What are core muscles?
Core or abdominal muscles are the muscles that lie within the back and abdominals, attaching to the pelvis or spine. They are a set of strong bands of muscles that line the walls of your abdomen. The core muscles include five primary muscles: the rectus abdominus (your abs), pyramidalis, external and internal obliques, and the transversus abdominis.
Your core muscles have essential functions, including protecting and holding your internal organs in place. The abs are among the most popular abdominal muscles because of their aesthetic and iconic appearance. As a result, many people train their abs (often exclusively) to make them visible and sculpted.
One of such abdominal training that many people employ is the isometric abs exercises or constant ab flexing. As a person seeking chiseled abs, it is vital to learn the effects of constantly flexing your abs.
What are isometric exercises?
Isometric exercises are exercises that engage your muscles without changing their length. For example, when curling, the biceps muscle gets shorter as your lift the weight toward your shoulder and gets extended as you straighten your arm.
Isometric exercises do not involve any muscle movement and emphasize holding your body or body part in a specific position for a certain period. Unlike weightlifting, where the weights provide the resistance, gravity from your body weight provides the resistance with isometric exercises.
It’s essential to know that isometric exercises are not substitutes for weightlifting. Because of this, there are other options you can consider if you have a problem with your gym, including setting up a home gym.
Keep Your Abs Flexed All Day?
There are several reasons people flex their abs all day. For some, they lead hectic lives and do not have enough time to work out, so they resort to constant ab flexing. On the other hand, some gym-goers constantly flex their abs because they see it as an opportunity for a passive workout. Regardless of the reasons, ab flexing commonly produces identical results.
Ab flexing will undoubtedly build your ab strength over time due to its nature. This is because isometric exercises strengthen your muscles by contracting and keeping them still as they face resistance. Instead of pushing weights, you are strengthening your abs by holding still.
Nevertheless, you cannot rely on constant flexing to develop your abs. This is because flexing requires you to hold still in one position, effectively only strengthening in a single position. As a result, you require comprehensive flexing positions to ensure your abs get a holistic development. Additionally, while it develops ab strength, ab flexing may not help to improve your muscle’s flexibility.
Is it good or bad to keep your abs flexed all day?
Keeping your abs flexed all day may be good or bad, depending on what you hope to achieve with it. Ab flexing may be just enough for your goals; then again, it may be undesirable if you have specific plans.
When is consistent ab flexing bad?
Here are some instances where ab flexing may be a bad idea:
Quick abs development
Ab flexing will be insufficient if you look to develop your abs as quickly as possible. This is because muscle flexing will not develop your abs as quickly as regular ab exercises. Muscles grow through consistent hypertrophy, and optimal muscle hypertrophy results from repeatedly lengthening and shortening your muscles.
As already established, isometric exercises focus on static resistance. As a result, relying on ab flexing alone to develop your abs will take much longer than using regular hypertrophy-optimal ab exercises.
High body fat percentage
Ab flexing will also be insufficient if you have a fat layer above your abdominal region. Muscle definition depends on several factors, including low body fat, and it is unlikely to lose belly fat through ab workouts. The confirmed method to efficiently lose your belly fat (and, in fact, all fat) is to be on a caloric deficit.
Nevertheless, ab flexing may strengthen your abs, but they will typically remain invisibly covered by the layers of fat on your abdominal region until you lose them.
When is consistent ab flexing good?
Here are some instances where consistently flexing your abs may be sufficient:
Isometric exercises enhance muscle definition (if you already have a low body-fat ratio). Most people report seeing results of ab flexing within five to six weeks if they already have a healthy fat ratio. As a result, you can resort to flexing your abs all day if you desire improved abs definition.
Isometric exercises are also excellent for developing muscular strength and endurance. You can employ constant abs flexing if you desire to build your core strength and endurance. This is especially useful if you are an athlete as abs strength and endurance are essential for most sprinters.
Recovering from a physical injury
Isometric exercises are excellent for persons who are just recovering from bodily injuries that limit their movement. For example, an injury to your back, shoulder, or chest may limit your motion range. As a result, flexing your abs consistently will provide them with enough resistance to prevent muscular atrophy.
Tips for constant ab flexing
Here are some essential tips for flexing your abs:
Focus on your lower abdominals
Focusing on your lower abs is essential when you flex your abs. This is because your obliques and lower abs are commonly the most challenging ab muscles to get muscle definition. On the other hand, you more commonly flex your upper and middle abs during your regular daily activities.
Attain optimal body posture
If you’re going for consistent abs flex, you should start by relaxing your shoulders and sitting or standing up straight. Ensure your spine remains neutral and pull your navel towards it, engaging your transverse muscles.
You can also activate your oblique muscles by aligning your ribcage directly above your pelvis. While doing this, you can also lift your pelvic floor muscles to engage your lower abs.
Other benefits of ab flexing
Flexing any of your muscles generally enhances your mind-body connection and improves muscle memory. Essentially, the more you flex, the more your body gets used to remaining in such a position. Flexing can also help you develop and maintain proper body posture.