The Exercise Physiologists at Peak Performance know all the muscles in the body, but which ones are our favorite?! Every week we will feature a different muscle- so you guys get an anatomy lesson and learn how to work that muscle!
Brandon, what’s your favorite muscle?
The Rectus Abdominis, better known to most as “the abs.” However, this is only one of many abdominal muscles.
Where is it located?
This muscle runs along the front of the abdomen starting down at the pubic symphysis and connecting up to the breastbone and cartilage of the ribs.
What does this muscle do?
The rectus abdominis is responsible for flexion of the lumbar spine. It also tilts the pelvis forward improving the mechanical positioning of the postural muscles to help take the daily stress off the lower back. If the abdominal muscles are weak, it can create high stress on the postural and other lower back muscles. This may cause difficulties or inefficiencies with squats, deadlifts and standing shoulder presses. It is important to train the abdominal wall for all athletes, as well as, the general population.
What’s a good exercise for the rectus abdominis?
My favorite corrective exercise is the Swiss ball crunch. Make sure that the ball is properly inflated in order to maintain its curvature under the lower back. If the ball flattens during the crunch, the lumbar spine will flex to a point that the rectus abdominis loses its mechanical advantage. When the ball is firm enough, the lumbar spine remains curved in its neutral arc. Begin seated on the Swiss ball and engage your core. While maintaining a neutral spine, lift your torso up keeping the chest up to the ceiling. Slowly come back down one vertebrae at a time!