How To Build Your Lower Abs: The Problem Area *
For most- both men and especially women, the lower abdominal region is their trouble spot. Even for those in relatively good shape the question always seems to arise on how do you build your lower abs and the region right under your belly button flat and tight. There are lots of exercise that people claim will shred your lower abs, but a look at the biological realities behind those claims make them somewhat suspect. To understand what it takes to have developed flat lower abs we should explain the structure of the abdominal muscles. The upper region of your rectus abdominus is relatively heavily muscled and can be easily developed which is what gives you that unmistakable six pack when the area is low in subcutaneous fat. Most people that diet properly and are able to reduce their overall body fat will start seeing their upper abdominals even if they are marginally developed but not their lower abs.
The problem is that your lower abdominals are more of a thin sheath of muscle as opposed to the thickly muscled blocks of your upper abdominals. Thus you can do all the exercises in the world, but to have prominently visible abs, you must have low body-fat levels in your stomach region. Since there is so little to the lower region, in terms of protruding muscle, you really have to get your overall body fat levels down to the lowest levels in order to see them. In fact when I work with bodybuilders and fitness models preparing them for contests that way that you would determine whether or not they are competition ready and at their best is when you can see the ridges of their lower abs and some vascularity in that area as well.
How To Build Your Lower Abs: Exercises That Target The Region *
From an exercise standpoint the lower abs serve to rotate the pelvis inwards towards the ribcage so any movement such as reverse crunches or leg raise type exercise will focus on that area- but it more a matter of strengthening the region that building it up as there really isn’t that much to build. At the end of the day it comes down to how much you can reduce your body fat levels and the same holds true for your upper abdominals as well. You can do sit ups until you are blue in the face, train your abs everyday and still not see much of anything as such movements only work the muscle but do little to get rid of the layer of fat obscuring your abs.
How to Build Your Lower Abs: Too Many Abdominal Exercises May Cause A Protruding Stomach *
That being said, train your abdominal muscles the same way that you train any other body part and don’t overdo it. Your goal should be to ensure that your midsection is strong and balanced and by training them everyday with a slew of exercises you are only over-training the area and may in some instances even over develop your abdominals. Once problem that I have seen happen with people that go too far is that they develop very blocky type abs- which may look impressive when their shirt is off but the blocks protrude outwards and give the appearance of a big gut when they are wearing clothes- which is certainly not what most people are looking for and is almost impossible to completely reverse. You see it as well with individuals that use anabolic steroids as their abdominals become far bigger than they ordinarily would be and thus they have to suck their stomach in to not look like they have a beer gut- which isn’t really a pretty sight.
Having Great Lower Abs Comes Down To Your Diet & Your Bodyfat Levels *
For the record- I don’t train my abdominals directly on a regular basis and haven’t done so seriously for over ten years now and they still look exactly the same- lower abs included. It might surprise you as well that the majority of natural athletes with great abs don’t really do much to keep them that way besides watch what they eat. If you follow a properly executed high intensity weight training routine your abdominals get a real workout in the process stabilizing your midsection during heavy movements and again you don’t want to over develop them by doing too much. So less is more if you have been training for several years doing more abdominal work isn’t going to do very much to make them come out more.
Diet is the key and keep in mind that for your lower abs to be really tight, (especially for women) you really have to work hard to reduce and maintain your body fat to the point where they are visible. Training wise you’ll have a better chance at seeing your lower abs come out from high intensity resistance training rather than conventional aerobic type workouts but the onus still is on your diet. That being said having great lower abs shouldn’t be the be-all-and-end-all of any fitness program. Remember that having a low bodyfat percentage doesn’t always mean that you are healthy and you can have a six pack and still suffer from health related problems. Instead keep your eye on eating well at all times, always have a good and wholesome breakfast and be on guard to avoid processed and refined foods in your diet and of course always eat in moderation. If you train hard and stick to that philosophy in time you just might start seeing your lower abs coming out!
Kevin Richardson is one of New York City’s most sought after personal trainers and the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training. Visit his official website at www.naturallyintense.net.