Abs: for decoration or for strength?

As much as I love lifting, there’s still the girl inside me that wants to be able to rock a bikini. And nicely defined abs go a long way toward that. And although I almost never do specific ab work, squats — lots and lots and lots of squats — seemed to do the trick in making me, for the first time in my life, not ashamed of my mid-section.

But I got a good reminder today not to get caught up in that. I’m in my first of two weeks of rehab work before I begin training for my next meet. I’m essentially doing some extended warm-ups, nothing else. I didn’t feel like I should be done today when I finished though, and was super warmed up in the tropical heat of the gym. “I’d kind of like to do something else,” I ventured to Ben. “You can do some ab work,” he said, to my delight.

As I stretched out, suspended by my shoulders on a bench and feet on a box, he stacked weight plates on my stomach. As I tightened my entire core to support the 60 pounds I was bearing, Ben pointed to his own abs. “You think this is to make you be able to flex this?” he asked, popping out his own six-pack. I shook my head. Usually when I don’t know the answer to questions put that way, it’s no.

“No! It’s to develop these …” he pointed at his sides. “These intracostal muscles that support you when you’re what? When you’re squatting! When you’re unracking weight, and standing up with it, these muscles keep you upright. You get strong here, you won’t cave.  Especially when you go for 200 pounds.”

I’m sold. Yes, I covet the six pack that you can clearly see without contortions and flexing on my part to make the beginnings of one kind of  appear. But more than that I want a super-strong core that will support me when I squat 200 pounds. So stack those weights and let my abs do their job. They’re not just there for looks.

    Functional or decorative? Functional and strong please!

Functional or decorative? Functional and strong please!

2 thoughts on “Abs: for decoration or for strength?

  1. Pingback: » What the L?! » CrossFit NYC

  2. Pingback: Friday 110701 | Emergent Fitness

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