Strengthening the muscles of your lower abdomen can help you while backpacking because strong abdominal muscles take some of the pressure off your back. In addition to carrying a heavier load for a longer period of time, having strong muscles from the top to the bottom of your stomach helps you maintain better posture, which can translate into better control when doing things like skiing down the slopes or over the waves.
The pelvic tilt is good way to start your lower abdominal muscle exercise routine. You lie flat on your back with your arms by side your sides and your knees bent. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, you tighten your abdominal muscles while you push your back down and tilt your pelvis up.
Knee Up Exercise
After doing the pelvic tilt, you should move on to the knee up exercise, which takes the pelvic tilt concept to a more intense level. Clasp your hands behind your head and bend your knees in the air so that your calves are parallel to the floor. This advanced move can be easy to do wrong, so pay careful attention to the details. Slowly curl your hips upward so that your pelvis bends and lifts your buttocks off the floor. Focus on using your lower abdominal muscles to pull your body up rather than rocking yourself with your hips.
High Cable Crunch
The lower abdominal muscle that you want to focus on is the transverse abdominis. In her book "The Ultimate Body Book," Linda Shelton suggests using an exercise machine to give this lower abdominal muscle a good workout. The high cable crunch involves using the high cable pulley of a universal weight machine with a stability ball. Place the stability ball against the weight machine and press the small of your back into it. Grasp the high cable with both hands and hold it above your forehead while keeping your arms bent. As you squeeze your stomach muscles, make sure that your tailbone is pointing down. Maintain your arm position as you bend forward as if you were doing a crunch. In order to this exercise successfully, make sure that the angle of your hip remains constant. The weight attached to the machine should be between 20 and 50 pounds.
Anyone who was ever forced to do leg raises as part of a high school football training camp will tell you that this exercise can create an intense burn in your lower abdominal muscles. The one caveat is that you should avoid this particular exercise if you tend to experience lower back pain. Lie flat on your back and position your arms by your sides. Raise your legs to a 90-degree angle while keeping them together. The secret and the difficulty of this exercise is to keep from letting your legs wobble. You want to hold them as steady as possible and to raise and lower them smoothly and slowly.
Article Written By Timothy Sexton
Timothy Sexton is an award-winning author who started writing in 1994. He has written on topics ranging from politics and golf to nutrition and travel, and his work appears online for Zappos.com, Disaboom and MOJO, among others. He has also done work for "Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.