Lower ab exercises stabilize the core helping prevent and back pain. The core includes muscles of the lower back along with deep core stabilizing muscles. The stronger you can get these muscles, the more support you will have for your spine.
When it comes to adding muscle to your midsection, not all ab exercises are created equal.
No matter if you’re chasing the elusive eight-pack or just want reduce fat at your core, lower ab workouts could be the missing ingredient in your training program.
Being just one of the core muscles, the rectus abdominis, runs down your abdomen, most abs movements primarily activate the ‘upper’ portion of the abdominals. This is why muscle mass maybe more impressive at the top.
Not just harder to show off, but the lower abs can be tricky to target. You may be more predisposed to storing unwanted fat in that area. So making this area of muscle stand out could take some serious dedication. Getting results mainly will comes down to your diet.
Strengthening the Lower Abs
If an area of the core is weak, other body parts will need to compensate. Everyday activities like sitting at your desk or driving can weaken the abs. If your lower abs lack the strength, your back and hips may suffer.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Western lifestyle has lead to many people suffering from an anterior pelvic tilt. This is basically when the pelvis, which includes the hip and pubic bones, tilts or rotates forward.
Often this is because of muscular imbalance in the lower half of the body. This happens because there is a combination of weak and tight muscles pulling the pelvis forward.
Basically, your pelvis is rotated forward, forcing your spine to curve. Strength training your core helps bring your pelvis back into a neutral position. The result is an improve body posture.
This is especially true in sports where you need dynamic posture. How you hold yourself as you move, has a direct impact on your ability to perform athletic moves.
To best create most amount of power with the upper and lower body, the pelvis and spine needs to be stable. Stability is the result of a high functioning core and glute muscles. For sports, a strong core is will allow athletes to lift heavier weights, sprint faster and change direction quicker.
To get the most out of each lower ab exercise, be sure to breathe in during the ‘eccentric’ part of the exercise. This is the the lowering part of the movement. Then breathe out during the ‘concentric’ part. This is when you return to neutral.
How deeply you breathe is controlled by the diaphragm. A properly function core acts like a piston system. This system is driven by the diaphragm. Your diaphragm expands when you breathe in, causing your pelvic floor to lengthen and drop.
When you exhale, your diaphragm contracts and your pelvic floor lifts. This is like a piston moving down and up.
Also, when done correctly, the pressure created by this system also acts like a balloon. Your breathing in expands your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are forced outward, There is stretch much like a balloon.
When you exhale, air is released and results in your abdominals and pelvic floor muscles contracting. This like the natural recoil that would occur if you let the air out of a balloon.
This is a Natural Process
If it's true it's natural for us to breathe this way, then why do so many people have problems activating our core correctly?
Lifestyle is the main culprit. As we age and allow postural habits to form we "forget" how to breathe properly. The fact is most people aren't aware this is happening.
Mistake of Chest Breathing
When you use your diaphragm correctly, air should be pushed into the belly. If instead of the ribs are expanding out and back, then all you're doing is using the upper chest. This is very common mistake. Chest breathing often results in a too tight and elevated shoulders. Also, back pain and even tight hip flexors can result because the deep abdominals can’t work properly. This causes a bunch of problems because the rest of your body needs to compensate.
Test Your Breathing
Practice taking deep breaths, by placing one hand on your belly. See if your hand is moving in and out along with your chest. This is how you can teach yourself how to breathe properly so that your deep core muscles get activated.
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Lower Ab Home Workout
To hit the lower abs, think about pulling your belly button in toward your spine and not pushing your stomach out when doing any ab exercise. To hit the lower abs really good, during a crunch, shoot feet up toward the curling. Hold the crunch at the top of the movement, then begin to lower your hips, controlling the descent and not letting your back arch.