Abdominal Flattening Exercises & Your Body Core
Abdominal flattening exercises must be able to improve your core as well as the visual effect you want for your abdominal muscles.Unfortunately most people are so concerned about getting a smaller waist line that they neglect the better abdominal flattening exercises that also improve their body core.You need a strong body core in order to do almost every daily task.
Your core is used to help you get out of bed, lift children, to perform your job and to take you places.Most people are confused when it comes to knowing exactly what their body core consists of. Some think it’s just their bdominal muscles, others think it’s their back.Your body core is made up of the middle section of your entire body. It starts at your shoulders and goes all the way to your groin in both the front and the back.
Therefore your core will include your pelvis, abdominal muscles , your upper, middle and lower back and the muscles that make up your chest.
It is this core that offers stability, balance and flexibility. That’s why when you are performing abdominal flattening exercises you must make sure that they are good abdominal exercises that also develop your core.
Just because an abdominal exercise or piece of infomercial abdominal equipment is said to be good for your abs it may not be if it doesn’t help your body core become stronger.Every time you move your core comes in to play. Even when performing simple tasks, such as rolling over in bed at night, combing your hair or competing in some type of athletic event. If your body core is not properly conditioned through good abdominal flattening exercises in addition to exercises that work the rest of your core, it will limit your physical abilities.Effectively exercising your body core muscles will improve the effectiveness of movements in your limbs. When you create a secure, strong base for all of your muscles you can optimize your results for each one.
As you know, you need to provide your body with proper nutrition, good clean water and exercise.Your limbs provide the ability to move, lift objects, etc. it’s your body core that provides the basis of each. If you are inactive, in addition to being in poor health, your muscles will weaken and can easily become injured.Even if you workout or participate in sports, use the best abdominal flattening exercises available, you may not be working the body core muscles you need to.
The exercises you can use to develop your body core do so by creating resistance or instability so that your core muscles respond to in such a way as to maintain proper balance.
Body core exercises, such as good abdominal flattening exercises need to be gentle on your joints but intense enough as to promote a positive change in the muscle structure.
One of the most important things to remember is that you must use proper form at all times on all exercises including abdominal flattening exercises.The 3 most popular forms of exercise that develop core body strength are Plyometrics, Pilates and the Exercise ball.Pilates involves using your own bodyweight as resistance. It also incorporates proper breathing and helps to isolate certain muscle groups.
The exercise ball can be used with most resistance type exercises and abdominal flattening exercises in order to properly develop your core and improve balance.
Plyometrics are also extremely good at working your core but this is a far too in-depth subject to include here.Make no mistake about it, improved core strength and development is important at every age and fitness level. Whatever your goals, find a way to incorporate good abdominal flattening exercises that incorporate body core conditioning.
Best Lower Ab Workout – Lower Abdominal Exercises
It is practically everybody’s dream to get that sexy, flat-as-a-plank abdomen, yet it can often seem one of the most difficult parts of the body to lose weight in. The abs are a distinctive set of muscles, comprising of the upper, lower and oblique muscles, which work in sync with each other in order to facilitate flexibility and movement between the upper part of the body and the lower part below the hips.
Amongst these abdominal muscles, the lower abs is the area that is the toughest to trim down and strengthen. This is because the ab workouts that are usually done are ineffective for targeting those hard to reach lower abs. However, with the new interest and focus on the importance of building a strong core for overall wellbeing, fitness experts have identified which the most effective lower abdominal exercises are that both strengthen the area, as well as flatten it out into the sexy abs most people hanker for.The best part about lower ab workouts is that the exercises are surprisingly simple to do. There is certainly no rocket science involved here, for sure. Plus, unlike other routines that work out the larger groups of muscles such as the legs, arms, back, or chest, lower ab exercises do not need heavy weights . In addition, the risk of getting injured is also minimal.. Given below are some of best lower abdominal exercises that you can include in your daily workout routine:
Double Leg Lifts: Lie down on your back, with your hands placed under your butt, with the palms facing the floor. Then, contracting your lower abdominal muscles, and tightening the muscles of your legs, lift them straight up vertically, and hold them there for a few seconds. Then lower them down until they are a few inches off the floor, and hold it there again for a few seconds. Repeat 5-8 times to begin with. Later, as you feel your abs getting stronger, increase the reps to 15-20 times. Then, as you get even stronger, you can lift your head and shoulders off the floor while performing the leg lifts.
Alternating Leg Walks: Begin by lying on your back, placing your hands under your butt, and take a few deep breaths. Then, contract the lower ab muscles and lift your right leg up slowly, until it is 90 degrees to your body. The, equally slowly, lower it back down, until it is a few inches off the floor, while simultaneously raising your left leg. Keep lifting your legs alternatively about 8-10 times to begin with. Later, as your abs become stronger, you can increase the count to 15-20 times. And, as in the previous one, lift your head and shoulders off the floor while performing the exercise.
Double Leg Reverse Crunches: Lie down on your back, with your hands under your butt. Lift both your legs up until they are in a vertical position. Now bend your legs at the knees, so that the lower part is parallel to the floor. Then, contracting your lower abs, and maintaining your bent knees, gradually lower your legs until the soles of your feet are just a couple of inches off the floor. Keep your abs contracted and hold this position for a few seconds. Then increasing the contraction in your abs, lift your knees up again, bringing them towards your chest. This is a somewhat challenging exercise, so begin by doing just 3-5 reps. Later, as you feel yourself getting stronger, increase the reps gradually, until you can do 15-20 reps.
Scissors: Lying on your back, with your hands under your butt, contract your lower abs and tighten your leg muscles and lift both your legs up, until they are about two feet off the floor. Now, without bending the knees, get your right leg across your left leg, so that both legs are crossed. Then open your legs out, and close them again, reversing the positions of the legs. Keep repeating this scissoring action, keeping your lower abs contracted, about 8-10 times, to start with. Then, increase that to 15-20 reps as you get stronger.
Double Leg Circles: Lie down on your back, with your hands under your butt. Then, contracting your lower abs, lift both legs a few inches off the floor. Now, rotate both legs together in circles. Make 5 circles in a clockwise direction. Then lower the legs to the floor, and relax for a few seconds. Then repeat the exercise with 5 anticlockwise circles. You can increase the number of circles to 10-15 as you get stronger.
Tips for Performing Lower Abdominal Exercises
Lower abdominal exercises can be difficult to perform correctly because they require more concentration and muscle control than many other exercises. As a result, many people cheat by using additional muscles, such as the hip flexors and lower back muscles. In addition, people frequently attempt to perform lower abdominal exercises that are too difficult for their ability level and are not able to use the correct muscles during the exercise.
These tips will help maximize the effectiveness of all lower abdominal exercises:
- You should feel the lower abdominals working more than any other muscles. If you do not feel your lower abdominals working or feel other muscles working more, stop the exercise. When lower abdominal muscles grow fatigued, it becomes difficult to feel them working, so this is a sign to stop and rest.
- You should never feel pain in you lower back. If you feel pain in your lower back, it means that either your lower abdominals are not strong enough to perform the exercise or you are not doing the exercise correctly. In any case, stop immediately if you feel pain in your lower back.
- Perform exercises in a slow and controlled manner. Performing lower abdominal exercises quickly will increase your momentum, decrease muscular control, minimize effectiveness and increase usage of muscles that should not be used. Further, performing exercises too quickly will commonly result in jerky or erratic movements.
- Quality over quantity. These exercises are not about trying to see how many reps you can do or trying to perform the most difficult exercises. They are about getting the correct muscles to work while preventing unwanted muscles from helping you cheat to make the exercise easier. Do slower, more controlled reps to reap the most benefits from the exercise.
- Endurance over strength. The lower abdominal muscles work mainly as postural/stabilizing muscles. They are designed to stay active at low intensities for long periods of time and they should be trained the same way. If you can only perform 5-10 quality reps of an exercise, then your focus should be on performing more reps instead of trying to perform a more difficult exercise.
- Remember to breathe. Many of the exercises will require some of your abdominal muscles to be contracted (activated) throughout the exercise. Your initial reaction will probably be to try to hold your breath or take very shallow breaths, but over time you must work on taking deeper breaths while performing the exercises.
Best Lower Abdominal Exercises
- Activating the Transverse Abdominus.This is a basic exercise that involves pulling your belly button towards the spine. This can be more difficult than it sounds, because many people are not used to using this muscle and try to use other muscles during the exercise. Activating the transverse abdominus will help spinal stability, both during daily living and during exercises that stress the muscles around the spine. Still, you aren’t looking for easy ab exercises, you’re looking for effective ab exercises. Here are the key points:
- Perform the exercise lying face down on the floor or on your hands and knees. The kneeling version makes it easier to feel your belly button being pulled in. Lying flat on the ground makes it easier to feel if you are using other muscles.
- Pull your belly button in as much as you can just using the lower abdominal muscles. Try to relax throughout the rest of your body.
- Hold the contraction until you cannot feel it anymore or you start feeling other muscles contracting more.
- If this is difficult, just start with holding the contraction for 10 seconds. This can be repeated up to 10 times. When this becomes easier, increase the time of the contraction. The combined time of the contractions does not need to exceed 2 minutes. When you can hold a single contraction for 1.5 to 2 minutes, you have enough strength and endurance to move on to more difficult exercises.
- Flattening the lower back against the floor.This is another basic exercise that is necessary to learn before performing more advanced exercises. This exercise helps to strengthen and build endurance in muscles that support and protect the low back from injury. These exercises count as lower back pain exercises. Here is what to do:
- Start lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Try to relax as much as possible. There should be a small space under your lower back from the natural curve in the spine.
- Activate your lower abdominals to flatten your lower back until the space decreases and you feel pressure against the floor.
- Some pelvic rotation will occur for the back to flatten completely, but make sure to use the abdominal muscles to create this motion. The legs should stay as relaxed as possible and not be used to create the pelvic rotation
- Abdominal Leg Lowering.This exercise uses controlled movement of the leg(s) to increase the demand on the lower abdominal muscles.It’s one of the best exercises for abs.
- Begin in the same position as in Exercise 2.
- Keep your lower abdominals tight and your back flat throughout the exercise. There are 4 variations (see below), all of which involve moving one or both legs while keeping your abdominals tight. If you stop feeling tightness in your abdominal muscles or feel any pain in your lower back, stop the exercise.
- If your lower back starts to arch while you lower your leg, stop lowering your leg and raise it back up. Arching in the lower back is a sign that the lower abdominal muscles are not strong enough to perform the exercise at that position. The lower your leg gets to the ground, the higher the demand becomes on the abdominal muscles.
- There are four basic difficulty levels of this exercise:
- Single-leg lowering with a bent leg: During this exercise, one leg is kept on the ground and the other leg is kept in a bent position throughout the exercise. The leg that moves should start with the thigh perpendicular to the ground. Lower the leg until the foot almost touches the floor. Raise the leg back to the starting position and repeat. Perform this exercise with both legs.
- Single-leg lowering with a straight leg: The same exercise as above, except the leg that is moving will be kept straight instead of being bent. This creates an increased demand on the lower abdominals.
- Double-leg lowering with bent legs: This is a more difficult variation where both legs will move at the same time and follow the same technique as the first variation of this exercise. When one leg is on the ground, the lower back is more stabilized. With both legs off the ground, the lower abdominals must do the work that the leg on the ground was previously doing. This further increases the demand on the abdominal muscles.
- The Plank. This exercise is good for developing overall core stability, working the lower and upper abdominals and lower back muscles all at the same time.
- If you feel pain or excessive tightness in the lower back, stop the exercise. This means some of your muscles are not strong enough or too tired to perform the exercise correctly. In this case, build up your strength and endurance on the previous exercises until your muscles can perform this exercise correctly. Improving your back flexibility may also be beneficial.
- Hold this position as long as you can while maintaining good form and the contraction in your abdominals.
- Perform 1-3 sets and focus on increasing your endurance over time.
- When you can perform this exercise for more than 1.5-2 minutes at a time, you can increase the difficulty by lifting one foot slightly off the ground. This will also increase the demand of the leg that is still on the ground. Alternate legs between sets.
- Hanging Leg Raise.This is an advanced lower abdominal exercise that is frequently performed incorrectly. This exercise also requires additional equipment, such as a sturdy bar that you can hang from. If you want to maximize lower abdominal activation, follow these tips:
- This exercise requires a significant amount of upper-body strength, because the hands and arms must support your bodyweight.
- Grab onto a bar above your head and hang as still as possible. Then bring your legs up until your thighs are about parallel with the ground and your knees are bent about 90 degrees. This is the starting position for the exercise.
- Contract your lower abdominals and pull your legs closer to your chest, without excessive rounding of the lower back. This exercise has a small range of motion, but if done correctly, is very challenging for the lower abdominals.
- Return your legs to the starting position. You may let your legs go somewhat lower than the starting position if you are able to maintain the contraction in your abdominals and prevent your lower back from arching. The lower back should stay flat just as in the floor exercises.
The Bicycle exercise is the best move to target the rectus abdominis (i.e., the ‘six pack’) and the obliques (the waist), according to a study done by the American Council on Exercise. To do this exercise correctly:
1. Lie face up on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head.
2. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the ground without pulling on the neck.
3. Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously turning the upper body to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.
4. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee.
5. Continue alternating sides in a ‘pedaling’ motion for 12-16 reps.