Why you shouldn't contract your "abs"

"Abs" seems to be the buzz word in the summertime.  People are wearing swimsuits and tank tops, they want a firm mid-section.  "Contracting the abs" is a popular cue for many forms of exercise.  Weight lifting, running, yoga, pilates, playing tennis, etc.  The best trainers regularly remind their clients to contract their abs.  "Abs" meaning abdominal muscles.  I stop when I hear these words come out of my mouth and wonder if people really understand what this phrase means...

"Contract your Abs."

*Do people know where all of their abdominal muscles attach?
*Are they aware of how to contract them properly?

  • Rectus Abdominus
  • External Oblique
  • Internal Oblique
  • Pyramidalis
  • Transverse Abdominus

*Are people able to identify the difference between using the abdominal muscles instead of the COMPENSATING muscles?

Hopefully the answer to all of these questions is YES ! ! ! 

If you feel confident about all of the abdominal attachments, their function and exercises for isolation, SUPER ! ! !  
If not.... get cozy with your anatomy book for 15 minutes and review!  Or use Wikipedia, their images are great.  Internal Oblique is usually the one my students have the most challenge remembering.  Which one is the hardest for you?  Tell me in the comments!

Why NOT contract your Abs?

So you can breathe!  It is common to get caught up on keeping the tummy tight so you can look fit and have good posture.  However, you may be sacrificing our breathing in the mean time.  

Ask yourself today, which side of the equation do you fall upon?

1) Breathing wonderful and have no awareness of your abs?
2) Tightening your tummy all day and forgetting to breathe and let the fresh air in?

Which one are you?  
Leave a comment below and tell us!

Please share this article with a friend and make sure you are on the email list to keep receiving information like this to help you bring more awareness into your body!  If you like this topic, check out the abs video and see what Andy says about these muscles!