus Abdominis is the abdominal muscle which runs up and down your torso. The rectus abdominis attaches at the rib cage and runs down into the lower part of the pelvis. This muscle contracts strongly when performing sit-ups or leg lifts. Examples of abdominal exercises are sit-up, leg lifts and for a reverse contraction, a pelvic tilt.
External Obliques attach from the lower portion of rib cage and down into the pelvis. These muscles run in a diagonal fashion across your core. The external obliques allow you to bend to the side and twist to the opposite side of your torso. If you were to position your hands like you are reaching into your pockets, that is the direction of the muscle fibers of the external obliques. Examples of exercises for the external obliques would be bicycle crunches.
Internal Obliques also attach from the lower portion of rib cage and down into the pelvis. These muscles also run in a diagonal fashion across your core. The internal obliques allow you to twist to the same side of your torso and assist in side bending. If you were to cross your arms over torso with finger tips down, this is the direction of the muscle fibers of the internal obliques. Examples of exercises for the internal obliques would be bicycle crunches and side crunches.
Transverse Abdominis is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and runs horizontally across the torso . Think of this muscle as your girdle or a corset. The goal of the transverse abdominis is to keep your organs inside and to help you stand up. A great example of a transverse abdominis exercise is the plank or simply pulling your stomach in.
Why should you focus on flatter abs??
Your core is what keeps everything together….your center of gravity, your pelvic girdle…
Having flatter abs will:
- Help keep your back strong
- Help you have better posture
- May prevent back problems in your future
- Possibly prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.
Flatter Ab Demonstrations
Here are some exercise videos to firm abs (remember if your body fat isn’t low enough you will not see as much definition).
On floor face down, place elbows underneath your shoulders and bring body up onto knees (plank position).
Nicole’s Trainer Tips:Do not let your back sag.
How to Plank Correctly
Crunch with a Reach
Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground. Hold onto one dumbbell (DB) over your chest. As you bring your torso up for the crunch, reach your DB towards the ceiling. Lower back down to starting position.
Nicole’s Trainer Tips:
Do not pull on neck or head. If neck starts to hurt, place one hand at the back of your head while holding the DB in the other.
Exhale as you come up, Inhale as you go down to floor.
Do not allow belly to pooch up as you crunch. Pull navel to spine as you crunch.
Around the World Crunch
Lie on floor face up. Place feet flat on floor with knees bent. Hands paced behind head. Crunch up in the center, crunch off to the right side, crunch center and then crunch to left side. Each direction (Center, right, center, left equals one rep).
Nicole’s Trainer Tips: Do not pull on head/neck. Keep elbows back. Space under your chin. Push navel down to spine as you crunch up.
Bicycle Ab Exercise
Begin by lying on the floor. Place your hands behind your head so that your elbows are pointing straight outward. Then bring your legs off the ground and into chest.Bring right knee in towards chest while bringing your left elbow to the right (opposite) knee, switch leg and arm. Alternating until you have completed recommended reps.
Nicole’s Trainer Tips: Think about bringing your armpit towards opposite knee. Extend leg away from you like you are trying to touch the wall. Exhale as you bring the leg in. If your back is arching off the floor continue with a modified bicycle.
Side Plank with Hip Raise – 3 versions
Starting Position: Begin by sitting on your right hip with your legs stacked ( left foot is closest to the floor), your right arm straight, and placed directly underneath your right shoulder. With legs and feet stacked, slowly lift your right hip away from the floor, lift and lower hips for recommended reps. Repeat on opposite side.
Nicole’s Trainer Tips: Keeping your abs engaged and the right side of your waist pulled away from the floor at all times. For added intensity, extend your left arm up toward the ceiling.