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how to tell ab muscles are working

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  • how to tell ab muscles are working

    Ok, it's sunday which means that yet another new leaf is turned over tomorrow. I just started seriously working out again about 2 months ago. Since then, I've gotten into a good grove for legs, glutes and hips - time to throw abs and trunk into the mix...

    It has been a while since I've done any work on my abs and to be honest, I don't really remember what my most efficient regimen was for working the muscles that were capeable of being activated at the time.

    My fear is that since then, I have probably lost much of that muscle... furthermore, with the increased size of my quad-gut, it is hard for me to see or feel any contractions (I can feel the area getting firmer when I do a crunch but I don't know if that's the muscle contracting or just my insides being pushed against my skin harder than when I'm just sitting or laying because I can reproduce the same firmness by pushing my belly out (i guess with my diaphram?).

    I am able to do crunches (with a very small range), twists and can also do a few of the ab machines at the gym. But I'm thinking that this does not necessarily mean that it is my abs/trunk doing the work...

    Does anyone have any suggestions for tailoring an ab workout according to what muscles can and can't be activated?

    *** c4/c5 incomplete *** Injured in Summer 2003 ***

  • #2
    The best exercise for the abs, even if they don't "work" or have use of them, is the dumbbell or even straight bar pullover. This can be performed with a barbell or a dumbbell. It's a feel-good power stretch that engages the lats, the underside of the bis and tris and minor pec as it puts the rotator cuff through its ranges. Longitudinal abdominal muscles come into play to stabilize the torso.

    Ok. You're lying on your back, head on one end of the bench, your feet up or down, [in my case down], on the other end and a dumbbell or barbell is grasped in your hands straight overhead — your starting position. Now, take in a deep breath as you slowly lower the dumbbell with stiff arms/straight arms (elbows locked) behind your head till your arms are in line with your torso — or, parallel to the floor — now reverse the motion and return to the starting position, exhaling as you do. Pause momentarily and repeat.

    probably my favorite exercise.

    You can also do it like this:

    Good luck