Tired of Lower Belly Bulge? How to Work Lower Abs
Imagine yourself with the perfect body. My guess is that you are not envisioning someone with ripped arms, toned legs and calf muscles, and then a saggy belly. That coveted 6-pack and possibly 8-pack is like the icing on the cake to the body you’re working so hard to achieve, and maintain. So why is it so difficult to acquire super ripped abs? For both men and women the lower abdominal region has proven to be a trouble spot. Most people don’t have a whole lot of difficulty seeing tone and definition in the upper abdominal muscles with a little effort, but to obtain the whole abdominal package, you are going to have to dig deep.
Lower Abdominal Muscles
The rectus abdominus is the front abdominal muscle that runs from the lower rib cage all the way down to the pubis bone. This is the muscle that is commonly labeled the “6-pack” muscle of the abdomen. Thin bands of connective tissue are responsible for creating this look. Unlike the upper portion of the rectus abdominus, which is made up of thick, muscle blocks, the lower abdominals are more of a thin sheath of muscle, and with hard work, become the final ingredient for the yearned for 8-pack of ripped abs.
How to Work Out Lower Abs
According to the American Council on Exercise, studies recording electromyographic activity during ab exercises suggest that, in general, individuals are unable to recruit the lower and upper abdominal muscles separately. So, this means that because the upper and lower abs act as one large muscle, any application that targets the upper stomach muscles will also target the lower stomach muscles.
However, working lower abs still has value. You can more specifically tone lower abs by doing exercises that involve various movements of the legs such as hanging leg raises, leg pull-ins on a seated flat bench, flutter kicks, and reverse crunches. Another good way to work out lower abs is by using an exercise ball. Performing crunches on an exercise ball allows for a more complete extension and stretch of the abdominal muscles allowing you to recruit and work lower abs more fully.
Tips on How to Work Your Lower Abs
• Be careful not to strain the lower back. You should not experience back pain performing abdominal exercises. If you do, stop immediately and make sure you are doing the exercise correctly.
• Lower abs are generally stabilizing muscles, not strength muscles. So paying attention to endurance would provide more value and should be given priority over strength.
• Breathe correctly. It is very important! When tightening abs, exhale and when lengthening, inhale.
• Be sure to feel a tightening and stretching of lower abdominals with each exercise.
• Lower abs fatigue easily. Be sure to allow for adequate rest.
• Perform exercises in a slow and controlled manner. Do not use jerky or erratic movement.
How to Tone Lower Abs by Lowering Body Fat
While learning how to exercise lower abs is an important step in working toward your 6-pack, there is one critical factor you should consider when thinking about how to get lower abs you can be proud of, and this is decreasing body fat. You can perform abdominal exercises until you are blue in the face, but they will do very little for you if a layer of fat is hindering the view. In fact, the lower abs are one of the last places stubborn fat will disappear from, and the truth is that you really have to work on getting your body fat super low to even see the lower ab muscles. The following are suggestions of how to tone your lower abs, simply by burning the fat that is on top of them.
1. Consume a Healthy Diet: Eating a healthy diet is crucial and is really a great place to start when trying to reduce body fat. Eliminating all processed food, sugars, and cuts of meat that are high in fat from your diet is essential and eating several small meals a day, rather than three large ones will also help.
2. Commit to Cardio: Cardio is a great way to burn calories and should be included in your general fitness plan. If you feel like you have reached a plateau with your current cardio choice, shock your body into burning more calories by switching things up and trying something new, or better yet, integrate some interval training into your cardio routine.
3. Strength Training for Overall Muscle Strength and Tone: All muscle groups should be worked out equally, not just the abdominals. Focusing on exercises that work large muscle groups such as squats, lunges , and push-ups, to name a few, are good because they require use of stabilizing muscles, rather than focusing on one solitary muscle. They also build lean muscle mass which facilitates a better metabolism allowing you to burn more calories, even while at rest.
Summing It Up
While all abdominal exercises designed to work the front abdominal muscles will also target the lower abs, just by muscle association, including lower ab exercises, as mentioned, will further target that stubborn lower stomach area. Remember however, that part of having ripped abs involves decreasing body fat as well, which can be accomplished through diet, cardio exercise, and strength training.
So, now that you know how to work out your lower abs, you are well on your way to that long sought after 6 pack and with real devotion and determination, an 8-pack. Your new problem will be finding an excuse to take off your shirt.
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Faulkner, Tyson. (August 13, 2009) How to Work Lower Abs- The One Secret You’re Missing. Retrieved on March 31, 2012 from http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Work-Lower-Abs—The-One-Secret-Youre-Missing&id=2757575
Guide to Lose Fat and Get Six Pack Abs. (December 17, 2011). Retrieved on March 31, 2012 from http://www.howtoworklowerabsguide.com/
How to Work Lower Abs. Retrieved on March 31, 2012 from http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/how-to-work-lower-abs-7743.html
Richardson, Kevin. (April 1, 2010). How to Build Your Lower Abs-Not as Easy as You Think. Retrieved on March 31, 2012 from http://www.naturallyintense.net/blog/high-intensity-training/how-to-build-your-lower-abs-not-as-easy-as-you-think/