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Which of us does not want to have a athletic, toned tummy? Yes to all. This desire is especially exacerbated in the approaching beach season. However, not everyone knows that “pumped up press” is not only beautiful, but also useful! Well-developed abdominal muscles are a matter of aesthetics and overall health of the body.

Strong muscles of the cortex, which, among others, include the transverse, rectus and oblique muscles of the abdomen, protect the back and spine from unnecessary stress, protect the internal organs. A strong press is the key to a healthy back and beautiful posture.

But first things first. In this article we will look at the top of popular abs exercises and evaluate their effectiveness, as well as find out which correct, rigid and simple complexes you need to do to build muscle.

Why you need it: functions

In our article "Press": myth or reality? we discussed in detail the structure of the muscle corset of the abdomen. In this article you will find a detailed description of the muscles. In this we will only repeat them.

The abdominal cavity consists of the following muscle groups:

  1. Straight muscle The longest muscle. Its main purpose is to bend the body forward in the lumbar region. It is this muscle that is implied by saying “press”.
  2. Outdoor oblique Superficial oblique muscle serves to bend the spinal column, pull down the chest and rotate the body in the opposite direction with a one-sided contraction. When turning to the right, the left muscle is included in the work, when turning to the left - the right muscle. The external oblique is the largest muscle, and therefore the most visible of the three flat muscles.
  3. Inner oblique The main anatomical function is the same as that of the external oblique - the rotation of the body, only the rotation is carried out not in the opposite, but in the direction on which the muscles are located.
  4. Transverse muscle It forms the deepest layer of the muscles of the abdominal wall. She will not affect the appearance of the cubes, however, her position is no less important, she performs the function of supporting the internal organs.

So, we are familiar with the structure. But why do we need a press at all? Is it really for beauty and sporty appearance? Of course not 🙂

  • Formative and protective function. The front abdominal wall covers and protects the organs of the abdominal cavity and pelvis, otherwise a strong blow to the stomach could significantly damage our internal organs.
  • The muscles of the abdominal wall maintain intra-abdominal pressure. The abdominal muscles withstand pressure, which can vary depending on the degree of filling of the stomach and intestines, the nature of the food, etc.
  • Muscles of the abdominal wall (this group includes not only the muscles of the press, but also the muscles of the lower back: square, lumbar) perform the function of a corset, which supports the spine in the correct position when performing various movements and exercises.

Training role

Most exercises that you perform with a large working weight and on low repsshould be performed on breath holding. Those. you breathe in during the negative phase of the exercise, followed by holding your breath, then you pull / squat / press and exhale after passing the most difficult point. Why is it so right? By the way, most likely you are doing just that, because it eases your suffering.

If you hold your breath after taking a deep breath with your chest (especially if you tighten the muscles of the abdomen and buttocks), you stabilize the lumbar spine from two sides: from the back, by tension of the muscles of the extensor spine, and from the side of the abdomen and chest, by increased intrathoracic pressure, the so-called " stiff chest, which prevents you from stooping your upper back.

See how the muscles of the back and abdomen tighten when doing deadlift!

This mechanism is extremely important in the process of weight lifting! It insures you against spinal injuries. Therefore, you should always perceive the back and abdominal muscles in a complex: as a muscular torso corset that protects the spine. You do not need these fears of a "wide waist" and refusal to pump these muscles. For example, the transverse abdominal muscle does not allow the “anterolateral abdominal wall and internal organs to fall out”. With insufficient tonus of this muscle and with developed rectus and oblique muscles of the abdomen, the hypertrophic front wall of the abdomen in this case takes a rounded shape, i.e. a small "abdomen" is formed.

Of course, this cosmetic defect is unpleasant, but the main problem with the underdevelopment of the transverse abdominal muscle is that it cannot perform its main function: fixing organs and providing optimal intra-abdominal pressure. Those. in fact, because of this, the support system for organs and spine is under load! And this, of course, injuries, protrusions and hernias!

We can compensate for the underdevelopment of some muscles by putting on a weight lifting belt, thus creating external pressure on the abdominal walls and thereby increasing intra-abdominal pressure, but this is half measure, especially since it is the abuse of the belt that can lead to hypotonicity of these muscles.

How to download

As we know, all exercises are divided into basic and isolated. Exercises for the abdominal press were no exception.

These are all traditional exercises related to raising the torso and legs from lying on the floor / bench for loading the press, hanging on the bar or resting on the uneven bars (the final position in all these exercises is always ideally touching the hips of the chest or, as often happens, although the proximity of the hips and chest).

With a small amplitude of flexion-extension of the spine in these exercises, a large amplitude of flexion-extension in the hip joint is noted.

Speaking about training the press, it would be criminal to circumvent the topic of planks. This exercise is extremely effective not only for your muscles, but also for willpower. In the article “How to do the exercise bar: analysis of equipment with photos»We examined in detail the nuances and difficulties, as well as the various types of this exercise.

What muscles are involved

  • exercises will affect straight, external and internal oblique muscles of the abdomen

  • iliopsoas muscles. The hip is bent in the hip joint, and with a fixed hip, the pelvis is tilted along with the body forward in the hip joint,
  • rectus femoris muscles. Also tilts the pelvis, and with it the whole body forward with a fixed hip, and with a fixed pelvis raises the hip,
  • tensioners of the wide fascia of the thigh (bends and rotates the thigh inward)
  • tailor thigh muscles (bend and rotate the thigh out)
  • adducting thigh muscles.
  • The best in the gym and at home

    Lifting the body (bending) on ​​the floor, on an inclined bench

    This exercise effectively works out the entire complex of abdominal muscles and, in addition, the back, but it gets the greatest load upper and middle section of the rectus muscle. This exercise is very similar to twisting, but unlike them, involves lifting the middle part of the body from the floor.

    How to do it right:

    1. we lie down on our back, press our lower back to the floor, bend our legs a little at the knees. You can complicate this exercise by lifting your legs above the floor to an angle of 45-60 degrees, but not to a right angle, otherwise the whole point of lifting them disappears. You can cross them. Hands are fixed to the head or chest. Raise elbows to the sides.
    2. start bending the torso from the head. Chin stretch to the chest. Such execution is enough for someone. For someone, you need to go further so that after your head and neck your back comes off the floor.
    3. get to the maximum point possible for you and go back.

    In the raises of the trunk, the muscles of the anterolateral abdominal wall first contract — bending the spine (the lower back remains pressed against the floor / bench surface), and then the hip flexors “pick up” - lifting the trunk with the bent spine (the lower back breaks off the surface) until the chest comes into contact with the hips or around Togo. This is the full amplitude of the movement, thus consisting of two phases.

    Harm: body lifts load the lower back exactly when it is in the most vulnerable, rounded position. The ileo-lumbar muscles compress the vertebrae of the lumbar during lifting, and with excessive and constant load during twisting (many people like to drill these exercises in 3 sets of 30-40 times), the pressure on the vertebrae increases, which threatens to injure the lumbar.

    Rating: As you already understood, only the first phase affects the “press”.

    Leg lift (on the floor, incline bench)

    This is a lightweight version of raising the legs in the hang - these are the 2 best exercises on the lower part of the muscle, for the so-called lower press. Abdominal exercise can easily be done at home.

    Synergists: hip flexors.
    Antagonists: extensors of the spine.
    Stabilizers: deep abdominal muscles (transverse), oblique abdominal muscles, partially back muscles, shoulder girdle.

    Technique of the exercise:

    Starting position - lying on your back, lower back pressed to the floor. The arms are extended along the body or in the lock behind the head. Beginners can raise their heads. Legs together. We start lifting both legs to the chest, hold in the raised state for a pause of 1-2 seconds and lower it back. If you lower your heels to the floor, then when you touch the floor, your abs is resting. If you do not lower your heels onto a horizontal surface, leaving 1-2 cm to it, then your abs is under tension all the time.

    It’s basically the same as in the torso raises, only in the reverse sequence: first the hip flexors are reduced - lifting the hips to a position of approximately right angle with the torso (the lower back remains pressed to the surface of the bench or floor), and then, when the lower back starts to move away from the surface - further movement up to the contact of the hips with the chest is carried out due to flexion of the spine by the muscles of the anterolateral wall of the abdomen. Yes, the same eggs, only a side view of two phases, only in reverse order.

    Harm: leg lifts heavily load the lower back and with poor muscle development you may experience pain.

    Rating: As you already understood, only the second phase affects the “press”.

    Raises the legs or knees to the chest in the hanger, on the horizontal bar or the emphasis on the uneven bars

    The most difficult exercise to pump up the press!

    The main muscle: rectus abdominis, obliques.
    Additional muscles: rectus femoris muscle.
    Stabilizing muscles: biceps of the shoulder and triceps of the shoulder, muscles-rotators of the shoulders, anterior dentate, rhomboid muscles and lower parts of the trapezius muscles, sternocleidomastoid muscle, abdominal muscle group.

    The technique of lifting legs in the hang:

    1. go to the horizontal bar and hang on it. Grip straight, arms straight at shoulder width or slightly wider. The legs are straight and slightly bent back. For beginners, the initial version of lifting the legs in the hanging may be lifting not straight legs, but bent at the knees.
    2. inhale, hold your breath and start raising your legs up to the maximum possible height. Exhale as you complete this part of the movement. At the end point of the trajectory, linger for 1-2 counts, then slowly and uncontrollably lower your legs. Try not to use the forces of inertia in motion, and also not to swing the case.

    All the options for raising straight legs (in the hang, on the bars, on the bench, on the floor) are not made with absolutely straight, but with legs slightly bent at the knees. This is necessary to relieve tension from the spine and prevent its excessive bending, which can lead to injury.

    Very heavy and outrageously similar to previous exercises. First, the hip flexors raise the legs to the right angle of the thigh with the torso, then the muscles of the anterolateral abdominal wall contracting the spine, contracting, and the hips are near the chest. Of course, the targeted muscle in this exercise is still the iliac-lumbar muscle.

    Verdict:I think you already understood that the problem is the same as in the previous exercises. In the initial stage of movement, the press practically does not work, helping the hip flexor muscles. And only after exceeding an angle of 45 degrees does the press begin to turn on actively and load qualitatively, it takes on the main burden of raising the legs. Thus, in order to continue to act on the press, it is necessary to lengthen the amplitude of movement due to the maximum possible lifting of the legs.

    Conclusion: Although complex exercises load the abdominal muscles, they are rather traumatic for the back muscles and should be performed with caution. The back muscles need to be developed, since, for example, the ileo-lumbar is an important muscle of the posture and with its tone provides lumbar lordosis and normal pelvic inclination.

    So if you only swing the press, then upset the balance between the muscles, which subsequently leads to a violation of posture.

    If you choose only isolated exercises, then you should do them without fanaticism, do not overdo it so as not to upset the natural balance of muscles. And also, for the same reasons, do not forget to train the muscles that extend the spine. For this purpose, the following exercises are more suitable:

    Remember that the abdominal and back muscles are the muscle corset of your body. Strong muscles will only prevent health problems of the spine and internal organs and give the body strength, speed of movement, and flexibility. Exercise your muscles correctly and if you have even minimal problems, be sure to consult your doctor. And most importantly, carefully listen to your feelings during and after training, not being afraid to adjust your individual program in accordance with the recommendations of a specialist and your own well-being.

    Complex insulating

    Isolating exercises for the press - this is all isolated (cap) flexion / twisting, associated only with flexion of the spine, without movements in the hip joints. Yes, you thought correctly, took the traditional “basic” exercises and simply excluded from them the phase of the hip flexor work - it turned out a one-joint, isolated exercise.

    As a result, there is only one phase in the exercises - the rapprochement of the chest and pelvis through flexion of the spine, in its short amplitude of motion. Only anterolateral abdominal wall muscles work. Accordingly, the possibility of injury is practically excluded!

    Classic example - twisting on the floor

    In this exercise, no movements in the hip joints occur, and the lower back is always pressed to the floor, so only the abdominal muscles work.

    The rectus abdominis muscle, pectoral (pectoralis major), external / internal oblique, transverse abdominal muscles are involved.

    Twisting Technique:

      Lie on your back and bend your knees at a right angle. Twisting (crunching) can be done with both straight legs and bent. It is more difficult to do with bent ones, because when bending the legs, the press is already automatically slightly reduced. Place your feet on the floor with your hands behind your head. Weight (for example, a disk from the bar) can be held both on the chest and behind the head.

    notethat isolated twisting on the floor with a disk from the barbell on the chest is the only and most effective abdominal exercises that are absolutely safe for the spine and really effective for increasing strength and hypertrophy of the abdominal muscles, tear the shoulder blades off the floor as the muscles of the abdomen exhale, in the end point of the trajectory linger for 1-2 counts, while holding muscle contraction. Try not to bend your back, but as if to bring together two imaginary points above and below the abdomen. Do not filon, try to twist to the maximum as if you want to touch your knees with your forehead. But remember, the more you tear your lower back off the floor, the more your ileo-lumbar muscle will be included in the work,

    An important point: do not put your hands in the lock behind your head and don't pull your neck, helping the body to rise from a prone position. And also remember, when throwing legs to the surface or keeping them on weight, the hip flexor muscles are connected, and the load is smeared.

    This exercise for the press is well suited for the home. In addition, crunching is the best exercise for the press for one reason: it is a very varied exercise, they can be performed: in the Roman chair, with legs raised up, on the fitball, on the block with a rope handle - the essence is one and the same.

    Reverse twists on the floor / bench

    In this exercise, the lower back is torn off the floor, and the top of the torso remains pressed to the surface, but as before, almost no movements in the hip joints (they and knees, are bent and motionless) do not occur - only the bending of the spine.

    The main work is done by: straight (especially the lower part) and oblique muscles of the abdomen.
    Additionally included: iliopsoas muscle, quadriceps, back muscles.

    Technique of reverse twisting:

    1. lie with your back on the mat / bench. Bend your knees at an angle of 90 degrees. Place your hands along the body with your palms down. This is the starting position. Of course, the position of the legs and arms does not matter for the contraction of the abs. But remember: the farther the heels are from the pelvis, and the palms from the head, the more difficult it is to twist. The closer they are to the pelvis, the correspondingly easier!
    2. вдохните и на выдохе, оторвав бедра от пола, подведите ноги к груди. In order to effectively perform reverse twisting, imagine that the body “ends with the buttocks” and you need to roll it into a tube from the buttocks to the head. Those. do not lift the pelvis up, but twist it to the head. Lightly touch the knees of the chest and linger in this reduced position for 1-2 accounts. Return to starting position.

    You can perform twisting both simply on the floor at home, and lying on an inclined bench, lying on a fitball or with a ball between your legs. Do not forget to use the principle of progression of loads - over time, complicate this exercise, and then move on to a more advanced level - lifting your legs in the hang.

    Reverse twist in hanging on the crossbar

    A very effective exercise - read an article about it: "Raising the legs in the hang".

    Upper, middle and lower

    Regarding training and exercises on the lower and middle, as well as for the upper part of the rectus abdominis muscle: it is theoretically possible to contract different parts of the rectus muscle (for this muscle and is divided by tendon jumpers), however, in practice, when performing any exercises on the rectus abdominis muscle in full amplitude , regardless of what brings together - chest and pelvis or pelvis and chest (lifting the trunk or legs / twisting or back twisting for the press), the entire muscle contracts and to isolate the top, bottom or middle is almost unlikely.

    Yes, this is not necessary, because contrary to the traditional misconception, the only way to get cubes on the abdomen is to reduce subcutaneous fat in this area, which is achieved only by “general” loads and diet.

    Hand position

    Putting your hands behind your head creates unnecessary tension for the lower muscles of the back and neck. When doing any lifting or twisting the body with hands behind your head, do not stand no need to clasp your fingers in the back of the head - with general stress during the exercise, people of the last strength perform the last repetition and pull themselves by the neck with their hands (helping themselves) and thereby injure the vertebrae. Hands should be freely held near the head, touching the fingers behind the ears.

    Muscle burning

    All exercises for the press are performed in 3-4 approaches. But not for 20-30 repetitions as all sorts of stupid publics in VK advise, not 6-8 times after burning in the press, 8-15 high-quality, thoughtful repetitions are enough. Most people are confident that burning in the muscles is a sign of successful growth and productivity of the training.

    Burning is caused by lactic acid, a by-product of glycogen metabolism in muscle tissues, which is not related to muscle growth and is the result of a large number of repetitions.

    The more repetitions you perform, the more acid builds up in the working muscle. Not only does this prevent the creation of sufficient overload, but a high concentration of acid also causes catabolic processes in muscle tissue, which ultimately leads to a delay in recovery processes. This is a common mistake that constantly occurs in the halls. People try to insert a “burning” set into their every training session and do not know that it is harmful to the muscles and they achieve the opposite effect from their desire.

    Do you like burning Light a match.


    The exercises on the press are dark, one more sophisticated than the other. It is important to understand their anatomical and biomechanical nature, i.e. theoretical basis on which they are all built. Then significant and non-essential differences, methods and means of performing the same or different exercises will become clear.

    Abdominal training is grateful in every way, because It supports and maintains the health of the spine and the correct position of the internal organs.

    How to do this workout?

    Perform the specified number of sets and repetitions of each exercise sequentially, resting 45-60 seconds between sets.

    Perform the entire complex 3-4 times a week with one-day breaks.

    You can also choose your favorite exercises and do them after cardio workouts or add them to your usual strength training set.

    Cycle: Perform sequentially one approach of each exercise from the complex, without interruptions. After completing the exercises, repeat the cycle again - performing one approach of each exercise without interruption. Continue until the total set number of approaches has been completed.

    Strength: Complete all exercise approaches at a time, intermittently. Then move on to the next exercise.

    Superset: Two exercises are performed sequentially (as a cycle) without interruption.

    Abdominal Exercise

    In addition, he trains the muscles of the anterior abdominal wall, activates the function of the pelvic organs, improves the functioning of the conductors of the spinal cord, increases the electrical intensity of the nerve conductors, increases the level of metabolic processes, improves the quality of amino acid and protein metabolism, and cleanses the body of toxins.

    Exercise 1

    Starting position - standing, feet shoulder width apart, arms on the belt.

    Push the chest forward, reduce the shoulder blades. On inspiration (5 seconds), inflate the stomach, pause (5 seconds), while exhaling (10 seconds), draw in the stomach. Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth.

    Perform the exercise with some effort. Follow your posture. Perform 3 minutes.

    Exercise helps to normalize the influx and outflow of lymph and blood in the abdominal organs, improves pancreatic juice secretionglands of the stomach and intestines, restores the function of sphincters between the stomach and duodenumas well as the sphincter of Oddi, has powerful neurovegetative stimulating effect on the nerve plexuses of the abdominal cavity and a polarizing effect on the structures of the brain and the conductors of the spinal cord.

    Exercise 2

    The starting position is the same.

    The front abdominal wall of the abdomen works. On the count of “times”, draw in the stomach with force, pause (2 seconds), on the count of “two”, puff out the stomach with force, again a pause (1 second).

    Perform 2 minutes. Follow your posture.

    This exercise has a pushing effect and thereby stimulates the functioning of the vessels of the abdominal cavity, and promotes jerky excretion of gastrointestinal juices and rhythmic polarization of the cerebral cortex.

    Working out the nerve plexuses of the abdominal cavity, as well as the intestines, pancreas and liver, and activates the pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid.

    Exercise 3

    The starting position is the same.

    On inspiration, the front wall of the abdomen is sequentially protruded from top to bottom: at the expense of “one” - the upper third, at the expense of “two” - the middle, at the expense of “three” - the lower. Pause - 5 seconds.

    On exhalation, the lower third of the abdomen is first slowly retracted (into the “one” account), then the middle one (into the “two” account) and, finally, the upper one (into the “three” account). Pause - 6 seconds.

    Perform 2-3 minutes. To control, put your right hand on your stomach.

    Exercise promotes wave-like pumping of fluids in the abdominal cavity. When the abdomen is pulled in, the blood and lymph are gradually expelled from the abdominal organs under high pressure. When the abdomen protrudes under high pressure, the capillary-venous system of the pelvic organs and abdominal cavity is fully pumped.

    Exercise improves metabolic processes in the abdominal organs, eliminates stagnation in themnormalizes their functions, promotes resorption of primary adhesive processes.

    Exercise 4 (“3 x 6”)

    1. Exhale gently, counting to 6 (retract the abdomen so as to feel pain).

    2. Do not breathe, counting to 6 (belly remains retracted).

    3. Gently inhale, counting to 6-10 (relax stomach).

    Perform all exercises 2 times a day half an hour before meals and 1 hour after meals in the morning and evening. published by

    Alexander Sukhanov "Proper treatment of colds and flu as the prevention of incurable diseases"

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