We all know that lower belly exercises are the correct way to get a flat tummy. And we all know that the crunch is superior to situps with the legs held down. Because when you hold the legs down, the hip flexors do most of the work. It’s not a bad idea to have strong hip flexors but they shouldn’t be stronger than the lower abdominals. The reason being that if the hip flexors do most of the work when you do lower belly exercises, the very problem you’re trying to correct actually gets worse.
Let me explain: the lower abdominals have to be strong enough to hold the pelvis in the posterior pelvic tilt position. Otherwise, whenever you bend down to lift something, which puts stress on the trunk, you get pain in the lower back because of the improper lordotic curve. A pot belly and back pain often come from the same weak lower rectus abdominals. This news isn’t too earth shaking but what is interesting is how to go about an abdominal workout.
I always thought crunch situps were the key. You know the kind I’m talking about – laying on the floor with your legs resting on a bench in front of you. You’re not doing the full sit up, you just crunch part way. This abdominal exercise only builds the upper abs is not part of the lower belly exercises. So…..
What is the correct lower belly exercises?
Leg raises are not the answer because if not done correctly they actually add to the problem and aggravate low back pain. You are working the hip flexors more than lower abs each time you do leg raises.
The hip flexors keep your pelvis in an anterior tilt so it makes your lower gut stick out. Furthermore, this anterior pelvic tilt puts your low back in a prime position for injury.
All it takes is just standing on your feet for a while and the pressure of your spine sitting on top the improper anterior pelvic tilt gives you low back pain.
The key is to get it into the correct position by strengthening the lower abdominals without strengthening the hip flexors. That’s why you got lo learn how to do…
The best lower belly exercises there is!
Before we get to the Lower Belly Exercises –
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Your lower abdominals will get stronger, you will get a flat tummy and your back will refuse to be pulled out of position by strong hip flexors because your lower abs will be so powerful.
Another effective lower belly exercise is the Mountain Climber. These are a direct replacement to the leg raises but they do not involve the hip flexors. Start at the top of a standard push-up position.
Without letting your hips sag bring your left knee into your left elbow. Return to start and repeat by an alternate from side to side. This is a full body exercise and works the lower abs a lot harder.
“Oh Give Me A Break!”
I hear you say. I know, I used to believe the same thing. The truth? Anytime you do leg raises you are working the hip flexors isotonically and the lower belly isometrically.
Quick explanation: Isotonically means moving the muscle through its full range of motion and isometrically means holding it flexed in a static condition.
Why is this information so important? Because you can build a muscle a lot faster by doing full reps than you can by just holding it flexed. Yet when we do leg raises we are working our hip flexors through their full range of motion and our lower belly is held static. Why do we do this? I’ll tell you why I did…Ignorance!
Why Lower Belly Exercises Are the Key To A Flat Stomach.
Lower abs are the abdominal wall that supports the weight of the intestines when your are standing up. You have to keep this area toned well enough so it holds the intestines flat when the lower abdominal isn’t flexed.
So remember this: each time you do leg raises as your lower belly exercises you are strengthening the muscles that contribute to your pot belly.
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