Define + Sculpt
Before defining and sculpting summer abs, it’s helpful to know which muscles you’re trying to target.
The ab muscles, or the “core four” are made up of the transverse abdominis, internal obliques, external obliques, and rectus abdominis.
Let’s start with the rectus abdomonis. These muscles flow from your ribcage to your pelvis, and those are your crunching muscles (what gives you those 6-pack abs!).
Then, we have obliques (internal and external). Whenever you do twisting motions, you’re using your obliques!
The last set of muscles are your transverse abdominis. The transverse abdomonis are your posture muscles, and they run across your body. Think of them as your built-in Spanx! Having trained transverse muscles keeps your belly tightened inward. You use these muscles when you have to squeeze in your tightest pair of jeans without getting pinched!
Look what happens when I’m not engaging my transverse muscles (see photo). If I just let my muscles hang out, I get a little belly! Being in this position puts pressure on my lower back, and notice how my poor posture makes me look older and thicker! The trick is to engage your transverse muscles…even when you’re standing! You don’t have to get down on the floor doing ab exercises to be working your abdominals!
It’s very common to isolate the abs as a way to target the exact muscle you’re trying to tone. And that’s the big misconception.
The truth is…if you really want to train your midsection, it requires a full body approach.
Just like the song “your hip bone’s connected to your tail bone,” keep in mind that the muscles of the body are highly integrated. When you work out, it’s a team effort.
When you focus on an abdominal routine, you’re really concentrating on how tightly those muscles are pulling. This is only beneficial if you know how to use your ab muscles throughout the day.
The optimal way to train your midsection is to have a full-body approach that will teach how you to incorporate your core training in everyday activities.
Every core move in today’s 10-minute routine connects the midsection with the upper body, lower body, and backside. Working the muscles in unison burns more calories than isolation moves.
The trainer teaming up with me is Angela Freeman. I met her in Sun Valley years ago, and was inspired by her style of using functional movements in every workout.
Make no mistake about it, this is an advanced routine. Have fun with it, and know that you can modify!