So what exactly are abs?
It may seem like the most obvious question in the world, but trust me, without at least a basic understanding of the physiology and makeup of this particular muscle group, your goal of well-defined six pack abs will remain a distant dream.
There are six groups of abdominal muscles, hence the term six pack, and they make up the core abdominal muscles. The abdominals start just below the rib cage and work their way down to the pelvic area. On either side of your torso are two pairs of abdominals known as external and internal obliques. These muscles are there primarily to support the movement of the spine from side to side and the flexing of the spine back and forth. Your obliques are absolutely critical in your quest for strong abs as they play a key role in core strength development, but they will not be part of your visible six pack as they are impossible to see.
Now, an extremely important fact to remember when working to develop strong abs is that although the abs are made up of different groups of muscles, the abdominal area is in fact a muscle known as the Rectus Abdominus. Therefore, it is physiologically impossible to completely isolate a single area of your abs, because by definition when you work your abs you will be working all of them. Sometimes you will hear people say “I need to work my lower abs” or something similar. This is simply not possible without working the rest of the muscle group at the same time.
The third and last group of abdominal muscles is known as the transverse muscles of the abdomen. Again, just like the internal and external obliques, they are not visible from the outside, yet they play just as much of a role in your plan for tight abs as the other abdominal muscles. They are primarily responsible for ensuring correct body posture. The best analogy would be to think of your transverse abdomen as your own natural weight belt.
I think it’s vitally important to emphasize at this point how vital strong abs can be. Strong abs are a wonderful goal to work on, not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also because strong, well-defined abs will go a long way toward reducing problems in later life. Weak abdominal muscles will contribute to problems like low back pain or any other postural problem. Strong abs will go a long way to reducing the risk of injury when training, or in fact, it will only help you build core strength when performing daily activities.
It is also important to remember that abs are muscles like any other and as such will require a recovery period after a workout. However, the good news is that given their unique fiber composition, they actually require slightly less recovery time than most other major muscle groups. Tagline your workout plan around your end goal, whether it’s just building strength or building some amazing abs, and stick with it. Good luck.
Now that you have a basic understanding of abdominal anatomy, you will be better equipped to get abs quickly