Pilates Double leg stretch with pelvic floor and transverse abdominus working properly.

Pilates Double leg stretch with pelvic floor and transverse abdominus working properly.

Pilates double leg stretch performed with bad form.  Pelvic floor and transverse abdominus not switched on.  Abs are doming out.

Pilates double leg stretch performed with bad form. Pelvic floor and transverse abdominus not switched on. Abs are doming out.

Are your ab exercises making your abs look worse rather than better?

Do you find that you do hundreds of Ab exercises and still never get the desired 6 pack that you are after?  This could be due to poor technique which may be making you look worse rather than better.

4 steps to better looking abs

STEP ONE
Activate your Pelvic Floor (PF)
Before you even start any exercise it is important to switch on your PF.   To do this, imagine that you are stopping yourself from going to the toilet (ones and twos!!). This may be slightly crude imagery but it is the easiest way to help you switch on your PF.
To check that this is working, place your hands on your hips and push your fingers down into your stomach, you should feel a tightening underneath your fingers as you activate your PF. If you are not sure if you are feeling the right thing, then cough or laugh.  Both coughing and laughing  activate your PF and allow you to feel that tightening.
It is quite a delicate movement, don’t grit your teeth and pull in and up for dear life. This will only cause your other (overly active) abdominal muscles to take over and will cause your fingers to be pushed outwards.

STEP TWO
Switch on your Transverse Abdominus (TA)

The easiest way to switch this baby on, is to imagine you have a wide belt wrapped around you and you are making it tighter.  This muscle acts like your bodies natural weight belt and keeps your back safe.  By pulling your belly button closer to your spine you will activate TA.
Start by lying on your back with a slight natural curve in your lower back that could fit your fingers underneath one side.
Now pull in your TA without pushing/rounding your back into your fingers (that are between you and the floor).  There needs to be no movement from your spine, just your abs.

STEP THREE
Now you are ready to perform your ab exercises

As you can see from the pictures above if you are doing steps 1 and 2 then your abs will be pulled in and looking nice and flat.  If you have pelvic floor and TA switched OFF then not only will you be creating more strain on your back but your abs will start to dome out. Do you want to train your abs to dome out on a permanent basis and give you a pot belly of muscle look?  Or would you rather your abs are pulled in to give you that flat 6 pack look?

STEP FOUR
But thats just my fat bulging out!!

I hear this all the time!  Again look at the photos above.  In one my abs are pulled in and in the other they are bulging out- not my fat!
I can hear some of you cry, “well that’s because you don’t have any fat and I do”,  and yes we are all varying degrees of slimness however what goes on under the layer of fat is still the same.  Push your fingers into your stomach till you can feel your muscle and then feel the difference between your muscle pushing out and your muscle pulling in.  Regardless of your size you could recreate the photos above with abs doming or abs pulled in.

Try these simple steps with all your ab exercises and let me know if you notice a difference.

Your feedback would also be great.  Was this easy to follow.  It’s easy for me to know what I am explaining, however is it simple enough for you to be able to follow these instructions without demonstration?  I am going to be working on a video series soon to go alongside blogs, but in the meantime it would be nice to know that you can follow the directions I am writing with ease.

#fitnessfaster @fitness_faster #abexercises #situps #pelvicfloor #doublelegstretch #fitness #sixpack #6pack #transverseabdominus #nickijennison