How Should I Flatten My Abs During Exercise?

To keep the abs flat, you need core coordination. Your pelvic floor, transverse abdominus and thoracic diaphragm need to work together to keep the abdominals flat during exercise. Abdominal coning is when the abdomen bulges upward during an exercise. This points to a difficulty recruiting the deep abdominal muscles. We need the deep abdominal muscles to stabilize the spine and the pelvis. If they are not firing at the right time, it can result in pain, movement dysfunction, and postural changes down the line. 👎

To keep abdominals flat, coordinate exercise with breath. 🌬

Inhale relax the belly and exhale on the ‘work’ or ‘exertion’ phase of an exercise. When exhaling, ‘zipper’ up from the pubic bone to engage the pelvic floor and low belly.

Videos in order:
1 - ❌ leg lifts. Belly coned, lack of control
2 - ✅ leg lifts. Pelvic floor and low belly activated and engaged
3 - ❌ dead bugs. Belly coned, lack of control
4 - ✅ dead bugs. Pelvic floor and low belly activated and engaged

Leg Lifts and Dead Bugs are a great way to test and build your flat abs 👏💪

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

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Dr. Lisa Ochman

Physical Therapist | Doctor of Physical Therapy
Lisa Ochman is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) who specializes in lymphedema, parkinsons, and general orthopedics with a focus on runners and triathletes. She works at Activcore in Princeton, New Jersey, located just 2 miles from Princeton University. As a 4-time ironman triathlete, Lisa has a special interest in treating athletes. She also has a passion for helping people with lymphedema (swelling in the head, neck, and/or limbs typically after cancer, surgery, or injury) as well as those suffering from parkinson's disease.
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