The lower abs may be the most important part of the abdominals to exercise because they essentially stabilize the spine and are responsible for injury prevention. The lower ab muscles include the Rectus Abdominus and the Transverse Abdominus. The Rectus runs vertically and the Transverse runs horizontally underneath the Rectus. Here are 5 lower ab exercises you can use to get those lower abs in shape.
Lower Ab Exercise # 1- Triggering Your Transverse Abdominus -
This may seem like a harder lower ab exercise at first because many folks aren’t use to working the Transverse Ab. Try to focus on using this muscle only and not any other muscles. Heres what you can do:
- Lye face down flat on the floor or you may use your hands and knees to make it somewhat easier.
- Use your Transverse ab to pull your belly button in as much as possible. Concentrate on relaxing all other muscles but your Transverse Ab.
- Once you have it sucked in, hold it there until you can’t anymore. Usually what happens is that you’ll begin to feel other muscles contract.
- If its too much, just hold it for a ten count and repeat it ten times. As it becomes easier to do, try increasing the amount of time for the hold. The amount of time you are contracting your Transverse Ab shouldn’t exceed two minutes total. Once you are able to contract that muscle for two minutes or more, you’ll have plenty of strength to move on to lower ab exercises of more difficulty.
Lower Ab Exercise # 2 – Lay your Lower Back Flat on the Floor -
Heres one more basic lower ab exercise you should do before moving on to more advanced and more difficult exercises. This exercise will also strengthen the muscles to help prevent injury of the lower back.
- Lye down on your back, knees up and bent with your feet flat on the ground in front of you. Relax and take a mental note of the natural small space under your lower back as you lye there motionless.
- Stimulate your lower abs and flatten your back to decrease that natural space and push to put pressure on the ground.
- In order for the lower back to flatten entirely, you’ll have to use some pelvic swivels. Make sure to use the ab muscles to create the rotation rather than any other muscles. Keep the legs relaxed.
- Hold your back down using your lower abs for ten seconds. Again go for two minutes of total contraction.
- Concentrate on taking deep breaths while exercising your ab muscles.
- Get good at this exercise before moving on to the next.
Lower Ab Exercise # 3 – Using your Lower Abs to Move you Legs
- Start in the same position as exercise 2 with back flat on the floor, knees bent and feet flat in front of you.
- This exercise will require you to keep your lower abs tight throughout the entire exercise and there are four methods and varying degrees of difficulty to perform this exercise. If at anytime you feel your lower back doing the exercise or aching, stop immediately.
- Keep in mind the position of your lower back while performing these exercises. If you feel your lower back begin to arch, it means your abs aren’t strong enough to handle this exercise yet. Refer back to exercise one and two until you are ready.
Here is the four variations of exercise 3:
- One leg reps with bent leg: To start, keep one leg as is on the ground with the other leg bent in the air so your thigh is perpendicular to the ground. Lower the leg slowly until your foot comes close to but not hit the ground. The closer you get that foot to the ground, the harder your lower abs will have to work.
- One leg reps with straight leg: The same exercise as above, but the leg you are raising and lowering should be kept straight. This will work your abs a bit more.
- Two leg reps with legs bent: Same idea but no legs will remain on the ground. You’ll use both legs and keep both legs bent as you are going through your progressions.
- Two leg reps with legs straight: This is the most difficult and is the same movements but your legs will remain straight as you lower and raise them.
Lower Ab Exercise # 4 – Developing your Core -
- Start this exercise face down on the floor as you were going to do a push up but with your elbows on the ground holding your body up off the floor rather than your hands. Your shoulders should be directly in front of your elbows.
- You’ll feel your abs stimulate as you hold yourself up off the ground. Be sure to keep your belly pulled in. Hold this position straight for as long as possible. Your elbows and feet should be the only thing holding you up.
- Once you can’t hold it anymore, relax for a few seconds and then repeat for a total of one to three sets.
- You can also increase the difficulty by lifting a foot off the ground just slightly. Switch legs for every set.
Lower Ab Exercise # 5 Hanging Leg Raise -
- This exercise is a step up from the previous lower ab exercises and will require something to hang from.
- Start by hanging from the bar, legs parallel to the ground and knees bent 90 degrees. This is the starting position.
- Work your lower abs by pulling your legs in towards your chest. The range of motion is small but you should feel your lower abs contract as you pull your legs in.
- As you return your legs to the starting position from the crunch, be sure to keep your lower back from arching. You can let your legs loose a little but only if you can keep your back straight.
- Also, be sure not to swing your legs or use any momentum with the exercise. This is cheating and it will not help develop your lower abs so much. Concentrate on a controlled movement using your lower ab muscles.
- Keep the knees bent between reps. Straightening your legs towards the ground will work your hip flexors and not your lower abs.
Using these 5 lower ab exercises correctly will certainly help shape your lower abs significantly. They will also help prevent injury and lower back problems. Remember though that exercise alone will not bring you wash board abs. Watching what you eat and adding aerobics into your exercise routine will really work miracles.