With most movie stars flaunting 6 pack abs, its all the rage in gyms across India. Many people have a general consensus that you get a 6 pack by doing lots of crunches!
Not true. To get them, you don't need to workout your abs extensively.
Besides being futile for most people to gain a defined mid section, working out your abs extensively can actually hurt your back. Read on to see how:
Muscular imbalance: Focusing on working out your abdominal muscles, and not focusing on other muscles surrounding your mid section like your back, and obliques, can create a muscular imbalance. Its like working out your left side, and not your right!
Strain on your lower back: As a result of this muscular imbalance, when you lift weights (even your own body weight), it will put more strain on your back. Due to bad posture while sitting and standing, we anyway put our backs at higher risk of strain. This further enhances the strain on the lower back.
So, what can you do to avoid this strain? For one, perform exercises to strengthen your lower back.
Your back muscles, abdominal muscles and other muscle surrounding your mid section are called core muscles. It is important to work out all these muscles in a balanced way. This will increase your overall musculature, muscle tone, reduce body fat, and reduces risk of back pain. The plank is a great exercise for strengthening the core.
How to perform the Plank exercise: Start by lying on your stomach, on a mat. Place your elbows on the ground, beneath your shoulders. Hold your body in a straight line, with only your elbows & your toes touching the ground. Do this exercise in front of a mirror or with a partner to help you achieve the right form.
Plank can be performed on a mat, on a Swiss Ball (with your legs resting on a Swiss Ball), and if you're really confident, then on 2 Swiss balls (arms resting on 1 Swiss Ball, and your legs on the other)!
Perform core muscle exercises, don't waste time doing crunches, and you'll be on your way to a 6 pack!