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The abdominal muscles cover the front of the body, from ribs to pelvis. The muscle group comprises four sections. The transversus abdominus lies deep within the body to support the body's trunk and spine. The rectus abdominus covers the layer of internal muscle. The external and internal obliques form the sides of the trunk, allowing the torso to twist from side to side. Keeping your abs strong and stretched helps maintain good posture and keeps your spine straight. Stretch the ab muscles to avoid soreness after a workout and to allow them to return to relax when the muscles are not contracted.
Ideally, you should stretch the ab muscles after engaging in a workout when the muscles are warm. Stretching cold muscles can cause injury or strain. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds or longer. Breathe deeply as you stretch, pulling the air in through your nose and letting it out through your mouth. Refrain from bouncing into a stretch, instead pushing deeper into the stretch as you exhale. Always stop a stretch if you feel pain, but feel free to repeat a stretch that feels good or is releasing tension from a tight area. Speak to a doctor about specific stretches to do if you are recovering from an injury or health issue directly affecting your abdominal muscles.
Lie on your back with your arms stretched above your head. Arrange your body in a straight line, with the hips, shoulders and head in a straight line. Stretch your body as long as possible by reaching out through your toes and up through your fingertips. Imagine someone is pulling on both your hands and your feet to lengthen the body. Your abdominal muscles will pull in opposite directions, providing a deep stretch. Keep your spine straight and your head neutral. Breathe as you hold the stretch for about 30 seconds.
Stretching the abs right after you do a round of crunches can bring fast, effective relief. Roll over onto your stomach and stretch your legs straight behind the body, keeping them about hip-width apart. Place your hands, palms down, next to your shoulders and push up, lifting the chest and hips off the floor. Keep your thighs on the floor as you hold the stretch looking straight ahead with the chin tucked in. For a simpler version, rest on your elbows as you lift only the chest. Hold for several deep breaths.
Standing Ab Stretch
A standing ab stretch releases tension from the core muscles by opening the chest and gently elongating the muscles. Stand with good posture by placing your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward. Keep your shoulders down and back and your head neutral. Elongate your spine, keeping it tall and straight. Reach your arms up over your head, stretching as high as possible. Lean back slightly, arching the back and elongating the abdominal muscles. Keep your head neutral as you open the chest and pull the arms as far as you can behind you. If you feel like you're losing your balance, bring the arms forward a bit. Breathe deeply and hold for about 30 seconds.