After all your hard work, you look in the mirror only to be frustrated with your results. You have been working your abs really hard and instead of a six-pack, you only see a four-pack. Don’t give up -- the lower part of your abs is the hardest muscle to work. Knowing how to target your lower abs effectively will help you get that six-pack.
Check Out My Abs
Your abdominal muscles consist of the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, internal obliques and external obliques. The rectus abdominis is the large muscle that runs from the rib cage down to your pelvis, while the transverse abdominis lies under the rectus abdominis. The inner oblique lies to the sides of the rectus femoris under the external obliques. The abdomen and oblique muscles play a role in many of your day-to-day activities including pulling the legs up, protecting your spine as well as your organs. Having a strong abdominal area will not only protect your spine, it may be beneficial in activities that require a lot of jumping.
You Must Be Proper
Targeting only the lower abs is very difficult; this is why they are the hardest part to see results. In order to target your lower abs you must learn to raise your hips. Laying flat on the floor with your legs bent and back flat, lift your hips off the floor not just your glutes. Once you have the technique down, you will now be able to move to other exercises.
On the Floor
With your back flat on the floor or mat, begin with a lying leg raise. From here you can go on to flutter kicks. With your legs straight, alternate raising and lowering your legs to no more than an inch off the ground. Straight leg raises are another exercise that will help target your lower abs. Lift your legs straight up into the air, raise and lower your hips keeping your back flat on the mat. You can end with the dead bug -- with this exercise you will raise your legs and upper body at the same time.
Stability balls will not only allow you to strengthen and tone your core, they will also help target your lower abs. Before starting your program on the ball be sure to have a ball that’s the proper size for your height. When you’re sitting on the ball, your hips and knees should be at a 90-degree angle. Also, be sure the ball is properly inflated. Add the stability ball to your floor program to add extra resistance to your lower abs. For the leg raise, place the ball between your legs while you raise and lower your hips. For the dead bug, keep the ball in between your legs. Raising both your legs and upper body, grab the ball bringing it down to the floor and past your head.
Get it Done
If you are adding abdominal exercises to your routine, start with one to two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. Abdominal exercises can be done several times a week on nonconsecutive days; this gives your abs a chance to rest. Once you have become used to the ab exercises, increase your sets to three and do 20 to 25 reps. If you have added the stability ball, you may need to go down in repetitions for the first few days. Increase your reps as you become used to the movement and the increased intensity from the ball.
- ACSM'S Foundations Of Strength Training And Conditioning; Nicholas Ratamess
- NSCA'S Strength Training; Lee E. Brown
- Strength Training Anatomy; Frederic Delavier