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Know Your Muscles - The Mid-Section
By: Rick Mitchell
Becoming familiar with the muscles that make up your body has more benefits than simply allowing you to talk shop with your training partners. The more familiar you are with the muscles you're working, the better you'll be able to judge what's needed to make improvements. In this article we'll get to know the muscles that make up the mid-section.
The core muscles of the mid-section do much to stabilize and support the torso so it's well worth spending time to train this area properly. The main muscles of the mid-section are as follows:
1. Rectus abdominis - this is a large flat muscle wall that covers most of the front mid-section from the lower chest to the pubic bone. Above the navel it consists of three pairs of rectangular sections stacked on top of each other and is better known as the six pack.
2. Obliquus abdominis - this muscle runs diagonally along the side of the mid-section from the lower ribcage to the pubic area. There are two muscles on each side, with internal obliques lying underneath the external obliques. The obliques help your torso to flex to the side, twist at the waist and help in bending the torso forwards.
3. Transversus abdominis - this is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and consists of a thin strip that runs horizontally across the abdomen. This muscle helps keep the internal organs in place, forces out the breath and stabilizes the spine.
4. Erector spinae - this large muscle group runs along the side of the lower spine. Consisting of a pair, the erector spinae keeps the spine erect and helps twisting at the waist.
About the Author
Rick Mitchell is the creator of the bodybuildingadvisor.com website that provides guidance and information to athletes at all levels of bodybuilding experience. Go to Bodybuilding Advice to learn more about the issues covered in this article.
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The Power of Stretching - Dave Snape
muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.
A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.
The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching.
it can't hurt, right?
So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.
Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
Why are stretching and flexibility considered
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy
know there are plenty of other benefits.
Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from
Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.
Here is some good
instructional material on stretching:
If you enjoyed 'The Power of Stretching' article, consider
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