Lower Abdominal Exercises
Lower abdominal exercises are
different from most ab workouts in that they involve more of an
isometric contraction versus a traditional isotonic contraction like a
the job of the lower abdominals (transverse abdominus) is to stabilize
the pelvis and prevent excessive motion, not necessarily to produce
motion at the trunk. So, to exercise the lower abs, you have to
approach them in a different manner than the traditional abdominal
Targeting the Lower Abs
abdominal exercises involve a stabilizing contraction of the low abs,
and then some type of challenge to the body to remain stabilized.
Before we get to the challenges though, we need to find your lower
The simple way to find the lower abs is to lay
on your back, with your knees bent to 90 degrees. Find your hip bones,
or the most prominent point of your hip that sticks out in the front.
Put your index finger on both hip
Now, move your fingers about 1
inch in towards your belly button, and one inch down. This is where
The next part is a
little tricky. You want to try to contract these muscles, but they are
sometimes a little lazy.
I always tell my patients
to imagine trying to get into a pair of jeans that are two sizes two
small. You need to imagine drawing your stomach in as close to your spine
as you can.
If you do this correctly, you should
feel the area under your fingers tighten, but not bulge out. If you are
having trouble contracting them, try to make your feet as light as you
can on the floor. Don't lift them, as this will activate the rectus
abdominus. Just think about them being really light.
you contract your low abs, hold for a few seconds and repeat. Get used
the feeling of having them contracted and drawn in. This is the key to
all lower abdominal exercises.
the Lower Abdominals
Remember, the lower abs
stabilize the pelvis. The job is fairly easy when you are lying on your
back and not moving. To challenge the lower abs, and to make them
stronger, you need to move your arms and legs, or be laying or standing
on unstable surfaces.
A great way to do this is with a foam
roll. You can work your lower abdominals just by laying on a foam roll.
Start on your back with your knees bent, and then contract your abs and
maintain your balance.
As your balance improves,
try moving your feet closer together. Once this is easy, you are ready
to start moving the arms and legs.
Start with moving your arms
alternating right and left. This movement will change your center of
gravity, and your lower abs will have to react to keep you stabilized
and on the foam roll.
Next, try extending your
legs, one at a time.
This is a lot harder than moving the arms, and will work your lower abs
Start with your hands on your chest or
stomach, extend one leg, hold for 2-3 seconds, and then switch to the
To make things even more
extend one leg and the opposite arm at the same time. This is an
advanced foam roll lower abdominal exercise, and may take awhile to
work up to.
You can use a medicine ball to make
these exercises even more challenging.
the lower abdominals to contract is sometimes hard at first. But once
you find them and learn to contract them, then the sky is the limit as
to how you can challenge them to work harder and stabilize the core.
Using a foam roller is a great way to work the lower abs, and is an
inexpensive way for lower abdominal training.
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