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If the infomercials are any indication, people spend more money to work their abs than they do on any other muscle group. And why wouldn’t they? Your abs play a role in nearly all your movements. But you don’t need a credit card to reveal them. You need a smart diet – along with this boot camp workout, which will torch your belly fat and work your entire core. Abs still a mystery to you? Here’s a blueprint of your midsection muscles.
1 RECTUS ABDOMINIS
The rectus abdominis – six-pack – is the best-known abs muscle. Despite the nickname, it’s actually eight segments separated by dense connective tissue called fascia. By helping counteract the pull of the muscles that extend your lower back, the rectus abdominis helps your spine stay stable. Its other main duty is to pull your torso towards your hips.
This tough tissue weaves in and around all your body’s muscles to create an interconnective web. In terms of your abs, it’s what separates and connects each of the eight segments of your rectus abdominis, giving them their regimented appearance.
3 EXTERNAL OBLIQUES
Running vertically and diagonally, these muscles originate at your rib cage and connect at your hip bone and linea alba (see No.5 below). They help bend your torso to the sides and rotate it to the left and right. Perhaps most important, they also act to prevent your torso from rotating.
4 INTERNAL OBLIQUES
These lie beneath your external obliques. They assist in bending to the side and rotating your torso, as well as in resisting rotation.
5 LINEA ALBA
This long strip of fascia forms a line of separation down the centre of your abdominals. It helps prevent your rectus abdominis from being ripped apart by your obliques.
If you’re looking to firebomb fat, pack on muscle and sweat your way to a six-pack, we have your call to duty: this cutting-edge boot camp workout, designed by certified strength and conditioning specialist B.J. Gaddour. By moving you through a series of intense exercises at a fast pace, it’ll help you burn more kilojoules per minute than a typical weight-training or aerobic workout. Plus, it works every one of your muscles, from head to toe. The best part: whether you want bigger muscles or faster fat loss, Gaddour shows you how to tweak this workout to achieve your most pressing goal. Now get to work – that’s an order, soldier!
Photo by Scott McDermott Aug 14, 2012