Your rectus abdominus muscles are those that run from your chest to your pelvic bone in the middle of your stomach. You may commonly refer to them as your вЂњabs.вЂќ These muscles are responsible for maintaining your posture and the position of your pelvis. By performing exercises to improve the rectus abdominus muscles, you can achieve defined abdominal muscles and improve your posture. Speak to your doctor before beginning an exercise program to ensure you are in good health to train your abdominal muscles.
One of the most basic, yet effective, exercises is to target the rectus abdominus muscles is the crunch. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head and contract your abdominal muscles to lift your head and shoulders slightly off the ground. Slowly lower your body back toward the ground and repeat as desired -- typically for 15 repetitions. To increase the exercise's difficulty, you can perform it on a stability ball or decline bench.
Sometimes training your abdominus muscles requires balance instead of movement. This is the case for the front plank exercise. To perform this exercise, lie on your stomach with your toes on the ground with your feet flexed. Place your forearms on the floor with your upper arm extending directly from your shoulder, lifting your body off the ground. Focus on keeping your back straight and your head in a neutral position -- imagine you are creating a straight line from the tip of your head to your toes. Take deep breaths in and out as you use your abdominal muscles to hover your body over the floor. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, then lower your body. Repeat two to three times.
Twisting motions work the rectus abdominus muscles and the oblique muscles on the sides of your stomach. One example is the standing medicine ball rotation, according to the American Council on Exercise. Hold a weighted medicine ball in front of your chest. Keeping your hips facing forward, inhale and concentrate on tightening your stomach muscles as you twist your upper body toward the left side. Breathe out and slowly twist your body as you return to your starting position. Inhale as you twist to your right side. Repeat 10 times on each side.
While it can be tempting to train the rectus abdominus muscles every day in the hopes of achieving the coveted вЂњsix-packвЂќ for defined abs, this grueling schedule is not necessary to reap muscle-building benefits. MayoClinic.com recommends engaging in strength training sessions two to three times per week for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. In addition to these training sessions, engage in 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity. Doing so helps burn calories so you can see results from training your rectus abdominus.