We Love Fitness

abs 101

Check out this quick primer on ab anatomy and get your midsection looking sharp.


Picture this: Two guys strolling the beach, checking out bikinis, both of them regular gym-goers. One has 18" arms, a billowing chest and... a baby-smooth midsection. The other guys arms barely stretch the tape to 16" and his chest, while defined, doesnt cast nearly the shadow as his buddys. But from pec to pelvis this guy has a crisp six-pack, edged with a clearly defined pair of obliques and some nice serratus action going on.

Now, which guys physique do you think is going to draw more attention from admiring eyes? To paraphrase ZZ-Top: Girls go crazy for a sharp-abbed man.

With this ab primer and 3-part workout at your disposal, youll have a better understanding of your own ab anatomy and have the tools to develop an impressive six pack of your own, not to mention grab the attention of the fairer sex.


While the Rectus abdominis is colloquially known by many as the "six pack," some people may display four "rows" of abs, giving them an eight pack, while others (most notably Arnold Schwarzenegger) show just a four pack. Rather than indicate anatomical variations in the actual abdominis muscles, the number of packs a person displayed is determined by the number of bands of fascia (a kind of connective tissue) crossing the abdominal region.

Think of rubber bands stretched around a balloon. The bulges in the balloon represent the parts of the Rectus abnominis that we see. Just as strips of the balloon are pulled in and obscured by the bands, so too are strips of our abdominals pulled covered by fascia. So, no matter how many sets of crunches or leg raises you ever do, the number of rows of "abs" you have now will never change.


While it goes without saying that proper breathing is important during your training for every bodypart, during ab work its especially important. When you follow up a deep inhale with a forceful exhale you actually work your intercostals—muscles that lie over, under and between your ribs. In effect, youre training them. Strong intercostals give you the ability to take deeper breaths, which helps move oxygen to hard working muscles. Think of dynamic breathing during your ab workouts as a Catch-22 with benefits.


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We Love Fitness - 2013