The abdominal muscles (or ‘abs’) are basically comprised of three parts: the rectus abdominus (commonly called ‘the six pack’), obliques (internal and external), and transverse abdominus. Strong abs (in conjunction with the muscles of the lower back) are essential for performing many physical activities that require turning, twisting, and bending. The abdominal muscles also play a crucial role in stabilizing the spine, preventing the occurrence of lower back pain.
These days, many people obsess over the appearance of their abs, so much so that a large volume of their workout is focused on crunches, ‘ab’ lounging, ‘ab’ rowing, and ‘ab’ rocking. The fact of the matter is that the look of a ‘six pack’ is impossible if excess fat is present in the abdominal region.
The abdominal region is comprised of an external layer of skin, an internal layer of subcutaneous fat (just underneath the skin), and then there are the abdominal muscles. There is also a deeper layer of fat tissue located just behind the abdominal muscles, known as visceral fat, which surrounds internal organs in the abdomen. Excess weight gain involves an accumulation of subcutaneous fat distributed throughout the entire body giving the appearance of ‘flab’ while an accumulation of visceral fat causes the abdominal muscles to protrude giving the appearance of a ‘paunch’ or ‘gut’.
Given these facts, reducing body fat in conjunction with an abdominal workout routine is the best way to improve the appearance of the abs. In addition, strong and developed abdominal muscles are essential for maintaining balance, good posture, and overall spinal stability.
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