Who doesn’t want six-pack abs? Having a chiseled set of abs is a universal fitness goal; one that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional. If you’re chasing after six-pack abs before beach season arrives, it’s important to form a mind-to-muscle connection. Knowing how muscles form can help to speed up your progress.
Muscles that Form Six-Pack Abs
The term six-pack refers to the front of your abs, but this is one of several muscles that you need to focus on during workouts. Here is an easy-to-understand guide to your core musculature or each area you have to target during ab workouts:
Rectus Abdominis: Found on the front of your stomach, this is the abdominal wall that is commonly referred to as the six pack or abs. When you flex your abs, you’re activating the rectus abdominis.
Transverse Abdominis: Underneath the rectus abdominis, you have a layer of deep muscle tissue called the transverse abdominis. It plays an important role in protecting your organs, and any time you suck in your stomach, you’re activating this muscle.
External Obliques: On the side of your ribs, you’ll find your external obliques.
Internal Obliques: Beneath your external obliques you have a layer of deep muscle tissue called the internal obliques. They help with twisting, turning, and side bending.
Extensors: Dive a little deeper into the core musculature and you’ll find a group of connective tissue called extensors. Important for sitting up straight, the extensors make it possible to perform exercises for the rectus abdominis and obliques.
Flexors: Providing balance to the core extensors are the flexors. This opposing group of connective tissue allows for full range of motion throughout the core, especially the rectus abdominis.
Focus on the Core, Not the Abs
Although the rectus abdominis gets all the glory, you must focus on building the core as a whole unit. Isolating the front abdominal wall won’t just look silly, but it can promote overcompensation issues with one muscle picking up the slack for another.
Performing core-focused – not ab-focused – exercises prevents overcompensation, supports functional strength, and builds a well-rounded set of abs.
Exercises for Each Part of the Six-Pack
- Rectus Abdominis: Myotatic Crunch
- Transverse Abdominis: Seated Vacuum
- External Obliques: Side Crunch
- Internal Obliques: Woodchopper
- Extensors: Lying Bridge
- Flexors: Lying Leg Lifts
Remember to be consistent with your six-pack abs workout. Aim for three sessions per week, and focus on healthy-eating habits.
Please Note: Before following exercise routines or changing your fitness regime, please consult a certified fitness professional. Always talk with a medical practitioner before following dietary advice or taking supplements.