There is some debate in the fitness industry about how to work the lower abdominal muscles. The truth is that the 6 pack (rectus abdominus) is one muscle that has distinct sections. And although you cannot only contract the lower portion of the rectus abdominus, you can emphasize it a little more than the upper abs if you follow the workout tips below.
Now before we get to the 7 tips, I have to tell you that working your lower abs will not magically get rid of stomach fat. This is referred to as spot reduction and spot reduction is the biggest myth in fitness. You should work your lower abs to stabilize your pelvis, support good posture, improve function and performance, and exercise your spine in different directions.
Here are 7 Tips.
#1 Move you pelvis. The rectus abdominus attaches to the ribs and also to the pelvis. When the ribs move like in a crunch the upper abs are emphasized. However, when the pelvis moves like in a reverse crunch or a posterior pelvic tilt, the lower abs are emphasized. Reverse crunches are a great place to start when you want to workout the lower abdominal muscles.
#2 Move your legs. When you move your legs during ab exercises, your lower abdominal muscles must work really hard to stabilize the pelvis. For example, doing leg raises emphasizes the lower abs a little more than doing crunches. Leg raises can be done from many different positions, such as lying on the floor, hanging from a bar, or using a captain’s chair.
#3 Add resistance when you get stronger. If you get so strong that reverse crunches or leg raises become easy, you should add resistance to the exercises to breakthrough your strength plateaus. Ankle weights are a great way to add resistance to your legs to increase the challenge on your lower abdominal muscles.
#4 Use an incline. Using an incline is another great way to emphasize and increase the challenge in the lower abdominal area. If you do reverse crunches or leg raises on an incline board, your lower ab muscles work much harder against gravity.
#5 Use something contoured. This is a hidden secret to get more muscle work in your lower abs. Since your lower back has a slight natural curve, using a contoured surface like a Bosu Ball or a Pilates Barrel allows you to get more range of motion and more muscle work. Since the floor is flat it may decrease your range of motion during certain exercises, but with a contoured surface you get more motion.
#6 Stretch your lower back and hips. Inflexibility in the hips and back will decrease your range of motion and put additional pressure on your lower back. Because most people have sedentary jobs, most people have stiff lower back. If you have a stiff lower back, you will have difficulty emphasize your entire abdominal region, especially the lower abs. You should warm up and stretch your hips and lower back before doing lower ab exercises.
#7 Workout your abs 2-3 times a week. No need to workout your lower abdominal muscles every day. 2-3 times a week is all you need. You do not have to slave away doing a thousand repetitions. 2-6 total sets of 12-20 repetitions are all you really need.
Now, if you want to lose weight, you should take a comprehensive approach to fitness and also perform aerobic exercise, weight training, and eat a healthy diet.
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