The straight abdominal muscle (rectus abdominis) is divided into two parts: the upper straight abdominal muscle (also called sixpack) and the lower straight abdominal muscle , which also belongs to the six-pack, but is not directly visible. The upper part is divided into six distinct muscle groups by tendons. Incidentally, it is not possible to train individual parts of the abdominal muscles completely in isolation. The core and abdominal muscles work as a muscle unit. Incidentally, this muscle is responsible for allowing you to bend your upper body forward.
This selection of abdominal muscle exercises for the upper and lower part is particularly effective, protects your back and is variable in intensity.
Exercises: Upper straight abdominal muscle
You lie on your back, feet hip-width apart on the floor and your legs slightly bent. Place your hands on the back of your head, tense your abdominal muscles and lift your upper body until your shoulder blades are no longer touching the floor. Breathe in at the same time. The upper body should not be raised more than 45 ° to the floor, otherwise the muscle tension will break off. Then lower the upper body to the floor without the shoulder blades touching the floor. The classic crunch can also be performed with the feet raised if the lower, taut abdominal muscles are more stressed. (Beginner)
- Crunch on the incline bench
Basic exercise as in the classic crunch, but the exercise is performed in a negative supine position. The feet are fixed under a bracket. A controlled and slow execution guarantees maximum effectiveness. The intensity can be increased by placing light weights in front of the chest. (Beginners and advanced)
- Lateral / diagonal crunch
This exercise mainly uses the lateral abdominal muscles. The starting position is the same as with crunch, but you place your right ankle on your left knee. Now lift your upper body (fingertips behind your ears) and try to touch the inside of your right knee with your left elbow. The right upper arm remains fixed on the floor. Then switch sides after a few repetitions. (Beginners and advanced)
- Extend the upper body to the toes
Lie on your back, legs slightly bent but straight up. The arms are also stretched vertically in the most relaxed position possible, the shoulders still touching the ground. Now the shoulders and upper body are lifted off the floor with the help of the upper straight abdominal muscles and an attempt is made to reach the tip of the toe with the extended fingers. Hold in the final position for 1-2 seconds and then return to the starting position. During this exercise, please pay attention to the position of the coccyx and use a soft pad if necessary. .
The abdominal press can be performed lying down or sitting upright. When positioned correctly on the device, the starting position should be clear. This exercise also puts a lot of strain on the lower abdominal muscles. Many beginners make the mistake and give strong support with their arms. The arm fixation is only used to keep the upper body in the correct position and is not an invitation to put excessive weight on the abdominal press in order to exercise the arms! A little tip: Don’t fix the whole hand, just grasp the fixation with 2 fingers. This will prevent you from working too much with your arms. Slow execution is particularly important here. To achieve maximum intensity, hold the point of highest contraction for a few seconds and then go back to about 90% from the starting position, but do not stop. (Beginners and advanced)
Lower straight abdominal muscle
The basic exercise in effective six-pack training is the leg raise. In the starting position you lie relaxed on your back with your legs straight. Depending on the surface (weight bench or floor) you fix your upper body with your arms on the weight bench or place your palms next to your buttocks. Now you lift the legs closed until they are aligned about 45 ° to the floor. Hold the position at the maximum contraction for a few 1-2 seconds and slowly perform the negative movement. The legs are not lowered after one repetition. Avoid hollow back. In order to drive the intensity of the leg lift to the limit, you have to bring your legs to about 90% of the starting position shortly before reaching the maximum number of repetitions (goal is approx. 15 repetitions) and hold this position for another 10-15 seconds with tense muscles. (Beginners and advanced)
The execution and starting position is analogous to the classic leg raises. In this exercise variation, the legs are also closed and extended about 45 ° to the side. Do this without a lot of momentum, otherwise you will get a slight hollow back. A secure hold can possibly be ensured by broad support with the palms of the hands, otherwise there is a risk of loss of balance. Depending on your physical fitness, we recommend a “1-2-3-2-1 repetition pattern”. This means the following: From the starting position, the legs are first pivoted to the left (position 1), then a repetition of classic leg raises in the middle (position 2) and then pivoted to the right (position 3) and then back to the middle etc. One position counts as a rep, with a goal of about 30 repetitions. In the second set you start on the right. This exercise also works the lateral abdominal muscles. (Advanced)
- Leg raises / knee raises on parallel bars
The hands are fixed on the handle, the forearms form a 90 ° angle with the upper arms. The legs hang perpendicular to the floor. Now lift your legs or knees so that there is an approx. 90 ° angle between your legs or thighs and your upper body. Hold the position for a few seconds and then repeat. 15-20 repetitions are to be regarded as a reference value. (Beginner)
- Pull-ups with straight legs / leg raises on the bar
The absolute killer exercise takes place on the pull-up bar. Challenging pull ups with legs bent at 90 ° are not for beginners. The exercise intensity can be further increased with additional weights on the thighs. Leg raises on the bar are no less effective, but a little easier to do. To do this, hang loosely on the pull-up bar and lift your straight legs towards the ceiling. The number of repetitions depends on the individual training progress (advanced and professional).
With your almost unstoppable six-pack motivation, you should of course also think about an adequate diet that promotes the increased oxidation of fatty acids. Ideally, you can use a fat burning diet plan to burn off excess fat stores on your stomach. So your abdominal muscles become visible step by step!
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