A Healthy Lower Abdominal Exercise
Your lower abdominals are some of the most important and difficult muscles to strengthen. They help pull in the muscles between the pubic bone and the navel, and also also protect the lower back from strain and injury. The primary muscle group that engages the lower abdominals are also the deepest- they are called the Transverse Abdominis. Transverse Abdominis fibres wrap around the belly horizontally, connecting to our lower back. In an effort to achieve washboard flat abs, many people overtax their abdominal muscles with multiple reps of crunches, sit ups and leg lifts. But, unfortunately overly tight Transverse Abdominis, can also result in lower back compression and pain. A too tight core can inhibit the torso from bending, extending and twisting naturally. The key is finding a balanced exercise that engages the lower abdominal region, without putting too much pressure on the lower back. A tight Transverse Abdominis creates a weak lower lumbar region because the muscle lacks mobility. My favorite exercise that both stretches the back and strengthens the Transverse Abdominis is called reverse curls. Start by laying on you back with your hands behind your head and your knees at a 90 degree-angle. Tuck your pelvis and round your lower back bringing your knees towards your chest, keeping your head on the floor. Release and bring your hips back to the floor. Repeat 20 times. For an extra added bonus as you lift your hips, engage your pelvic floor (a Kegel) and feel your entire lower abdominals in action! Don't worry if at first the movement feels small. As you continue to practice this exercise it will quickly become much easier to lift your bottom off the floor!
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