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Abs: Abdominal toning exercises

Abs: Abdominal toning exercises


Whether in bodybuilding, other sports or everyday life, certain muscles are constantly in demand. These muscles have a role to play in maintaining the bust as well as the stomach organs. You've guessed it: the abdominals.

These muscles are involved in all everyday movements, and are associated with the lumbar muscles because their roles complement each other.

The abdominal muscles are made up of three zones:

  • The first is a band of muscles that act as a belt to hold the viscera in the abdomen. They are called the Transverse.

  • The second is superimposed on the transversus abdominis, and is responsible for all forward torso movements and rotations. This is the rectus femoris.

  • The third is located on the flanks above the hip, and is involved in rotation and inclination to the sides. These are the obliques.

What we'll be looking at in this article are the different movements that can be used to strengthen these muscles, which are essential to the body's proper functioning and which, when properly toned, can prevent a number of injuries.

Let's start with the basic movement for the large right:

The Crunch

Lying with back flat, lumbar region flat and legs bent, flat on the floor. Arms crossed over the chest. Belly slightly tucked in to keep transverse muscles toned.

The aim is to raise the shoulders as high as possible without lifting the lumbar vertebrae off the floor. The face is fixed towards the ceiling so as not to strain the neck.

It's important to exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down. Exhaling increases contraction.


The movement should be performed slowly and the shoulders should not touch the ground between repetitions, thus maintaining tension on the muscles abs and mainly in the upper part.

Second basic movement for the long right:

crunch with legs raised

This movement is performed from a position almost identical to the classic crunch, except that the legs are bent and brought towards the chest.

This variant tensions the lower part of the rectus abdominis (below the navel).


The principle remains the same for breathing, with exhalation on the way up and inhalation on the way down.

Let's move on to an exercise for the lower part of the rectus:

Leg raising


Lying on your back, arms at your sides on the floor, legs almost straight, at right angles to your torso, pointing towards the ceiling.

From this position, let your legs slowly descend towards the floor, stopping when you feel your lumbar vertebrae lift off the ground. Then raise your legs to return to the starting position.

To limit lumbar detachment, place both hands flat on the floor under the tops of your buttocks.

Exhale on ascent to amplify the contraction. Inhale on descent.

This movement can be performed sitting on the end of a bench. In this case, the legs are straight, parallel to the ground, the torso is slightly tilted backwards and the arms are behind the torso, resting on the bench for greater stability

In this position, raise your legs as high as possible without tilting your torso any further. At the highest point, return to the starting position. Exhale as you raise your legs and inhale as you lower them.

Here is a very effective and complete movement to work your abs:

Suspended leg raise


Suspended from a pull-up bar, the aim is to bring your legs up towards your chest. To avoid swaying, the movement should be performed slowly and with controlled descent. Initially, the legs will bend on the way up until the knees form a right angle. Then, to make the work harder, you can keep them tauter for the whole stretch.

Stretching the legs shifts the load they represent, making them appear heavier and thus making the work harder.

Visit abs as I said earlier, there's more to the abdominals than just the transverse and rectus muscles. The oblique muscles on the sides of the waist are also part of the abdominal muscles. To avoid widening the waistline, these muscles should not be worked with heavy weights. Bodyweight exercises are more than sufficient to work these muscles properly.

The oblique crunch

Lying on your side, your legs are slightly bent, in line with your body, forming a V-shape on the floor for greater stability. The hand on the side of the oblique being worked will be placed on the side of the head, and the other will be placed on the oblique being worked, so that you can feel it contract.


From this position, the aim is to lift your torso off the ground, as if you wanted your elbow pointing towards the ceiling to come into contact with your hip. You don't need to go very high, just a few centimetres are enough to feel the contraction of the oblique.

Exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down. Perform this movement slowly. Once you've completed the series, move to the other side and work the second oblique.

There are plenty of other exercises you can do to make your abdominal muscles firm, toned and effective, but this sample will give you a good start.

Even if the abs are highly enduring, they still need recovery time to build up their strength. So there's no point in working them every day. I therefore recommend 3 sessions per week, with one exercise for each zone and 4 sets of 20 repetitions per exercise.

Working slowly and with controlled movements will increase stimulation.

So get to work, because summer is coming and it will soon be time to show off your abdominal muscles)


AuthorAlexandre CARPENTIER

Bodybuilding Champion N.A.C 2012

Alexandre shares his bodybuilding experience with MegaGear blog readers