T Nation

abdominal help

I need some help…here’s my problem: My midsection looks like shit. The problem is not that I have a lack of strength in my abdominal muscles, they’re plenty strong and hard. I have a small amount of fat, but not enough to make it look like a liquid grain storage facility (beer gut). I can see my abdominal muscles, but my stomach is not flat and athletic looking like I want it to be. I don’t know if the problem is my abdominal wall or what, but it is starting to piss me off. Has anyone else had this same problem? I would really like some advice as to what I can do to remedy this…it’s one of my last trouble spots…and i really want to fix it. What can I do?

Get lean, man. Fix your diet.

Sorry, I just re-read your post. I originally thought you said you had a beergut, but now I see you don’t.

How’s your posture? I’m not really sure what you mean. It may just be a genetic thing…

send in a pic so we know exactly what we’re dealing with here

Are your abs evenly defined? My upper abs tend to stick out, when I flex them, beyond my ribcage. With a little fat it looks like a beer belly that is being sucked up. I know what you mean though, it is very agravateing. I’m going to focus on lower abs to even it out while cutting like a mutha. I’ll tell you if it works in two months.

If your problem is that, regardless of your lean condition, your stomach still bulges, this is a common problem. It is possible that your distended abdominal region is the result of one of several muscle imbalances.

The most likely is that your Rectus Abdominus (RA) is receiving/has received much more hypertrophy and/or strength work than your Trans. Abdominus (TA). Your RA may therefore be bigger and heavier than your TA, so much so that your TA (which lies behind the RA, sort of a wall) is simply not strong enough to support the RA.
To fix this, obviously you must perform TA-specific work which will strengthen the “inside” abs and keep the outside abs (rectus) from “sagging.” Power breathing, vacuums, and certain variations of leg raises will do the trick.

Another possibility is that you have tight hip flexors. This will result in a similar sagging/distension as described above. Over time, stretching the hip flexors consistently will help to fix the problem.

It sounds as though you have an imbalance, but more information would be beneficial.

Hope this helps.

John…I’ve got issues with short, tight hip flexors that makes me look like I have a little gut despite low bodyfat levels. I know some basic stretches for them, but is there a particular regimen and frequency that you’re partial to when it comes to correcting this problem?

Have you lost alot of fat recently or a while back?

Thanks for all the good avice guys, I would send in a pic if I can ever get a scanner hooked up to my computer…but I think that i’ll probably try to work on some breathing exercises to try to fix any imbalance. I just have to keep trying stuff and see what works. Thanks again!

I know how to do vaccums. Can anyone describe any other exercises that will work the Trans. Abdominus (the “inside abs”?

Monty, the best stretched I have found for the hip flexors are lunge variations.

A few sets of static lunges with a 30 second hold is generally what I would recommend if a tightness of the psoas/hip flexors were what was truly causing a problem. These could be performed on off days and immediately after a leg work out.

Other stretches would be splits (believe it or not). For this purpose, you can make use of the adductor machine to help stretch you out. People will probably still laugh at you, though =)

Jeff Rage - one of the best ways to work the TA is with power breathing. You should do this by itself, and it is something that should be incorporated into your deadlifts and squats. I am considering an article on this subject, but I do not know how much need for it there actually is here at T-Mag.

Hope this helps.