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Chiseled Abs

It seems that the whole world argues about whether big muscular men are attractive. Some believe that a sinuous (almost skinny) body of a runner looks best. While others look at the swimmer's build and wish to replicate it for themselves. And, yet another group looks at the massive bodybuilder physique and find that appealing. Regardless of which body type you dig on, there is one thing we can all agree on:

A man with chiseled abs simply portrays a strong core, physically fit body, and looks good to boot.

Before I dive into how you can reach a desired goal of having killer abs, I must insert my painful disclaimer...

WARNING: Working out and exercise can be dangerous. You can be seriously injured, crippled or killed

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. The opinions, stories and ideas presented here are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. I strongly recommend getting a complete physical and doctors approval before starting any type of strenuous activity. Especially if you are over the age of 40 or have high blood pressure, genetic heart problems or conditions, or elevated cholesterol levels. If you choose to workout, you do so at your own risk. In addition, working out requires patience, diligence, and above all else, using good form. Never bounce or over strain!

There are literally tons of things I could tell you on how to make your core look killer. But, that would be silly, and useless. Instead, I'd rather tell you about three things that will cut up your abs and have them beach ready.

1. Lower your body fat. This one may sound simple, but it really is the key to the whole thing. I have heard countless people say, "I don't have abs." Well, that is not true. All of us have abdominal muscles. It's just that the majority are hidden under a layer (or two) of fat! If you succeed in lowering your body fat below 13%, you will see the abs cutting through. And, if you REALLY wanna highlight those bad boys, you will need to be 10% or lower.

2. Work your rectus abdominis and external obliques. These are the muscles that most people refer to when they say, "abs."

3. Work your transverse abdominis. Whoa! Wait a minute??!! You exclaim. You might just be wondering what the transverse abdominis is ... This is actually an internal muscle that wraps from your spine all the way around to your front. It cannot be seen externally, and you probably didn't even realize it existed. However, I'm here to tell you that it might just be the most important muscle in the whole kit-and-caboodle. The transverse abdominis literally holds your core tight and keeps your organs in place. You might recognize it if I told you it is the muscle you clench when you suck your gut in. This drawing will show a more detailed view of the core muscles and give you a better understanding of where the transverse abdominis is located.

transverse abdominis

So, today's post will focus on number three from the above list. We all already know that lowering body fat is important. And, we know that our abs will look killer with lower body fat. And, everyone knows that crunches, sit-ups, and side bends will do wonders for our abs. What many of you may not have known is that the transverse abdominis can help keep your belly in and tighten up your core as a whole.

First-things-first ... In today's technology age, most of us find ourselves sitting for eight or more hours each day. This has weakened our abs, and more than anything the transverse abdominis. So, you need to counteract this weakness by strengthening things.

So, here's how we target this tough to hit muscle:

2-Point Bridge (prone)

2-Point Bridge (side)
(This looks like a more advanced version of the side bridge )

Stomach Vacuums

Here are two additional exercises used by belly dancers to strengthen the inner-abs...

Belly-Roll: You know this one... We did it as kids!

Flutters: Locate your diaphragm (just under the "V" of your rib cage). Many people say they can locate the diaphragm by panting while on all fours. To create the "flutter," you have to create a vacuum by exhaling and then holding your breath. While holding your breath, raise your rib cage and laugh (big belly-laugh) and you'll find that you should be able to move the muscle around the upper abs.

All of the mumbo-jumbo aside, my two favorites to do are: regular 2-point bridges and stomach vacuums.

As always, the most important part of any fitness related thingy is to do it!

Catch ya at the beach,

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Posted by Vaughn Ripley

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