The abs: one of the most problematic areas of the female body. Most women target their abs when they want to get in shape. Unfortunately, toning the abdominal is not easily done. The body’s midsection is made up of a group of muscles known as the abdominal girdle. In order to see satisfying results when toning this area, all of the muscles must be worked. Every exercise that is carried out should specifically target a specific muscle. These muscles that make up the abdominal girdle are named rectus and transversus abdominis, and the internal and external obliques. The abdominis muscles are located more towards the center of the body, and the obliques are closer to the hips and waist.
Some exercises that are effective in toning all of the muscles of the abdomen include the following:
- Bicycle: with the back to the floor and hands on the head, alternate bringing the opposite elbow to the opposite knee and straighten the other leg. This exercise targets the rectus abdominis and the obliques.
- Crunches: with the back on the floor and hands on the head, bring the head and arms forward halfway to the knees. By keeping the stomach engaged, this exercise works the rectus and transversis abdominis. Doing crunches on an exercise ball increases the amount of work for the body, toning other muscle groups as well. Raising the legs in the air also forces the abs to work harder and also engages the obliques along with the abs.
- Plank: while supporting the entire body, lay with the arms and toes on the ground. The arms, from the wrist to the elbow should stabilize the body while it hovers for 30 or more seconds. This is another exercise that works all of the muscles in the abdominal girdle.
- Twists: these are most effective with the aid of small weights. While sitting with legs bent at 90 degrees and slightly lifted off of the ground, tap the ground with both hands (or some weights), slowly alternating from each side of the raised legs. Make sure to keep the abs engaged at all times, and sit up straight. These twists are ideal for toning the obliques, but also tone the rectus and transversis abdominis.