I don't personally believe that doing a lot of ab work will help much with this issue. Doing some ab work is good because it makes your muscles stronger with better endurance, but you cannot spot reduce. My lower belly has always been my problem area even when I was a 90 pound 13 year old. I use to do a lot of ab work every day and really it made no positive difference to the appearance of my belly. To some extent it is really a matter of reducing body fat (unless you are already low in fat then it just may where your body holds fat--like it is for me to some extent). When I am heavier it pooches more and when smaller it is still round but not as "poochie".
I find that full body strength training (especially circuit training) a few days a week and cardio 3-5 days a week along with a good diet help much more. The good diet/nutrition part is really important. And are a better use of time and energy than long ab specific workouts. Most ab work burns very few calories since these are small muscles. For calorie burning, full body workout that use your larger muscles (the muscles in the bum, thighs, upper back, maybe chest) help a little more (not that calorie burn is the reason to exercise). I had my best improvement when I was following a full body strength program that actually didn't include much ab work. This program had 3 sets of planks and 3 sets of one exercise similar to a plank but more dynamic. Just two core exercises, three times a week. I thought I wouldn't see good results or would at the least lose core strength. But my belly flattened a little and I lost inches everywhere especially the waist and lower belly. This was probably because I had good fat loss at this time. For whatever reason, I feel my waist/belly looks better when I do planks regularly. It may be because this exercise also helps maintain good posture, but I would suggest not giving up planks. I rarely do crunches, etc anymore. Really I only do them if I happen to attend a class that includes them. I just don't find them a good use of my exercise time.
I do planks, balance exercises (to hold your balance you have to use your core muscles), and other activities that require decent core strength like dance, yoga, hula hooping, kickboxing, an occasional pilates mat workout, etc. So I do think good core engagement and balance are good for life in general and help a little with appearance (maybe for the posture aspect?) So I do think there are some good core workouts worth doing--but the difference is that core workouts don't just work your abs (some don't even include any traditional ab work like cruches) they would work your lower back, maybe pelvic floor, other muscles in your torso.
| August Minutes: 112