What You Need to Know About Your Abs Before Transforming Them

The following is an excerpt from the new Men’s Health training guide 90-Day Transformation Challenge: Abs. In one volume, you’ll get all the tools you need—information, a nutrition guide, and workouts—to build your abs in just 3 months.

Let’s talk about the structure of your abs, the building blocks of a solid core. We know abs for their clean look and sleek features. Most people use the appearance of someone’s abs as a gauge of their athletic abilities, but this isn’t an accurate method. The abs play a much more vital role in the body than we usually give them credit for: support. Without your ab muscles, you wouldn’t be able to hold yourself upright or keep your vital organs protected.

The core muscles overall should be considered as a collaboration between the front and back muscles of the midsection; their primary role is directed toward protection and functionality.

What Your Abs Do for You Before getting too deep into the specific muscles involved in the core, it’s essential to understand what these four muscles help you do:

Spinal SupportWe have to remember that our body’s main function is to help us survive. The spinal cord is responsible for transmitting messages back and forth between the body and the brain. The stability of this essential structure isn’t reliant only on the spinal vertebrae of the body—it also requires muscle.

Organ Protection Many of our essential organs reside in the space below our rib cage. For this reason, having strong, resilient muscles can provide protection and safety for these organs. If they’re weak, the organs are more vulnerable.

Static and Dynamic PostureThis goes hand in hand with spinal support. Your posture isn’t just how you stand—it’s also how you move. Standing still (static) and having a tall posture is much different than walking during your morning commute (dynamic) and maintaining that same proper position. The ability to appropriately engage the midsection can translate to the other joints in our body, whether they see normal daily demand or something greater.

Natural Protection Your abdominal muscles are working on a very regular basis to keep your body in a safe position. Full protection from a 360-degree perspective doesn’t just safeguard your midsection—it also protects your entire body. Whether you are running, strength training, or just moving around your house, your core is engaged. See it as the true junction that ties the upper body and the lower body together. This is the key to unlocking pain-free performance through your activity in-side and outside the gym.

So, yes, your ab muscles can give you the aesthetic look you’re after, but this team of muscles powers so much more than that. The right program won’t just upgrade your looks—it will also upgrade your life. You’ll move with less pain and more ease.

Men’s Health 90-Day Transform Challenge: Abs – Men’s Health Shop

You’ll feel stronger. And you’ll be doing your entire body a favor.

No matter what form of training you are looking to pursue, it’s important to find a protocol that marries the way you look with the way you feel and operate on a day-to-day basis—especially when it comes to an ab routine. More often than not, these routines feed you a list of overly complicated exercises with zero relationship to your existing routine or to your daily life. So whether you decide to commit with us for 90 days or work toward other goals, you should always find a program that complements the life you live.

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