11 BENEFITS OF STRONG ABS
Flat, strong abs look amazing and might be the envy of every beachgoer. But creating strong abs goes way beyond aesthetics. Their health benefits are even better than the incredible look that might be motivating you to get your midsection in shape.
Before we get into the great benefits of strong abs, let’s set the record straight. The abs are made up of four collective muscle groups: The rectus abdominis, the transversus abdominis and the internal and external obliques. Together with the pelvic muscles, the hip muscles and the muscles that support the spine, they make up the core. And a strong core can be the ticket to feeling and looking your best.
The core muscles are the closest to the central axis of our body and with that they are the key for everything from movement, stability and balance to energy and injury prevention. Of course, when people hear the word core, they automatically think about abs, but as we’ve seen earlier, the core includes all the muscles around your midsection.
However, in this post, we want to focus on the abdominals and what strong abs can do for you in your workouts and everyday movements.
11 BENEFITS OF STRONG ABS
#1 Reduce Back Pain
Think of your abs like the anchor for the muscles of the middle and lower back. If you have weak abs, your back muscles have to work harder to support your core, which means that if you have strong abs, the endurance of your back muscles improves. This on the other hand means that the back muscles don’t fatigue as easily and with that they are less vulnerable to injury or strains. On the other hand, if you have strong abs, your belly doesn’t protrude out too far as to alter the center of gravity, which means there is less stress on the back. Additionally, strong abs can aid in preventing an exaggerated anterior tilt of the pelvis. An anterior tilt results in a lot of pressure on the lower back’s discs and facet joints, which helps to prevent pain and potential pressure.
And if you already suffer from back pain, strengthening your abs can help to alleviate the pain and create a more balanced body.
#2 Support Good Posture
Without strong abs, a lot of people have the natural tendency to slouch, simply because they don’t have the musculature to support proper posture. On the other hand, if you have strong abs, they can help to prop up your spine and with that you stand taller naturally. Keep in mind, poor posture can cause a lot of wear and tear on the spine and can cause back problems such as disc herniation. An additional benefit of good posture is that you look leaner, taller and even more confident.
#3 Build Functional Strength
Strong abs don’t just support the spine, they can also be highly beneficial for simple everyday movements like picking something up from the floor or tying your shoes. Getting up and down out of a chair, twisting, lifting, bending and turning are all movements that become a lot easier when you have strong abs. Keep in mind, a lot of injuries happen during the most mundane activities of everyday life, but if you build strong abs, you build at the same time functional strength that can prevent a lot of these everyday injuries.
#4 Create Stability and Balance
Strong abs come in particularly handy when you are in need of stability and balance. If you have strong abs and work on improving core strength, your core muscles — meaning the abs, the muscles in the pelvis, hips and along the spine work in harmony, which leads to a better balance and stability. Keep in mind, balance doesn’t just refer to being able to balance on one leg or on your hands, it also comes into play when you walk on an uneven surface or try to catch yourself when you take a misstep off a curb.
#5 Improve Sports Performance
Every sport uses the body’s midsection for action and stabilization. Whether you rotate your torso when you swim, twist to catch a ball or bend when you use a golf club. You also engage your abs when running or lifting weights. Almost all movements emanate from strong abs and when you have greater control over your abs, you can dramatically improve your sports performance and prevent injury. And if you do get hurt, strong abs can support the recovery process and healing. Keep in mind, your abs are at the center of your body and when strong abs stabilize the trunk, you minimize wasteful movements in your limbs.
#6 Control Inflammation
This may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the benefits of strong abs, but recent research revealed that strong abs can reduce inflammation markers by as much as 25%, which is very close to results you get from statin medication. This means that strong abdominals enhance your recovery after a tough workout and improve your overall well-being and general health.
#7 Make You Live Longer
Did you know that a six-pack can actually keep you from going six feet under? At least not any time soon. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic looked at 11 studies on waist circumference and found that those with a smaller waist line and stronger abs actually live longer. More specifically, for every 2 inches that your waist line increases, you increase the risk of death by 7%.
#8 Help You Breathe Better
Breath work and abdominal work go hand-in-hand. If you strengthen the main breathing muscles — namely the diaphragm and intercostal muscles, you increase the strength of your abs. At the same time, stronger abs allows for easier breathing. The stronger your abs are, the easier your body will stack in the right position, which allows your organs and diaphragm to sit in the right position and with that you can breathe easier.
#9 Improve Your Ability to Bear Weight
The stronger your abs are, the more weight you can bear, which means that with strong abs, you can lift heavier weights without risking injuries to the lumbar spine. This is due to the fact that strong abs also strengthen the torso and with that provide a much more stable base for your strength training workout.
#10 Help Prevent Injuries
Strong abs lead to core strength and core stability and with that, everything else will fall into place. As we’ve seen earlier, your overall fitness and well-being, as well as your general health improve and you are less likely to be prone to injury. Sure, when we move through our day or work out at the gym, it’s easy to assume that most of the work is done by our extremities. But reality is that almost every movement starts at the center and moves outward from there. So the stronger your abs, the stronger your core and the stronger any other movement.
#11 Protect Your Central Nervous System and Inner Organs
Staying healthy and fit doesn’t just mean working on our muscles or cardiovascular fitness. It also means that we have to take care of and protect the vital systems that lie below the surface. Remember, the abs are part of the core and that’s where the body’s most important and largest organs, central nervous system, arteries and veins are based. Keeping your abs strong will help to ensure that everything stays protected as you move through your day or your workout.
Keep in mind, a solid set of abs can help us perform virtually any movement we make. From sitting, standing, running and jumping to carrying our gym bag, groceries, laptop or children. We understand that doing the same old crunches can get boring quickly, so follow our above video to get the variety you need to create strong abs and if you want even more ideas, check out our recent blog: HOW TO GET A FLAT STOMACH.
KICK START YOUR WORKOUTS BY CREATING STRONG ABS
Joschi & Monika