Looking for the best
lower abdominal exercises?
The first thing you need to know in your quest for gorgeous abs is that there are four components to achieving an enviable midsection. Many people mistakenly believe that, if only they could find that "magic" lower abdominal exercise, they could get rid of their stomach. Unfortunately, flattening and toning the tummy area is a bit more complicated than that--but it doesn't have to be hard, or mysterious. Here's what you need to do:
1. Reduce overall bodyfat levels.
2. Reduce or eliminate foods that cause bloating or indigestion
3. Tone the upper, side, and lower abdominals
4. Improve Your Posture
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1. Reduce Overall Bodyfat Levels
Reducing bodyfat levels is the first order of the day if you'd like better abs. Not sure what your bodyfat percentage is? Take our free bodyfat test.
If your goal is to reduce bodyfat, you need to:
1. Perform a full-body resistance training routine 2-3 times per week. Upper, oblique, and lower abdominal exercises all can be included, but be sure to hit ALL the muscles of your body, not just your abs.
2. Perform cardiovascular exercise 3-5 times per week.
3. Include sufficient protein, essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as those found in fish oil, and the correct amount of total calories in your diet to facilitate weight loss.
Don't be fooled into thinking that you need to do "spot reducing" exercises to flatten your lower stomach. Click here to explore the myths surrounding 'spot reducing.' Visit my boost your metabolism
page to learn how to stoke your metabolism, and how raising your metabolism is crucial to get your entire body, including your lower abs area, in shape.
2. Reduce or Eliminate Foods that Cause Bloating or Indigestion
Sugar alcohols are the primary reason for bloating and a poofy lower stomach. Diet and sugar-free foods often contain sugar alcohols. Sugar-free chewing gum is another common source. I've seen a number of people lose at least 2 inches off their stomach simply from avoiding sugar alcohols!
The same can be said for carbonated beverages in general. The extra air in the drinks can contribute to extra air in the stomach, which causes an enlarged abdomen.
Food allergies are another common culprit for bloating and indigestion, which can make your lower abdominal region "pouch" out. If this is happening to you, no lower abdominal exercises will help until you address the bloating. The following eight foods account for about 90% of all food allergies:
--Tree nuts (walnuts, cashews, etc.)
If you feel you may be suffering, consult with an allergist.
3. Tone the Abs with Abdominal Exercises
You need to strengthen the abdominal muscles to help flatten and firm your stomach. Performing 2-6 sets of exercises for your abs three times per week should do the trick. You should perform moves that initiate from the upper, side, and lower abdominals. Visit my best lower abdominal, abdominal, and oblique exercises
page to learn the most effective way to tone your abs and flatten your stomach. If you want some sample workouts, visit my lower abdominal exercises and other free ab workouts
4. Improve Posture by Being Aware and Full-body Strengthening
The average person has poor posture. If you improve your posture, it makes you look taller, slimmer, and younger. It also helps flatten your stomach. When you slouch, your shoulders and lower abdominals lean forward, and your pelvis tips backward, making the natural curve in your spine more pronounced.
Part of improving posture is simply being aware of it. You need to think about how you are holding your body when you are sitting and standing, not just while you are exercising. Try to maintain a slight tension in your lower abdominals when you stand. This will become second nature over time.
Also, following a balanced resistance-training routine helps improve posture. Be sure to include a bent-over row, and perhaps a rear-delt fly. Deadlifts are also extremely important for posture. These exercises all exercise the back, which is an area that needs work for most people. Why?
If the muscles in the front of your body (such as your chest) are stronger than the muscles in the back of the body, you will be inclined to slouch. Almost everybody performs more movements in their daily routine with the arms in front of the body (think: washing dishes, typing, driving, carrying things). This leads to an imbalance in the muscles that can be corrected with a properly designed exercise program. Click here for information about our Home Workout Program Design Service.
If you have a tendency to slouch, you should perform more exercises for the back of your body until your back is as strong as the muscles in the front of the body.
You might THINK you want to learn lower abdominal exercises, but if you're like most people, what you REALLY want is simply to achieve a flat, sexy stomach. Keep reading to learn the quickest and most effective way to tone and firm the abs and, most importantly, get rid of your tummy for good!Click here for reader submissions on how THEY solved their lower abdominal problem.
Myths about the results you can get
MYTH #1. There really no separate muscles called "lower" abs.
from lower abdominal exercises
Your "six pack" muscles run from the pelvis to the ribcage, and work as a unit. You can't exercise "just" the lower abs. You can, however, initiate
a contraction of your abs from the upper, lower, or side portion of the abdominals. Still, it is more important to supply a strong resistance to the abdominal region than it is to initiate from the specific part you'd like to target. For example, if you perform crunches with a 10-pound weight held behind your head for 15 reps, you will apply a strong resistance to all of your abs, including your lower abdominals. The move will initiate from the upper abs, but your lower abs will still have to work very hard. However, if you perform a reverse crunch with no added weight for 15 reps, while that movement DOES initiate from the lower abs, the total resistance applied to the abs is less and you will get an inferior workout for your lower abs.
MYTH #2. You can't pick where you lose bodyfat.
Especially for women, fat lying over the lower abdominals is usually the last to go. It WILL come off eventually if you continue to reduce overall bodyfat levels--but not if you simply do more and more lower abdominal exercises, while doing nothing to reduce your overall bodyfat levels.
MYTH #3. You need to do more abdominal exercises if you have a poochy tummy.
If you are exercising your abs and reducing overall bodyfat levels according to the recommendations and STILL are not happy, start addressing your posture, your fiber intake, your intake of sugar alcohols, your intake of carbonated beverages, and possible food allergies before you add ANOTHER set of lower abdominal exercises to your ab routine. And if you're not performing a full-body weight lifting routine as well as cardio, what are you waiting for--get to it! Following a moderate-carb diet can also help reduce bloating in the tummy.
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Tips From Other Visitors
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