KML Movement | How to: Lower Part of Abs
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How to: Lower Part of Abs

How to: Lower Part of Abs

One thing I wanted to hit hard this competition season was abs. I was never the tiny girl that grew up having a toned midsection by any means. It was always my problem area that I would hold most weight and so it was my dang goal to focus on abs hard. Now visual abs has to do a ton with nutrition, but just like training your back and biceps – it’s important to train your core also (besides the awesome injury prevention role it plays).

BUT! As I would train I could achieve the upper part of my abs, but then would always have this “pouch” (as gross as that sounds) or area in lower abs where it wouldn’t be tight or flat like the rest. So, then my brain got stirring. What am I missing? What can I be doing?

Then the light bulb went off. Transverse Abdominis.

When we think about core we normally think about the 6 pack that everyone sees or the rectus abdominis and obliques. We train it by doing crunches, sit-ups, Russian twists, etc. BUT what we don’t see is the key.

Your transverse abdominis is a deep core muscle that horizontally wraps around your entire abdominal cavity and trunk to flatten the abdominal wall. Keyword: FLATTEN – exactly what we are looking for! By doing this it in turn provides stability for your torso and keeps all your organs contained. I like to think about it like wrapping a present. If the wrapping paper isn’t pulled tight, then the gift would be all out of sorts and not be flat. However, if we focus on pulling that wrapping paper tight then it will be smooth, flat and exactly how we want it to look. Translate this over to training. If we aren’t actively activating our transverse abdominis it will not be wrapped tightly. However, if we focus on activating that we can have a tighter, flat midsection (aka my problem area).

So, we have addressed our key player that we need to focus on. Now how do we address it in training?

This is where it we need to get very detailed and we need to get very picky on the how. I like to call this position and when we are actively activating our transverse abdominis “vacuum position.”

The How: Vacuum Position (on the ground first)

1.     Lay on the ground with knees bent and feet flat on the ground

2.     Place both hands on the inside of your hip bones (inguinal area)

a.     This is the area that you want to FEEL the slight activation and it “turn on”

3.     Focus on what you are trying to do: close your eyes and focus

4.     Draw that area between your hips and navel to the back of your spine

a.     You are NOT just sucking in your stomach

b.     It’s a very slight activation – you should feel that area between your hips turn on and fire (nothing huge)

c.      Focus on flattening that area of your hips where your hands are by drawing it in towards your spine

5.     Once you feel that fire and activate… YOU DID IT!

a.     It should connect that you are essentially flattening that lower section by activating that muscle (only slightly)

6.     In all vacuum position movements this is the position and activation that you want to achieve!

a.     In standing position: do the same thing with hand placement and FEEL that same activation

**It should not be burning, but more of a fatigued type feeling. It is different than doing crunches and it burning! You may not feel much at all and that’s okay as long as you maintain that activation and FEEL that activation with your hand placement.

How to: Implement

1.     Vacuum position holds

a.     Once you feel it and really understand the vacuum position begin on the floor doing vacuum position holds for 10s on, 10s off for an entire minute

b.     Progress to do vacuum position standing

c.      Progress to holding vacuum position for longer amount of time

2.     Vacuum position crunches

a.     Activate that vacuum position and then perform small crunches with that position activated the ENTIRE time

b.     If you feel it deactivate – reset and begin crunches again

c.      Don’t lose focus of that vacuum position feeling

3.     Vacuum Position Bicycles

a.     Activate that vacuum position and then perform bicycle crunches with that position activated the ENTIRE time

                                               i.     You do not want to go all the way up and touch elbow to knee – just do small torso curls that curl to one side with maintaining that position

b.     If you feel it deactivate – reset and begin bicycle crunches again

c.      Don’t lose focus of that vacuum position feeling

4.     Vacuum Position Training

a.     During any lift – focus on maintaining that vacuum position

                                               i.     The more you activate it, the more natural that position will come and the tighter you will get!

b.     Ex. Seated shoulder press, focus on flattening that lower part of abs with vacuum position

Remember this should NOT mean just sucking in. There’s a huge difference. Be detailed and focus on the feeling more than anything! My girls and I have been utilizing this over the past month and have seen/felt AMAZING differences with it! It is definitely the key that we have been missing. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out via email or social media! As always train hard, but train smart too!

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