Developing strength and flexibility in your lower abdomen and groin provides a strong foundation for the moves you make in everyday life, as well as those done during workouts and other physical activities.
By using specific exercises that isolate the lower abdomen, you can strengthen your core and decrease your chance of a painful injury. Your lower abdomen and groin is a sensitive area for injuries.
In activities that involve sudden changes in direction or twisting motions, you can put a strain on tendons and muscles in your lower abdomen, in the oblique muscles in the lower abdomen and groin.
This injury, commonly called a sports hernia, can be prevented with a few lower abdomen-strengthening exercises, done several times a week. These exercises will give you a good foundation for strenuous activities such as soccer, hockey, football or wrestling.
For the scissor exercise, start by laying flat, keeping your legs, arms, shoulders and hips pressed into the floor. Then, point your legs straight toward the ceiling and cross your legs back and forth rapidly as you slowly bring your legs down to about 30 degrees.
Once you reach 30 degrees, bring your legs back up to the starting position. It's important not to arch your back, as this will prevent you from engaging those lower abdominal muscles. This exercise is especially good for engaging the groin muscles in your inner thighs.
Micro Thrust Exercise
The next move, called the micro thrust, targets your lower abdomen directly. Begin in the same starting position as the scissor, keeping your back, shoulders, and arms flat with palms facing down.
Next, lift your legs so that they point straight up in the air. For 30 seconds, lift your tailbone off the ground, thrusting your hips and legs straight up into the air a few inches. Repeat this motion rapidly. After 30 seconds, stop and rest for 15 seconds before repeating.
The bent-leg raise strengthens the lower abdomen and groin. Start in the same position as the scissor and micro thrust, but instead of bringing your legs straight into the air, leave your feet on the floor with knees bent at a right angle.
Next, lift your feet off the floor so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor, with knees bent. Slowly return to the starting position, and repeat for one full minute.
Don't overdo it. Many exercises take practice and strength-building to properly execute. If the exercises listed are too difficult, work your way up to them slowly over several weeks or months.