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💥 It has always been thought that one is able to target different sections of the rectus abdominis with different exercises. However, some professionals have strongly disagreed saying the rectus abdominis functions as one unit. But as a previous study showed there is separate innervation for the lower and upper portion. We can see this further in this study that looked at different activation of the lower and upper abs with different exercises (Escamilla R. et al 2006)
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From a study looking at the EMG activation of the rectus abdominis during different ab exercise we can see what exercise target the abs best. The best exercises for targeting the upper abdominals – The first one is the reverse crunch inclined at 30 degrees, the next is the power wheel roll-out, and last is hanging knee-up with straps, regular crunch was 4th on the list.

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💥 When it comes to targeting the lower abs the best exercise are; the power wheel roll-out, next hanging knee-up with straps, lastly a power wheel pike. Here is the list for internal and external oblique’s; first for external ( Power wheel pike, power wheel knee-up, and hanging knee ups with straps). For internal oblique’s the best exercises are (reverse crunch inclined 30deg, hanging knee ups, and power wheel pike). And lastly for targeting the oblique muscles the side plank, (not from the study).
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These are the best exercises for targeting the core muscles and are very useful in terms of rehab as well as physical therapist can choose certain exercise to isolate different muscles for increasing core stability. Some of the exercise are at a high intensity and may need to be build up to to be performed correctly.
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I always like to incorporate the vacuum hold exercise in my core training for developing great motor control.

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