How to Stretch Abs the Right Way

stretch abs

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Stretch abs correctly with these 5 tips and a view of where those muscles are. Doing this regularly will be a game-changer for your quality of life and health.

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Proper stretching is often neglected as part of a complete workout plan. Here we are focusing in particular on how to stretch abs the right way. These 5 tips are to help you get results, improve your posture and protect yourself from injury.

The abdominals are one of our large muscle groups that fulfill important functions. They protect the spine, help stability and make possible essential movements.

There are many good core workouts that activate the different abdominal muscles. But, it is important to start and finish any of them with ab stretching exercises.  Stretching will stimulate optimal muscle recovery and help you avoid injuries and stiffness.

Know Your Muscles To Stretch Abs The Right Way

stretch abs, a picture of your muscles

It’s easy to look down at our stomach area and see it as one mass. Most people are trying to get it to look trim and wonder why some parts of it don’t seem to respond.

The truth is, it’s not one big muscle. It has four main sections of muscle that make up the abdominal group.

1. Transversus abdominis

This is the deepest muscle layer that stabilises the trunk (nicknamed ‘the corset muscle’). Its main function is to help with pelvic and spinal stability.

2. Rectus Abdominis

The home of the ‘six pack’ muscles. This is between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. The main function is to move the body between the ribs and pubic bone and stabilise the spine.

3. External Oblique

On each side of the rectus abdominis, these allow your spine to twist. They run diagonally downward. An example of how they work is when you contract the left external oblique you turn the body to the right.

4. Internal Oblique

These internal oblique muscles are underneath the external ones. They run diagonally up your sides, located inside the hip bones. It works opposite the external oblique.

For example, if you twist your truck to the right, the right internal oblique contracts at the same time the left external one does.

The Keys To Stretch Abs Correctly

Before you get into your fitness program, particularly when you’re going to be including ab workouts, you want to get the muscles warmed up properly.

Stretches are simple exercises, but the real benefit comes from using the correct technique. So, put into practice these 5 tips to stretch abs and you will experience a more effective impact.

1. Before and after exercise

Stretches for core muscles should be incorporated into your warm-up and warm-down. They will help your muscles to elongate and release any contraction. It activates the elasticity of muscle fibers, preparing them for the coming workout.

Post-workout ab stretches will always be longer in time and more intense. Your warm-up should be shorter and lighter and with a few minutes of cardio exercise.

Stretch before and after exercise

2. Don’t Have Too Narrow A Focus

It is a common mistake to stretch abs by focusing only on a certain area and leaving others unworked. Remember that this is a large muscle group (as shown above).

There are many stretches for abs and obliques but you should include these two:

Trunk Lift

  • lying on your stomach on a firm surface
  • hands on the surface just under the shoulders, hands forward
  • straighten your elbows to lift your body, keeping the hips and pelvis down at the surface
  • stretch, taking deep breaths for the count of 5
  • lower your arms to the starting position.
  • repeat a few times
stretch your back to help your abs

Lateral Extensions

  • standing up tall
  • stretch your left arm above your head (or use double arms)
  • reach your left arm over your right side, stretching your left side
  • hold for a few breaths and come back upright
  • alternate arms to stretch the opposite side

Make sure you stretch properly because it helps you to reduce the risk of joint and muscle injury.

Plus, it improves circulation throughout your whole system.

 lateral extensions help your waist

3. Stretch Abs Slow and Steady

For the most effective results, it is best not to rush through your time of stretching. Abdominal stretches help the muscles recover their state of rest and natural position.

It’s best to stretch slowly, without forcing.

Allow time for the muscle fibers to stop being contracted. Too rough a stretch would be counterproductive.

When doing the abdominal stretch, if you notice pain, you should stop immediately.

stretch without forcing your muscles

A stretch should be felt, but it should not be painful when it’s done right.

4. Maintain The Posture

Any stretch has two phases: gradually lengthen the muscle and keep it stretched for a few seconds. As you stretch, remember to use slow motion and hold for at least 15 seconds.

Holding the correct position of the stretch for an extended period of time helps your body get the best results. It stimulates blood flow and oxygenation into the whole abdominal area.

high intensity workouts, stretch abs, sit ups

5. Breathe Deep

Stretching not only aids the recovery of the muscles, but it will also help you to normalize your breathing and heart rate.

As you make the effort to stretch abs correctly, take a deep breath with the movement itself. Maintain the stretch posture for a few seconds, but not while holding your breath.

Forgetting to breathe correctly means that the muscles retain their contraction. You want to make sure you do everything you can to achieve the benefits of the stretch.

You Can Stretch Abs Anytime, Anywhere

Stretching is something that can be done at any time. You can even stretch while you’re standing in line.

When it is incorporated into your healthy lifestyle, you’re going to experience a better range of motion. As your flexibility improves, so too will your posture. Plus, the added benefit of helping your body to have more ease during the day-to-day demands.

These simple tips will help ensure that your technique is getting the most from the stretch.

And then, when you’re ready to work out, you might like to try some equipment like this core trainer we did a review on. It all becomes a part of your goal towards great abs.

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