Crunch Time

Doing a hundred sit-ups would not get you there, although it does make you feel a little more satisfied and less guilty after binge watching a whole season on Netflix with that popcorn and chips on hand. The core is not just one layer of abs; therefore crunching them a hundred times will eventually lead to a standstill.

The abdominals actually consists of the following:-



Rectus Abdominis (Abs)

That ‘six pack’ that everybody dreams off is actually from this long, flat muscle that runs along the vertical length of the abdomen. What gives that washboard appearance is the horizontal fibrous bands that connects to the muscle and when tensed produces a well-defined shape like the one in the picture.

External Oblique

These are the outermost sheet-like muscles that lie on the lateral sides of the abdominal region of the body. It helps with actions like twisting and lateral flexion.

Internal Oblique

This muscle is hidden behind the external oblique like the name suggests and has the same actions as the external oblique. Unique points to note about the oblique is that external and internal are synergists in rotation movement, meaning the left external and right internal oblique work together to rotate trunk to right.

Transversus Abdominis

The deepest of the abdominal muscles, located underneath the rectus abdominis. It helps in stabilizing the pelvis and lower back prior to the movement of the body as well as assisting in the breathing process by assisting in exhalation and compressing the internal organs (important muscle when you practice Udyana Bandha and Nali)


Here are some of the exercises to perform for a stronger core:

Isometric Hold (Isometric: The muscles are tensed while not changing in length.)

Examples of such exercises are planks and side planks, where the core muscles are fully engaged in a controlled manner for good core stability. Try starting with 30 seconds, 45 seconds and up to a full minute.

Side Planks with Dips

From side plank you can add dips to work on the oblique. Try doing 3 sets of 10 reps on each side.

Leg raises

Leg raises are also a good way to strengthen the lower abs. Start by raising your legs off the floor and up to ceiling; legs are 90 degrees to the floor and slowly release the legs back on the ground. Remember to keep the lower back on the ground and if it arches micro bend the knees slightly as you lift your legs to protect the back.

Bicycle crunches

As if static crunches are not tough enough, adding in the twisting motion would work on all muscles of the core. Try getting the shoulder blades off the ground while doing the exercise so that you are activating those abs.

Strong core muscles make doing many activities easier, lifting, bending, sitting and even standing. Try standing in the MRT when your core are feeling sore and you will realize how much the core is working deeply inside to help stabilize you so you would not have to fall face first into someone else’s pits. When there is core stability by getting the deeper muscles to work first, your overall fitness will improve and be less prone to injuries. Back pains are a common side effect of a weaker core and will in turn leave you susceptible to poor posture as well. So let us work towards that healthy core and be the last one standing.


Agnes Tay

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