Treadmills can help strengthen your abs.
Chris Clinton/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Strong abs play a critical role in maintaining a fit body. Your abs, which are made up of the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and obliques, together with the other core muscles of your hips, glutes, and lower back, are engaged when you use a treadmill. However, to strengthen your abs, you need to do other exercises that specifically work them.
Knowing Your Abs
When most people think of their abs, they think of the rectus abdominis, the flat band of muscle that runs down the front of the trunk between the chest and pubic bone. Your abs also consist of the external obliques located on each side of the rectus abdominis and the internal obliques that run at right angles beneath the external obliques. The transverse abdominis is a deep-lying abdominal muscle that holds internal organs in place and works to help you push air out of your lungs during exertion.
Engaging Your Abs on the Treadmill
When you run or walk briskly on a treadmill, your rectus abdominis and obliques kick in to stabilize your trunk and keep it upright. They also work to stabilize your pelvis. These muscles work harder as you increase your speed and break into a run. Your rectus abdominis and obliques work strongly to stabilize your pelvis and trunk when you walk or run at an incline on the treadmill. As your breathing rate increases, your transverse abdominis works harder to push air out from your lungs.
Burning Fat From Your Abs
The American Council on Exercise defines cardiovascular exercise as an activity that elevates heart rate and improves use of oxygen. Over a prolonged period of time, this burns fat for energy and thus helps you lose weight. Though running or brisk walking on a treadmill is a cardiovascular activity and helps you lose fat all over your body, it doesn't specifically help you burn fat from your abs as you cannot spot reduce fat from targeted parts of your body.
Strengthening Your Abs
Don't neglect to perform exercises that specifically target your abs. These could include exercises such as crunches and planks. According to research sponsored by the American Council on Exercise, some of the most effective ab exercises include crunches on an exercise ball and vertical leg crunches performed with your legs extended straight up in the air. For each of these exercises, do as many reps as you can three or four times a week.