The abdomen contains the muscles that most beginners struggle with because they take a long time to develop and need a low level of body fat to be seen. The abdominal muscle group consists of three main muscles:
1. Rectus abdominis - commonly known as the abs, this is a large flat muscle wall that runs from the lower chest to the pubic bone.
2. Obliquus abdominis - commonly known as the obliques, this muscle runs diagonally along the side of the mid-section from the lower ribcage to the pubic area. The internal obliques lie underneath the external obliques.
3. Transversus abdominis - this is a thin strip of muscle that runs horizontally across the abdomen.
You can target these muscles effectively by performing the following exercises:
1. Crunches - 3 sets of 15-20 reps. This exercise will work the upper abs.
2. Pelvic tilts - 3 sets of 15-20 reps.This exercise will target the lower portion of the abdomen below the navel.
3. Side bends - 3 sets of 15-20 reps. This exercise will work the obliques.
As with all exercises you need to take care in scheduling specific body parts. To begin with you should incorporate your abdominal exercises into a program similar to the one suggested below:
Day 1: Biceps, Back, Abs
Day 2: Hamstrings, Shoulders, Abs
Day 3: Quads, Forearms, Calves
Day 4: Triceps, Chest, Abs
For the first couple of weeks complete one set but then add one set each week to a maximum of three. At the end of three months you will be ready to move on to more intensive intermediate level exercises.
Richard 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.