Female abs and male abs require the same attention when building an abdominal workout. I often have clients (who are mostly women) ask me what is the best workout for female abs, and the truth is, they are the same exercises for male abs.
When talking about strength exercises that build muscle, there are differences regarding male vs. female. The obvious differences are hormones and genetics. DNA is obviously responsible for making one person a man and another a woman. But it?s the hormones that allow a man to build bigger muscles, heavier bones and in most cases, greater height. But when we talk about abdominal exercises, the anatomy between the two sexes is the same.
Let?s look at the anatomy of your abdominals. Without getting all science class on you, the four basic ab muscles are the Rectus Abdominus, Internal Obliques, External Obliques and the Transversus Abdominus. Both men and women possess these groups of muscles; therefore the ab routine will be the same.
But what about that ?six pack?? Is this too lofty a goal for us to achieve? Just take a look at any fitness magazine, whether it is a men?s mag or a women?s mag. The cover shot will undoubtedly have on it a young, hot body with amazing six pack abs. How does one get those male abs, or those female abs?
The answer is simple, but the quest is difficult. The basic rules for six pack abs are:
? Genetics ? hope that you are a man. They are genetically more able to develop big muscle and they typically have a lower body fat % then a woman
? Diet ? it better be lean and healthy
? Abdominal Exercises ? ones that are done properly and with good form
And the number one way to have a six-pack stomach:
? LOSE THE FAT
The only way you will ever see what is laying underneath that extra layer of fat tissue is to have a low body fat %. The best way to lose fat is to have good cardiovascular exercise, good strength training, and a lean and healthy diet.
Now body builders, who have those manly male abs, have a tendency towards instability They work so hard on the big muscle groups that they typically have weak smaller muscle groups, which leads to an imbalance in strength.
It?s those smaller, postural and supportive muscles that get over looked when the focus is on how a body looks rather than how a body works.
Pilates exercise tends to work on those smaller, more functional muscles as well as the bigger more superficial muscles. Pilates is for men and will help to achieve those well-defined male abs.
For women, functionality of the abdominal muscles is of great importance especially as we age. To maintain balance, bone health and to remain standing tall are all good reasons to adopt a Pilates workout routine.
Any good ab workout will consist of exercises that target all four of groups of ab muscles. ACE, the American Council on Exercise, recently came out with a study showing the 6 most effective abdominal exercises.
And you know what? Pilates has it all covered. Each of those 6 exercises for abs has a sister exercise in the Pilates method of exercise.
So the point here is that there is no difference between a male abs workout and female abs workout. Both need to be balanced workouts consisting of well-rounded exercises that are executed properly.
Bad form accounts for most back pain when doing ab exercises. As I always say, when in doubt, go see a qualified instructor. They will help shape a great ab workout for you so you can shape up.
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