The abdominal stretches are designed to improve the flexibility of the abdominal muscles namely the Rectus Abdominis, Internal Oblique, External Oblique and Transversus Abdominis. Good abdominal flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of the stomach, abdominals and lower back.
It is a general belief that having tight abdominal muscles improves your overall appearance however in reality tight abdominal muscles can have very negative effects on your body.
Firstly, tight abdominals are one of the major causes of lower-back pain. When tight, abdominal muscles pull up on the pubic bones and tilt the top of the pelvis backward. Over time the upper-back muscles weaken and over lengthen, leading to flattening of the lumbar curve which in turn increases the pressure on the lumbar joints and discs.
The constant stretch and compression of the discs may result in chronic pain. In addition to this when these muscles are tight, the volume of the abdominal and pelvic cavities is reduced which compresses the organs in these cavities and forces them up toward the thoracic cavity, which in turn reduces its volume.
As a result, breathing, digestion, elimination, and sexual function are hindered from functioning properly. Finally, exercising with tight abdominals may lead to strains, tears, and even hernias.
Mild abdominal stretch in kneeling position
Rectus Abdominis Stretch
Bow Stretch for abdominals
Oblique abdominals stretch in sitting