Crunch with proper form to build muscle.
The abdominals consist of four different muscles - the deep-seated transversus abdominis, the top lying rectus abdominis and the side internal and external obliques. The abdominals make up an integral part of your core and though each muscle has its own particular function, the entirety of the group works together to provide you with stability, balance and agility while also helping to protect your lower back from injury. Performing strength training exercises, such as crunches and leg lifts, can help you to maximize development and growth for all four abdominal muscles.1.
Warm your muscles with at least 10 minutes of jogging, brisk walking, cycling or another type of cardiovascular exercise. Warming up helps get blood flowing throughout your body.2.
Perform the basic crunch to strengthen your rectus abdominis. Lie on your back on an exercise mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor with your heels 12 to 18 inches away from your glutes. Clasp your hands behind your head with the elbows extending out to the sides. Pull your stomach muscles in toward your spine and push the shoulder blades down your back. Inhale for a count of three. Exhale and lift your head and shoulders up toward the ceiling; focus on initiating the move from your rectus abdominis instead of using the momentum of your body. Hold the lift for one count and then return to the starting position. Complete three sets, with 10 to 12 repetitions in each set.3.
Train your obliques with the standing oblique crunch. Take hold of a dumbbell that weighs three to five pounds in your left hand and stand tall with your feet slightly wider than hip-width. Engage your abdominal muscles and transfer your weight to your right leg. Lift your left hand up and over your head to the right; keep your left shoulder blade down your back as you lift the arm. Then, swing your left elbow down along the left side of your body as you raise your left knee out to the side; the elbow and knee should meet in the middle on the side of your torso. Hold the crunch for one count and then return to the starting position. Complete 10 to 12 repetitions and repeat on the right side. Aim for three sets on each side.4.
Strengthen your transversus abdominis, which is responsible for pulling your stomach in toward the spine, with lying leg lifts. Lie on your back on a workout bench with your butt resting at the edge of it. Extend your legs out in front of you and place your hands under your glutes, palms facing down. Raise your legs toward the ceiling until they are over your hips and perpendicular to the floor. Hold the contraction for one count and then lower them back to the starting position. Repeat for 12 repetitions. Complete three sets.
- Workout bench
- Consult your physician before starting a new abdominal training or fitness program. Inform your doctor if you have any lower back injuries or issues.