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Besides looking awesome, what is a benefit of having strong abs?

Your question is awesome and a great one to ask.  Strong abdominal muscles will play a huge role in form of exercise you complete.  Very rarely will you complete exercise that does not include the use of abdominal muscles.  For example, although you may not feel your abs being engaged during a push-up, they are working more than you know.  Your abdominals are necessary to connect your upper and lower body to complete an excellent push-up.  Without strong abs, you will not be as successful as you can be.  So continue to look awesome but continue to build strength for a strong foundation to any exercise.

There's more than just vanity behind totally ripped abs - a lean middle can add years to your life!! Strong abdominals, obliques, back and core will stabilize and protect your spine. This becomes more and more important the older you get. Also, the stronger your abs are, the more you are able to work from your core, reducing strain on your back which means you will avoid injury. Plus, research has also found that women who carry more fat around their middle, particularly visceral fat (fat that is deeper), are more likely to develop risk factors for heart disease. So in order to target your deeper ab muscles (and visceral fat) go deeper with this ab move.

  1. Begin by getting down on all fours.
  2. On the inhale, keep your abdominal muscles relaxed.
  3. On the exhale, draw your abs in and up towards your spine (without holding your breathe) and pretend as if someone were going to punch you in the gut - squeeze!!
  4. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds (get a timer/stopwatch for best results).
  5. Continue for 10 to 15 repetitions. Maintain a flat and stable spine throughout the movement.
  6. Always seek advice from a trainer if you aren't sure if you are performing this correctly or engaging the proper muscles to be effective.
It is always nice to "look awesome", but having strong Abs is a great benefit.  If your Abs, Lower Back and Obliques/Intercostals are strong than you are less likely to have lower back issues.  Having a strong core will go a long way!
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Abdominal exercises will strengthen not only your bones and muscles of the back, but they'll also strengthen your entire midsection-which takes weight and pressure off your back. So add crunches to your routine, as well as leg lifts and bent over back rows. Your magazine cover contract awaits you.
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.