The Forgotten Middle: 3 Ab Exercises to Strengthen and Tone Your Abs

           As a long time athlete, I used to push myself to do ab exercises that were new and extremely difficult because it felt good to challenge myself and work hard.  As often as I did these exercises, I still always found myself with a small "pooch" where my lower abs were.  Like most people would do to combat this, I started doing more lower ab exercises to help target and strengthen the area, but to my surprise the pooch never went away.

           As I began my fitness coaching journey and training, it became evident that I was missing something when it came to abs. After going through pregnancy and childbirth and earning my Prenatal/Postnatal Certification, I began to realize that there was a crucial part of our abs that the majority of us have been neglecting: our transverse abs.

What are our transverse abs? 

  • These are the innermost abs that hold in our organs.
  • Their function is to stabilize the spine and pelvis, and they are commonly known as the "corset muscle". 
  • Working these muscles will SIGNIFICANTLY improve your lower back pain and create a flatter stomach.

3 Ab exercises that will work your transverse abs:

1. Core Braces

       Core Braces are exactly what they sound like: bracing your core. Laying on your back with your spine in neutral (there may be a small space between the floor and your lower back and that's OKAY), tighten up your stomach and hold for 5 seconds. You should be able to breathe through this normally.

Do this exercise 20 times and repeat 2 times.

2. Pulsing Braces

        Pulsing braces use the same concept as core braces. Laying flat on your back with your spine in neutral, tighten up your stomach and hold for 3 seconds. Instead of releasing all the way, release halfway and tighten up your abs again.

Do this 20 times and repeat 2 times.

3. Pelvic Tilts

Begin by laying on the ground with your spine in a neutral position. Bring your belly button toward your head, which will cause your hips to tuck under and your back to lay flat against the floor. Return back to neutral position.

Next, bring your belly button toward your toes. Your hips should tilt forward and bring your back further off the ground. Return to neutral.

Do this exercise 20 times and repeat 2 times.

Where can you do these exercises?

        I would begin these exercises while laying on the ground, but once you understand how these exercises work, these exercises can be done anywhere!

                        - Sitting at your desk while at work.

                        - Standing in line or while cooking dinner.

                        - Driving in your car.

   These exercises, while they may seem easy, are very effective at drawing your stomach in.  Who knew that working your abs could be so effortless!