Don’t worry about your “lower abs” – they don’t exist!

How many of us (especially moms) are preoccupied with their “lower abs“. We are of course referring to that little pooch below the belly button that rears its ugly head after childbirth and even just as we get older. Women crunch and “lower ab exercise ” themselves sill thin king they can get rid of that pooch. Yes you can get rid of that pooch – but not by crunching them away.

I read a statement from Hers Muscle and Fitness (great website btw) that said flat abs are made 70% in the kitchen and 30% in the gym. I would personally go on to say that flat abs are made in the kitchen, but strong abs are made at the gym. Take note of your diet and how it affects the size and feel of your stomach.  I notice a difference in my abs when I wake up after having had a large or fat and carb loaded dinner the night before. On the flip side, if my dinner was normal size and healthy, my stomach appears flatter and I feel less heavy and bloated. Direct corelation – no question that our diet pretty much controls our ab situation. So what we eat consistently on a day to day basis determines how much fat covers that six pack (which even though you can’t see it, the muscles are right there).

Now, having said that, exercise can also help reveal those abs. As you lose body fat your abs will appear as will all the other muscles that were once covered. It is not however, possible to spot reduce. Your body type and genetics determine where you gain and lose weight and in what order. Stay consistent with the weight loss though and no matter your body type you can have a flat stomach – it just might not come before the sleeker thighs and toned arms.

Let’s look at the structure of our abdominal muscles to understand why we don’t have lower abs.

As you can see the rectus abdominus (the six pack abs) are one long muscle. It works as one unit – you cannot separately work the lower from the upper. Then why do you feel like the lower abs are working more in some exercises? A common reason is that when you think you are working your lower abs, you are are actually engaging your psoas  muscles :

These are also referred to as hip flexors which can cause the burn you may think are your lower abs.

The best exercises for the core (all abdominal muscles – rectus abdominus, obliques and transverse abdominus) are stabilization exercises. Examples are plank, side plank, certain pilates moves, and basically anything that challenges your balance. Try standing on one leg – you can’t help but engage your core to keep standing.

So don’t give up on your lower belly – just watch your diet (more lean proteins, veggies and whole grains) and add some stabilizing moves that strengthens your core and you will be on the road to a flat stomach – and yes flat “lower abs”.

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4 thoughts on “Don’t worry about your “lower abs” – they don’t exist!

  1. I do not comment, but I looked at a ton of remarks on Dont worry about
    your lower abs – they dont exist! gofitmoms. I actually do have a
    few questions for you if you do not mind. Is it just me or does it seem like a few of
    the responses look like they are left by brain dead visitors?
    😛 And, if you are writing at other online sites, I’d like to follow anything fresh you have to post. Would you list of every one of your social networking pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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