One Exercise To End “Lower Belly Pooch”

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Even very lean women can have a little “pooch” on their lower bellies.

Check out these bikini models that have what my daughter calls a “pooch”:

These models are lean, heck – you can see their ribs!

So what causes that little bulge in the lower belly?

Is it something they ate hanging around in their digestive system?  Maybe.  Grains, even whole grains, can bind up in your intestines and cause bloating.  (More on that here:  Beat The Belly Bulge)

But if your diet is on point, you’re lean, you’re working hard… What can cause the pooch?

Simple: tight hip flexors.

The muscles that cross the front of your hips can get really tight and pull you into what we exercise science types call an “anterior pelvic tilt.”

This forward tilt pulls your low back out of alignment.  Look at the diagram below on the left, it shows what happens when your low back is pulled forward:

Whoa!  In the lordosis (“swayback”) picture the lower belly is pooched out!

Even on someone very lean having a swayback can give you a lower belly pooch.  Here is a skinny kid that manages to look like he has a belly:

In the title of this blog post I promised one exercise that would end lower belly pooch.  And here it is: The humble hip flexor stretch

This stretch will bring your hips back to where they should be, ease forward pressure on your lower back, and dial back the lower belly bulge.

Here is an example of someone with forward tilted hips (from tight hip flexors).  Notice the slight bulge:

And here is the same girl without the forward hip lean.  Notice that she isn’t sucking in her stomach or flexing her abs, just fixing her hips and low back:

Pretty cool, huh!

So if your diet is straight-on and you’re looking for that last little edge on getting rid of lower belly bulge, try the 3 way hip flexor stretch twice a day, for 30 seconds in each position.

And say bye-bye to the lower belly bulge!

(If you want a few exercises to tighten things up even more, check out this program:Turbulence Training For A Flat Belly)

11 Responses to “One Exercise To End “Lower Belly Pooch””

  1. LA Says:

    If I do these 2x daily, when can I start to see the changes in my tummy?

    I’m a lot like the models pictured here. I am 5’7″ at 110 lbs. I keep myself toned but I have a swollen belly. When I wake up in the morning, my stomach is empty and flat. As soon as I start eating it swells and stays that way all day :( I’m a very healthy vegan and have been gluten free for quite some time. I am going to try the hip stretches because I KNOW I have tight hip flexors. I just went to the doctor today about pain there and she gave me the same advice about stretching :)

  2. Robyn Says:

    I have been battling the lower belly bulge for years. Even when I have been very skinny, I still have it. I am hoping this exercise will fix this! thank you!

  3. Catherine Says:

    Do you do the three positions, on both legs?

  4. Luke Says:

    Catherine – Yes! If you really want to open up the hips to end pelvic tilt, doing all three positions would be best. 30 seconds each at least, flexing the glute on the extended leg as you stretch :)

  5. Luke Says:

    LA – If you’re eating a ton of veggies, the volume of food can swell out your stomach. A lot of people call this a “veggie belly.”

    If it’s a digestive problem (gas, bloating) and you’re off grains, dairy, sugar, and artificial foods, check with a naturopath – it might help to take digestive enzymes and probiotics

  6. Andrea Says:

    Does the knee touch the floor?

  7. Judy Says:

    I’ve had this my whole life. When I cheered in high school my shirt was always higher in back. Now that I’m a mother of 4 (including twins)I just look pregnant all the time. I will be doing these exercises on a regular basis. I’m so excited I found this.!

  8. 3 Exercises For A Sexy Booty | Wold Fitness Notebook Says:

    […] You’ve probably seen this movement in fitness magazines or at the local gym. It’s that weird cross between a squat and a lunge, where your rear leg is elevated up on a bench or box. Though it might look different than what you’re used to, it’s a great way to increase glute activation and to increase the range of motion of your hip flexors. […]

  9. Luke Says:

    Yes! It braces the leg so you can push your hip forward

  10. something about how I’m a hooker | fowlerama Says:

    […] I don’t think anything is wrong with me, I just have weak, tight hip flexors. Check out this post about “ending your lower belly pooch.” […]

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    […] 30 seconds of each phase of this hip […]