Lower Stomach Exercises for Trimming Lower Belly Fat
Trimming fat from your belly requires a combination of diet and exercise. Even if you run several miles per week and engage in ab workouts, belly fat won't melt away unless you reduce the amount of calories consumed. In addition, spot reduction is a myth. When you shed weight, the areas of your body that slim down are largely determined by your genes. However, lower stomach exercises help to firm your midsection as well as boost calorie burn.
Hang and Lift
You can target your lower abs by doing resistance exercises in which you draw your knees or your legs toward your chest. For example, perform knee lifts from a hanging position on a chin-up bar. Begin by holding the bar with hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart and palms facing away. Exhale and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle, lifting them toward your chest. Curl your hips at the peak position and then slowly return to starting position. Perform 12 reps. For a greater challenge, hold a medicine ball between your knees or extend your lower legs for leg lifts. Avoid dropping your legs on the descent or swinging, which will allow your abdominal muscles to relax between reps.
Let Go of Love Handles
Shrink your waist by performing side planks and trunk rotations, to strengthen the obliques. For example, begin a side bridge by lying on your left side with ankles together and right foot stacked on top of your left. Prop your body up on your left elbow. Lift your hips until your body forms a diagonal line from neck to feet. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Reverse the position and repeat the exercise on the other side. Begin a trunk rotation by lying supine with arms to your sides and palms on the floor. Extend both legs to the ceiling, keeping them together. Slowly lower your legs to the left side until they’re about 12 to 18 inches from the floor. Allow your right buttock to lift as your hips twist. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side. Perform eight to 10 reps to the right and left.
Balance and Crunch
While a crunch will work your upper abs, reversing the motion by drawing your knees toward your chest will tax the muscles in your lower belly. If you perform reverse crunches on an exercise ball, you’ll increase the intensity of the exercise and also work your core stabilizing muscles. For example, lie on your back on the ball, positioning your hips below your shoulders. Reach overhead and behind you with both arms, taking hold of a stationary object, such as a chair or bench, for support. Raise your legs and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle, keeping your shins parallel to the floor. Exhale and curl your knees toward your chest, using your lower abs and hip flexors. Inhale and return to starting position. Perform 12 reps.
Pass the Ball
Condition your inner and outer abs and improve coordination by performing a bicycle crunch with a medicine ball. Start by balancing on your sit-bones on the floor with left knee bent and tucked toward your chest and right leg extended and lifted in front of you. Envision the bicycle exercise you did in gym class. Extend your arms to the sides at shoulder height, holding the ball in your right hand. While keeping your back straight, lean back a little to maintain balance. Bend your right knee, bringing it next to your left bent knee, and simultaneously draw both arms overhead and hold the ball. Pass the ball to your left hand and lower your arms to starting position. At the same time, extend your left leg in front of you, keeping it raised off the floor. Continue to pass the ball and slowly cycling your legs for 12 to 15 reps.
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Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.