Authors: Antonio Carlos Moraes,Alexandre Hideki Okano,and Edilson Serpeloni Cyrino
Abstract: Scientific and technological advances have reached many different fields of knowledge with significant improvements in diverse aspects related to the life of human beings. In the light of this, the interest of researchers in diverse areas of biological knowledge has grown in the investigation of different aspects that can contribute to the improvement and/or maintenance of the components of health-related physical fitness. In this sense, abdominal exercises have been widely employed by being included in the daily routines of physical fitness establishments, physical activity programs and physical preparation of athletes. Thus, there are more and more varieties of movements created to strengthen abdominal muscles as well as the utilization of equipment and external weights in attempts to optimizing the effect of training. Nevertheless, abdominal exercises have not always been performed with scientific knowledge acquired through research; it is indispensable that a correct methodology of execution be elaborated that takes into consideration physiological and kinesiological factors present in human movement. However, there is evidence of the importance of good levels of abdominal muscular fitness for prevention of low back pain and for the reduction of the risk of mortality. In this way, exercises for strengthening muscles, above all the abdominal muscle ought to be included in the routine of training programs independently of age group. There is no single abdominal exercise that contemplates all the muscle groups effectively. Considering the importance of abdominal exercises and their extensive application in different segments of the population, in this chapter some fundamental aspects will be contemplated for an adequate practice of exercises for strengthening the abdominal muscles. We will elaborate on properties related to the anatomy, morphology and architecture of the abdominal muscles. We will analyze some abdominal exercises commonly employed regarding their efficacy in recruiting different portions of the abdominal muscles associated to lesser compression of the vertebra discs. Besides this, there will be an analysis of utilization of equipment and external weights in the attempt to optimizing the training effects and also the implication of controlled respiration upon the hemodynamic parameters during the execution of abdominal exercises.
Color graphics are presented at the end of the chapter.