Any time you have fat in your abdomen, there's good reason to take action. If left alone, this fat can ultimately surround your organs and increase your risk for such conditions as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer. The good news is, you can do something about it by ridding your belly of the fat. If it is your lower abdomen that you specifically want to target, you can do exercises that involve body weight and additional equipment.
Aerobic training, also known as cardio, involves repetitive movement of your major muscle groups with little added resistance. To lose fat in your lower abdomen or any other location on the body, you need to burn calories through cardio. Perform any type of cardio that you enjoy as long as it gets your heart rate elevated. Running, biking, brisk walking, stair climbing and arc training are examples. Doing cardio three to four days a week for at least 45 minutes is sufficient.
Ball leg lifts are done with a stability ball. Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides and your legs straight. After pinching the ball between your lower legs, lift it up in the air until the soles of your feet parallel the ceiling. Slowly lower the ball until it is right above the ground and repeat for 15 to 20 reps. This exercise targets the lower rectus abdominis and hip flexors. The rectus abdominis is the long strand of muscle that goes from your lower chest to your pelvis. The hip flexors consist of the rectus femoris, illiacus and psoas major.
Hanging alternating knee raises are done with a pull-up bar. Reach up and grab the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip. Your legs should be hanging straight down at this point. In a controlled motion, pull your right knee up toward your chest, hold briefly and lower it down. As you are lowering your right leg, lift your left knee up to your chest. Continue to lift and lower your knees in an alternating fashion for 15 to 20 reps. In addition to your lower rectus abdominis, this exercise also targets your hip flexors and quadriceps. To reduce strain on your shoulders, you can also perform this exercises on the Roman chair equipment provided by most gyms.
Reverse decline crunches are done with a decline bench. Lie on your back with your head towards the top of the bench, your hands grasping the sides of the bench above you and your legs out straight. In a controlled fashion, pull your knees into your chest, extend them out straight and repeat for 15 to 20 reps. For an added challenge, keep your legs straight when you move them in toward your body. When your legs are straight, your lower rectus abdominis and hip flexors are involved. When bending your knees, your quads are also recruited.
Bicycle kicks target your lower abs, upper abs and obliques all at the same time. Lie on your back with your legs lifted, knees bent 90 degrees and shins parallel with the floor. After placing your hands on the sides of your head, lift your shoulders off the ground. In a twisting motion, move your left elbow and right knee toward each other as you extend your left leg out straight. After pausing briefly, reverse the motion, bringing your right elbow and left knee toward each other while extending your right leg out straight. Continue in a cycling motion for 15 to 20 reps. In addition to your abs and obliques, this exercise also works your hip flexors and quads.
- measurement image by Valentin Mosichev from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.