“Here’s lookin’ at your rectus abdominis, Kid!”

First an anatomy lesson –

The most well-known and prominent abdominal muscle is the rectus abdominis. It is the long, flat muscle that extends vertically between the pubis and the fifth, sixth, and seventh ribs.  A strong tendinous sheath called the “linea alba,”  give the muscle its familiar “washboard” look in very fit athletes – aka ‘the six-pack’.  Yeah, baby.

The next group of muscles that make up the abdominals are the external oblique muscles. This pair of muscle are located on each side of the rectus abdominis. The muscle fibers of the external obliques run diagonally downward and inward from the lower ribs to the pelvis, forming the letter V. You can locate them by putting your hands in your coat pocket.

The deepest layer of abdominal muscles is called the “transversus abdominis.” The transverse abdominal muscle wraps around the torso from front to back and from the ribs to the pelvis. The muscle fibers of the transversus abdominis run horizontally, similar to a corset or a weight belt. This muscle doesn’t help move the spine or the pelvis, but it does help with respiration and breathing.

So why that recap?

First of all, it’s actually kinda’ interesting.  Especially for me.  I work out often and am quite proud of my abs.  Yes, I have a six-pack – year round.  Though, I am forever changing-up the regimen, looking for new exercises.  I do have my ‘go to’ favorites, of course.  One of which is the sit-up.  I do do crucnchies from time to time, but  let’s face it, sit-ups are just more manly.  Even the word ‘crunchie’  is … borderline.  Sounds more like an afternoon snack than a rockin’ hard ab exercise.  Insert manly grunt.

Over the past few years, I’ve had neck / shoulder issues;  an occupational hazard – fuckin’ pharmacy job.  Standing in one place looking down in a very un-ergonomically designed space for hours on end wreaks havoc on any attempt for proper posture.  So, I exercise.  Recently I was told that sit-ups are ‘the worst exercise’ I could do considering ‘my condition’ – fuckin’ pharmacy job.  Fuckin’ condition, too.   Well,  from what I’ve read, neither sit-ups nor crunchies are even that good of exercises to begin with.

I was instructed that plank would be the best exercise for me and my, um, condition.  Plank?! Really? The word corset is in the description of the muscle group –   transversus abdominis – it works.  Rarely do I see men do plank.  Correction, I know they do,  maybe I just don’t pay that close attention.  Maybe they’re, like, closet plankers.  Still … plank?  It is so boring.

Since I am a very open-minded person and considering ‘my condition’, I have decided to give this plank thing a try.  Yes, it is still way boring, but it does fatigue my transversus abdominis  quite well.  I think of it as the Zen of ab exercises.  Besides, I’ve created  variations to ‘man it up’ .  Trust me, my plank exercises are impressive.

Don’t worry, I will never stop the sit-up.  I’ve  just adjusted the neck position in which I execute the exercise.   Fuckin’ condition.

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