As a sometimes personal trainer but always passionate strength trainee, I sometimes forget that not everybody knows their anatomy. Many people can’t even flex various muscles on command, and honestly, why should they be able to if they have never had a reason to? The abs are a common culprit. I recently asked someone to flex their abdominal muscles and they said “Okay, how?” And at that moment I had to come up with a way to show them exactly how to do it, and how to know that the appropriate area flexes.
I could do it. I knew which movements and exercises caused my abs to contract and which didn’t. But I couldn’t really say, “Do some deadlifts and pay attention to your midsection.” Or, “just go do some barbell squats like Chuck Vogelpohl and focus on your stomach.”
So, if you fall into that category or think you could be better aware of what your abs are doing, try this simple drill:
Lie down on your back with the soles of your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Now try to press your lower back into the ground with as much force as you can apply comfortably. If you are truly pressing the small of your back down, your abs will contract and feel very tight.
That’s it. Now that you know where they are and how it feels, you can start paying attention to the same area when you are doing various exercises, although this reverse crunch is a decent exercise in its own right.
Strength Training for body and mind