Ugh...lower to loose that little pooch

  1. I'm so aggravated lately! I've always been slim, but have had the slightest bit of a tummy (I'm a guy, just to clarify). I've been doing a ton of ab workouts lately, but nothing has happened! It's so strange, my upper abs are really tight now, but my lower abs area is still flabby! Does anyone have any good lower-ab workouts, or just any advice in general related? Thanks so much!
  2. I'd totally like to know too! I can always feel my upper abs getting a work out, but never the lower ones!
  3. rather than typing all this info i knew already i figured rather than getting my words mixed up i'd post this article. y'all may find it helpful.

    In an effort to sound like they know what they're talking about, gym rats across the country mutter this phrase under their breath like it's their mantra. They will follow it up with a 30-minute lecture on the importance of diet to lose fat. "You can't spot reduce, dieting is the only way to lose body fat", they'll say, as the peons of the gym look to them in awe.
    And what do the mighty gym rats proceed to do after the small-armed people are done worshipping? They do 200 crunches, 100 leg lifts, and just for fun, follow it up with some plie squats for those hard-to-target inner thigh areas. Are you getting the sarcasm in my words?
    You can't spot reduce! The amount of misinformation on the market has spiraled out of control over the past few years. There are now machines and gadgets that target the inner thigh, the outer thigh, the lower abs, the upper abs, and I could go on and on. As personal trainers, you need to be on top of your anatomy and physiology and be able to easily discern fact from I-must-sell-something fiction.
    Myth #1: I Am Working My Lower Abs...

    There are no upper and lower abs! There aren't! I promise! The trunk section is composed of the Rectus Abdominus, which is responsible for flexion of the trunk (crunches); the Internal and External Obliques, which assist in lateral flexion (side bends); the Transverse Abdominus, which compresses the abdomen; and the erector Spinae which extend the trunk.

    [ Click Thumbnail To Enlarge Detailed Chart! ]
    Notice that none of the abdominal exercises work to lift the legs. The myth that leg lifts of any sort work the so-called lower abdominal are completely false. What you are actually working are the 3 psoas muscles, which act to flex the hip.
    When doing leg lifts or raises, your abdominal muscles may come into play as a stabilizer muscle but unless you are flexing your trunk as the last motion of the movement, you abs are not being used. Keep in mind that your psoas are directly under the lower portion of your abdomen, which may make you "feel it" in your lower abs, but it is actually your hip flexors. It is also not necessary to work your abs everyday. Quantity will not lead to a trimmer waistline. In fact, overworking your abs may lead to accumulative microtrauma. If the conditions are right, fiber fusion will take place and your abdominal muscles may actually hypertrophy. 500 crunches a day will certainly not lead a trimmer waistline, only decreasing overall bodyfat will do that.

    Decrease body fat - Through dietary manipulation and exercise, you can decrease your body fat and increase your lean muscle mass, which will lead to that "toned" look everybody wants.
  4. here's more info...

    Everyone wants a six-pack of abs right? Well, maybe not everyone, but you get the point! Most people think that training their abs will somehow make them appear, as if the fat will suddenly disappear. This myth, is referred to as spot-reduction, which is alive and well, however it's completely false.

    Getting A Six-Pack
    You can work your abs until hell freezes over, but if you still have a layer of fat, or in some cases even a beer belly, you will never be able to see the muscle. So, from a visual sense you must use proper diet & nutrition to actually be able to see your abs, and that is an entirely different article and beyond the scope of this one.
    [​IMG] We all have abs, the technical name is Rectus Abdominis. It's basically the "core" of your body and you could not really function without this muscle. Did I say muscle as in a single muscle? That's right the Rectus Abdominis is a single muscle (see diagram) that attaches from along the rib cage down to the pelvis bone.
    However, there are two other muscle groups that complete the abdominals: the Transverse Abdominus, and the External and Internal Obliques, but these two muscles are not the visible portions of the abs that make up the "six pack" that we all desire.
    The Transverse Abdominus acts as a natural weight belt, keeping your insides in; and the Internal and External Obliques work to rotate the torso, and stabilize the abdomen essential for trunk stability.
    MYTH: Working Different Parts Of Your Abs
    Since the Rectus Abdominis is a single muscle it is physiologically impossible to work different parts of the abs. You often hear people say things like "I need to work my lower abs cause they're lacking", well they can try as hard as they want but when you train your abs you train the entire muscle.
    This does not mean you should not incorporate a wide variety of abdominal exercises (crunches, leg raises, trunk rotation, etc.) into your ab training, I just wanted to make the point that you are not going build or develop any one part of your "six pack" with different exercises.
    Now, remember that the lower area of the abs is a common problem in regards to excess fat storage for most people, especially males. So often the problem is not the abs per se, but extra body fat in that area that is covering the lower portion of the abs, again this requires dietary alterations not specific exercises.
    MYTH: How come I feel it more in my lower abs when I do hanging leg raises?
    So, you may say "how come I feel it more in my lower abs when I do hanging leg raises?" Well, this is another myth that we call the "I feel it syndrome", which basically states that because you feel something working in a specific area it will make that area grow more.
    From a muscle physiology standpoint this is not possible. It's possible that because of the angle more stress is being applied to a certain area of the muscle, which is often a result of that part of the muscle being stretched more, causing micro trauma in that specific area. However, this means absolutely nothing in regards to muscle growth and development.
    Do not confuse this with muscle groups that contain separate heads and tendon attachments, in those cases it is possible to stress individual heads to certain degrees, an example would be the deltoids.
    As far as our abs are concerned it is a single muscle and therefore it will grow as a whole. Think about it this way, if you could stimulate one area of a muscle and make it grow that would imply that you could actually change the shape of a muscle, which we know scientifically, that is not possible.
    There are many exercises that can be used for the abs, the easiest and most common is a crunch, which essentially is bringing your hips and rib cage together, no more than just a flex of the mid-section. Do not confuse a crunch with a traditional sit-up; in a crunch you do not lift your lower back off the floor or bench.
    If you're a beginner and are training abs for the first time I would recommend that you begin with a simple crunch on a flat surface, and some standing trunk rotation without any weight. Until you build up your abdominal muscles and flexibility do not try any advanced ab exercises such as weighted or incline crunches, or even sit-ups.
    Doing a sit-up has less of an effect on your abs, and more of an effect on your Iliopsoas or more commonly called the hip flexors. In fact, this is the muscle group that people often mistake for their lower abs because it's a synergist muscle that helps stabilize the mid-section when working your abs. This is not to say that these synergist muscles are not important and do not need training, I am just pointing out that most likely that is why you think that you "feel it" in your lower abs.
    Why Is Ab Training Necessary?
    Weak abs can contribute to lower back problems; the abdominal muscles help to improve the Erector Spinae by improving the mechanical positioning of the pelvis when it's tilted forward. Also, if the abs are weak the lliopsoas can pull on spine during hip flexor activities causing injury.
    Weak abs can also be the cause of chronic low back pain, and can be responsible for hyperlordosis. So, no matter what your goals are, general fitness, bodybuilding or even power lifting it's extremely important to have strong abdominals not just for aesthetic purposes, but functional and injury prevention reasons.
    People often ask how often should you work your abs. Well, remember that the abdominals are a muscle and they require recovery just like any other muscle, although they do recover relatively quickly compared to other muscles due to their inherent fiber type.
    If you're training your abs from an injury prevention perspective then you could train them 3-4 days per week using light loads, e.g. non-weighted crunches, performing 3-4 sets.
    However, if your goal is to develop your abs either for bodybuilding or sport performance, then you should only train them 2-3 days per week using more advanced techniques, e.g. weighted incline crunches performing 6-8 sets.
    As far as when to train the abs, it really does not matter; you could train them at the beginning of your workout if you're prioritizing them. However if you plan to fatigue them it may be a better idea to work them last. Since the abs play a major role in stabilization it could hinder performance in compound lifts such as squats. An even better idea if feasible for you would be to train them on a day where you work smaller body parts and no compound lifts that involve the entire body.
  5. all in all, abs are 90% diet. i have experienced this first hand. you can train all you want, but you will not see the results you are looking for until you stick to your diet. it's quite strict if you want a six pack.
  6. The most important part of the article vuittonamour posted, along with...

    Abs are diet, diet, diet :yucky:
  7. Pilates has worked for me....after doing it for a month or two, I didn't have a bulgy roll when sitting down. It was actually flat with small rolls, rolls of muscle.
  8. I hear so many good things about pilates. I've tried them but find them soo hard! I guess I should give it another shot?
  9. In general cardio is good because you will burn fat. You stated you are lean so you should see results fairly quickly. I love to incorporate pilates or yoga-- some sort of stretching program-- into my routine and it does seem to make a difference.
  10. vuittonamour's article was really educational. I do think a lot of the issue can be corrected with diet. We all store our excess weight in extra places and since you're already slim, you probably notice it in this one particular area more than most of us would (or me anyway, LOL).

    So, maybe just increasing your aerobic exercise level and monitoring your caloric intake would help. I think Pilates might also work. I've started and stopped it so many times, but I'm re-committed to trying again. I think I see some results.
  11. I think part of what is so great about pilates is that it helps you stand up more straight and tigtens your core so you sort of hold your stomach in more. Now if I could just motivate myself to get on my pilates machine more often I wouldn't have a gut.
  12. wow, great article. and i actually believe in some of those myths.

    Knowledge is power!

    But I still dont quite understand the difference between a crunch and a sit up. and the hyperlink for crunch didnt work
  13. ^^^ you can check out and search for ab exercises in the search bar and a whollleeeee bunch of stuff will come up. crunch you only come up far enough to lift your shoulders and a little bit of back off the mat...situps are all the way up.
  14. ^^
    Kelly thanks for that site. I just check it out and I see lots and lots of exercises for every muscle group. Very useful.
  15. Thanks so much! I enrolled in a spin class haha. That's very informative, thanks so much for the article!