There’s No Such Thing As Upper and Lower Abs

15 Oct

This past Thursday marked my second day attending the PFTA school. Wahoo! The teacher, Mark, got right down to business, jumping into the “Green section” which is all about program design for clients. I was ready to learn how to take someone from couch potato to Arnold! But when Mark started using the proper names for muscles (rectus abdominis? Huh? Dominos? We get pizza in this class?), I knew I had a lot to learn.

No! Focus!

I was never the girl in the gym who spent an hour and a half walking from machine to machine, or doing free weights while standing in front of the mirror grunting (were you?). I was the girl who walked in, jumped on the dreadmill for thirty minutes (like that? dreadmill?) and maybe, on a good day, did some crunches afterward. I know three or four machines, and when I say I know them, I mean I know how to make them work, not necessarily which muscles they are working–two very different things. But that’s okay. That’s why I’m taking these classes: to learn my biceps from my triceps, and my head from my toes.

One of the first things I’m responsible for knowing is just that–the proper names and locations of different muscles and muscle groups, and how to engage them. The first big eye opener for me? There’s no such thing as upper and lower abs! Gah! A myth debunked. Your six pack, the rectus abdominis (not Dominos pizza, bummer) is one long muscle. This means that on my good days after the dreadmill, I wasn’t working my lower abs by doing crunches with my legs lifted off the floor. I was engaging the whole shebang. The whole party. The No Ab Left Behind Act. It turns out there’s actually no way to target just one part of a muscle. Interesting, right?

When I was working my lower abs, I also working supporting muscles that I never even thought about–the hip flexors; a group of three muscles right in the pelvis area. Things like scissor kicks and leg raises are focusing on those muscles.

hip flexorsIf I play my cards right, one day I’ll be walking on the beach (I almost never walk on the beach) and hear “Dude, sweet hip flexors, man,” and I’ll say, “Thanks dude, I workout.” Heh. Didn’t you always want to say that?

Grunt.

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One Response to “There’s No Such Thing As Upper and Lower Abs”

  1. caren (mom) October 18, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    Mel, once again funny you made me laugh out loud!

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