a belly is great. There’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t let anything persuade you. Do you still want it a little sportier? Okay, but then right and not with quick diets and wrong training. We’ll show you how to do the right abdominal muscle tuning!
“Unfortunately for women, the stomach, next to thighs and buttocks, is the part of the body where, for genetic reasons, we are most likely to put on fat deposits – especially when we do not do much sport and like to eat,” explains Marleen Schumacher, trainer and founder of Greenbodycamp Strengthility Coaching. Whether your goal is just a flat stomach or a pronounced six-pack – these tips will make your abdominal muscle training more effective than ever before.
In this article:
- The anatomy of the abdominal muscles
- That’s why women should train their abs
- The best abs exercises to do at home
- Why ab training alone doesn’t make a flat stomach
- So the abdominal muscles become visible
- 12 Important Abs Workout Rules For Women
The anatomy of the abdominal muscles
The abdominal muscles can be divided into 3 areas: the front, straight abdominal muscles, the lateral abdominal muscles, and the rear, deep abdominal muscles.
1. The front abdominal muscle
From a purely visual point of view, this is clearly the focus. It runs in 2 longitudinal strands from the breast to the pubic bone and is separated in the middle by the Linea Alba. One of his tasks is to maintain an upright posture and to stabilize the trunk and pelvis.
With a six-pack, the transverse intermediate tendons mean that it only looks as if it consists of several small muscles. Therefore, from a purely anatomical point of view, there are no ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ abdominal muscles that you can train. Depending on the posture, however, the upper or lower area of the straight abdominal muscle is more likely to be stressed.
2. The lateral abdominal muscles
They run from the outside of the ribs at an angle to the pelvis and support the front abdominal muscle: They bend the trunk, lift the pelvis and, together with the back muscles, stabilize the spine.
3. The posterior abdominal muscles
The lumbar muscles stabilize your ribs and flex your hips. The abdominal muscles are also involved in breathing and help you push hard out of your stomach.
That’s why women should train their abs
Regular and effective training of the front, side and rear abdominal muscles strengthens the middle, forms a beautiful waist and lets the abdominal muscles shine through. In the long run, that doesn’t just look good. Abdominal muscle training is also recommended for health reasons. Schumacher confirms: strong abdominal muscles …
- strengthen the back and thus prevent back pain
- stabilize and relieve the spine and thereby improve posture
- relieve the joints (for example when jogging)
- make generally more stable and more efficient in everyday life, so that, for example, lugging crates of water is much easier
The 4 best abs exercises to do at home
The basics have been clarified, then you can start. But before you put your feet under the edge of the bed, get a lot of momentum and do countless crunches, we’ll quickly show you how to do it properly.
When coach Marleen Schumacher trains her abs, she combines 4 types of abs exercises that you should definitely include in your training plan in order to properly challenge all abs:
1. Explosive exercises like quick sit-ups
You can order soft yoga mats as a base for abdominal exercises at amazon.de.
a: Lie on your back and stretch your arms and legs long.
b: With your arms straight up, straighten up explosively and bring your fingers to your toes. Keep your legs on the ground. Hold abdominal tension and put it down again.
2. Negative movements as with the jackknife
a: Lie on your back and stretch your arms and legs long.
b: Tense your stomach and straighten your upper body as far as possible. The arms pull towards the outstretched feet. From this position, slowly lower your upper body and legs back to the floor.
3. Slow motion exercises like slow leg raises
a: Lie on your back with your arms next to your body. Lift your legs together and stretch them perpendicular to the ceiling.
b: Now lower your legs very slowly. Work without any momentum and only with traction from the abdominal muscles. The lower back remains firmly on the ground and does not fall into the hollow back. Slowly straighten up again.
4. Static exercises such as the forearm support
Put your forearms on the floor and stand your feet up. The elbows are below the shoulders, the back is straight, and the stomach is tense. Hold this position stable for about 60 seconds. Do not stretch your hips too far up or let them sag.
But everyone who thinks they can uncover the desired six pack with a few targeted abdominal muscle exercises will unfortunately be disappointed now. Because the usual sit-ups are not enough for the washboard abs.
Why ab training alone doesn’t make a flat stomach
You can do as many crunches and sit-ups as you want – it will give you a toned stomach, but it won’t always be visible. Because the abdominal exercises only train this specific muscle area. As a result, the subcutaneous fat over the anterior abdominal muscles does not automatically melt.
“The most common fallacy is that isolated abdominal muscle training can break down local fat deposits. This is nonsense, there is no such thing as local fat burning,” says Schumacher. “In order to lose weight on the abdomen and thus make the abdominal muscles visible, the body fat percentage of the entire body must be reduced.” This works best with a mix of full body training, endurance exercise, and a healthy diet. “In addition to this, you should of course also train your abdominal muscles,” says the trainer.
So the abdominal muscles become visible
The lower your body fat percentage, the more clearly the fine contours of the abdominal muscles become apparent. This is only possible for women with a body fat percentage of around 18 percent. Because women generally have a slightly higher percentage of body fat than men, they have to work particularly hard for visible abdominal muscles.
In order to reduce the body fat percentage, the body’s basal metabolic rate must be increased. That is the amount of energy that you burn up each day. The most effective method for this is an intensive full-body workout in which you build up more muscle mass – the 4 basic exercises of squats, deadlifts, rows and bench press should not be neglected.
The great thing about these exercises is that they activate large muscle groups and thus burn a lot of energy. In addition, the core is always trained with squats, deadlifts and many other exercises. “The trunk is the trump card – and on the way to a defined core, it is much more effective than endless crunches,” says Schumacher.
Which food is good for the abs?
Diet also plays a decisive role: in order to reduce the percentage of body fat, many rely on a low-calorie diet, because low carb is considered a kilo killer. “I thought that was too short for me,” says the trainer. “The only way to get strong muscles is through a low-calorie diet!” In general, the fitness trainer advocates focusing less on appearance and more on performance for the stomach.
“Sure, with ‘Abs made in the kitchen’ you can bring yourself to a low body fat percentage and then enjoy a slim stomach, but what do you get from a flat stomach ?! Much better are really powerful muscles that will keep you going in the long term support in everyday life “. This is only possible with intensive training – and then a few carbohydrates and, above all, lots of good proteins are allowed on the plate.
The 9 most important rules for abdominal training
1. Avoid a hollow back
“If the muscles are too weak, many tend to fall into the hollow back when doing abdominal exercises,” explains Schumacher. You can counteract this by pushing your hips forward, pulling in your belly button and maintaining this tension throughout the exercise.
2. Keep breathing
“Do not hold your breath during the exercise, otherwise the abdominal muscles will cramp quickly,” says the trainer. So always keep breathing and exhale loudly, especially during explosive exercises.
3. Maintain tension
“A mistake that many people make, not just with abs, is that they don’t tense the core properly. This improves the performance of almost any exercise.”
4. Strengthen your back too
“A well-trained stomach also requires a strong opponent! If the stomach is strong but the back is weak, bad posture can quickly occur.”
5. Exercise the whole body
Crunches and sit-ups are good for defining your stomach, but you shouldn’t neglect endurance training and strength training for the whole body.
6. Exercise regularly
Those who consistently do their abdominal muscle training will logically achieve the greatest success. However, your challenges should grow with the muscle. That means: Increase the load on your abdominal muscles gently but continuously during training.
7. Muscles need recovery
It usually takes between 48 and 72 hours for a muscle to regenerate. Then he is resilient again for the next round.
8. Bring variety to abdominal muscle training
The body quickly gets used to stress. Therefore, the exercises for the abdominal muscles should always vary and target as many muscle fibers as possible.
9. Listen to your own body
A final rule for efficient abdominal muscle training is: Perceive discomfort and pain during training as warning signals! If you are unsure whether a certain workout or exercise is not healthy, you should clarify this with an experienced trainer.
Abs training is hard work
If your abdominal muscles simply do not show themselves despite hard training and a disciplined diet, do not drive yourself crazy: “A large part is simply in the genes. One has full hair, the other a great bottom and some well-developed abdominal muscles,” says Schumacher.
In any case, one thing is certain: working out the abs is hard work. Anyone who has worked their stomach in this way can also celebrate a little with an abs selfie.