Posted by Megan Fischer-Colbrie on Nov 26, 2014 3:50:00 PM
Your abdominal muscles are critical to your core stability and peak power output. However, not all abdominal muscles can be targeted with the same exercise. The muscles in the anterior (front) of your abdomen vary tremendously. These include the external obliques, internal obliques, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominal muscle, and pyramidalis. With a better understanding of your anatomy, you can focus your strength training on underdeveloped areas. Let’s discuss how to target your lower abs.
Are you neglecting your lower abs?
The rectus abdominis is the muscle group that runs along the midline of your body, from the rib cage down to your pelvis. Many athletes successfully develop the upper portion of this muscle because it is easier to exercise, but the lower portion is a bit tricky. Repetitions in which you crunch upward with your upper body, such as crunches, toe touches, and sit-ups, tend to strengthen your upper abs. On the other hand, repetitions in which you elevate your lower body, such as leg raises, bicycles, and V-ups, can strengthen your lower abs. The added benefit of doing “lower abdominal exercises” is that they also work your upper abs, so you won’t be neglecting either region if you incorporate lower ab exercises into your training.
Stability and Strength
In addition to repetition-based exercises, traditional static holds will help you focus on your lower abs. For example, a front bridge position will require lower ab strength to keep your pelvis elevated and your spine from sagging. For more challenging exercises, you can hold a plank with one leg elevated, one arm elevated, or both leg and arm. Your lower ab strength is a critical component of your overall stability because it controls your balance throughout the pelvic region. A stronger midsection also makes the athlete more efficient at transferring power from lower to upper body, and vice versa.
Elite athletes are incredibly fit, but the lower abs don’t always show up even if you strengthen them. Lean bodies are made in the kitchen, and in particular, your core muscles are only as defined as your nutrition is good. Cardiovascular training, core strength, and healthy eating are the perfect trifecta for showing off your hard-earned core muscles. Fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, and sufficient refueling post-workout will help your lower abs look as strong as they are in training!
Take advantage of the wealth of lower abdominal exercises through BridgeAthletic to target underdeveloped areas and improve your overall core strength!
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Topics: Performance Trends