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Extremely Weak Ab Muscles
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8 posts in this topic

Many of you can probably relate to this...

I feel like years of bloating and a distended tummy have made my abs really weak. Even if I eat smaller meals I can tell, because my tummy sticks out a bit. This isn't the case for my friends. They only have that problem after a giant meal. I think that maybe my abs are in the same condition as a woman who has just carried a baby.

I've been on the gluten-free diet for two years. My stomach is definitely flatter (not swollen) because of it. I can wear smaller jeans than I used to, but those hold in my stomach. If I wear something looser I look a lot bigger because I don't have the muscles to hold in my belly. What can I do to fix this? I do crunches, but they don't help much. I also have problems with C a lot (even still, partly because of the weak abs) so I try to avoid ab work on those days.

Advice? What ab workout has given good results? Are my abs permanently damaged from 25 years of distention?

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I've had three kids...talk about stomach distension ! I think you can get most of your ab "tone" back, but it'll take some work.

Browse the net for ab exercises and do them - hit the abdominals from all directions - crunches alone won't do it. Do regular crunches, cross over crunches, bicycle, etc. Change it up constantly. Get an exercise ball and do ab exercises on that (about.com has lots of exercise ideas).

Avoid bloating foods (such as lots of salt, introduce fiber slowly, etc.). You will want fiber though and lots of fluids to combat the dreaded C. I wouldn't avoid ab exercises during the dreaded C either - I believe working the abs actually helps it. In a way, you are massaging the colon and promoting movement.

Speaking of promoting movement :rolleyes: exercise in general is helpful. I'm a group exercise instructor and do a bit of something everyday because it helps so much with my gut issues.

Good luck.

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Advice? What ab workout has given good results? Are my abs permanently damaged from 25 years of distention?

I think you can get firm abs again....I've had 2 kids and was bloated for years, but my abs are in pretty good shape these days. At least 3 times a week, I do a series of ab exercises (usually after a 30 - 40 minute cardio workout.) I do: 50 crunches s-l-o-w-l-y (I think it makes a big diff to do them slowly, so that you can feel that you're targeting the right muscles); 30 "upper abdominal crunches" (my own name), which just means I maintain a partial crunch position and contract only my upper abs (again, do it slowly, so that you have time to feel which muscles are doing the work; 20 "side crunches", meaning that I lie on my back with legs pulled up and bent to one side, then do the crunch using my lateral abs (it took me while to "get" these); and lastly, I do 2 - 3 sets of 20 scissor kicks about 6 - 8 inches off the ground, keeping my abs tight the whole time to protect my back. I started by doing a *lot* less than this, last January. I have slowly worked up to my present workout, and wow - I have abs again! I'm not ripped like a bodybuilder, lol, but I can actually see faint lines that delineate the abdominal muscles. That's quite a thrill for me, the former sedentary couch potato! I'd say find a site, magazine or book with some different abdominal exercises, try them out, and see what works for you. I've picked up a couple of Muscle and Fitness HERS magazines this year, and if you can look past all the supplement ads (!) there are usually some good workouts that are detailed inside. Good luck to you!

Rho

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Pilates, Pilates and Pilates!

2 kids, 100# weight loss, total loss of ab tone and flabby skin. Pilates completely reformed my body. 2-3 times a week ~45 minutes. Cardio on the other days.

It sucks-no super quick fix. Good luck!

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There are three sections of muscle in your abs, and you should work them all. The first section runs right down the middle of your stomach and can be worked by traditional situps. The next section is on either side of your middle abs, and you can hit these by doing side situps or "bicycle" situps (there's a video of them here: http://beauty.expertvillage.com/videos/abs...cle-crunch.htm)

The third section is the sides of your body (the obliques). You can hit these by standing and holding a weight in one hand, leaning to the side and back to the other side like the weighted bend in this link: http://www.sixpacknow.com/obliqueexercises.html Any of these exercises would be good.

Abs are hard muscles to work because they're slow twitch and designed for stamina. To increase muscle, you want to push the muscle to the point of fatigue, but it's hard to do that with abs. I like doing ab work on an exercise ball because I can get ab fatigue much faster than with plain situps. Another option is to hold a weight on your chest as you do situps. Do some googling - you'll find plenty of good ideas.

As with all muscles, when you workout the muscles get micro tears in them. The actual building of muscle happens after the workout as these micro tears heal. But you need to give the muscle time to heal - 48 hours is the recommended time between workouts.

I'm also a fan of pilates. You'll get a good core (abs and back) workout at the same time as you work your legs and arms.

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I'm also a fan of pilates. You'll get a good core (abs and back) workout at the same time as you work your legs and arms.

Hmm, maybe I should try pilates. I also need to work on my lower back muscles. I sit at a computer all day.

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I do ab crunches with a smell hand weight on the floor using a yoga mat. It helps!! :)

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