How to Get Rid of Bloated or Bulging Abs?

To get a six-pack, you need to focus on both training and diet to lose fat and get lean. When your body fat is around 10% or less for men and 15% or less for women, your abs will show clearly. But having low body fat and toned abs isn’t enough; you also want your stomach to be flat.

Many exercisers deal with occasional or frequent abdominal bloating, which can hide those lean abs. This isn’t the extreme bloating seen in some bodybuilders, but rather temporary bloating experienced by otherwise fit individuals.

In this article, we’ll explore the main causes of bloated abs and the best solutions to achieve a flat and defined midsection.

Causes of Bulging Abdominal Muscles

Bloated or Bulging Abs

Bulging abdominal muscles happen when your tummy sticks out more than usual. It’s not like a bloated belly from stomach issues. Physical therapist Theresa Marko explains a few reasons why this might happen:

  1. Poor Lifting: If you lift heavy things without supporting your tummy muscles properly, it can make your abs bulge. This happens over time, not from one bad lift.
  2. Diastasis Recti from Pregnancy: When you’re pregnant, your belly stretches to make room for the baby. Sometimes, this can cause small tears in your tummy muscles. You might not feel them right away, but you could feel pressure in your belly. Using a pregnancy belt can help support your belly during pregnancy.
  3. Diastasis Recti in Babies: Babies can be born with a condition called diastasis recti if they’re born too early and their tummy muscles haven’t fully joined together. But don’t worry, this usually fixes itself as the baby grows.

So, bulging abs can be caused by things like lifting improperly or changes during pregnancy. But with the right support and care, you can manage it.

Exercises to Flatten Abs

To flatten your abs safely, you can try some exercises recommended by Tripp. These exercises work your abdominal muscles and help make your core stronger and more stable.

1. Pelvic Floor Exercises (Kegels)

  1. Sit on a chair or exercise ball, lie down, or stand up.
  2. Contract your pelvic floor muscles (like when you stop peeing midstream) and hold for 1 to 2 seconds.
  3. Do 10 to 20 reps each time, 2 to 3 times a day.

2. Isometric Exercises (Planks)

  1. Start in a plank position on your elbows and toes, keeping your body straight.
  2. Engage your transverse abdominal muscles and obliques by pulling your rib cage down and pelvis up.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, aiming for 2 to 3 reps, 1 to 3 times daily.

3. Abdominal Wall Bracing Exercises (Dead Bug)

  1. Lie flat on your back, bend your knees to 90 degrees, and raise your hands into the air.
  2. Engage your core by pulling your rib cage down and pelvis up, keeping your back on the ground.
  3. Alternate lowering one arm and the opposite leg towards the ground in a controlled manner.
  4. Aim for 2 sets of 6 to 10 repetitions, 1 to 3 times daily.

These exercises help strengthen your core, making it easier to handle various physical activities and promoting a flatter abdominal appearance.

If you need more guidance, make an appointment with our online personal training

Other Flat-ab Training Tips

Here are some simple tips to help you get flat abs:

  1. Breathing: Breathing properly during exercise is important. When you work out, your muscles need oxygen to function well. Breathing incorrectly or holding your breath can lead to muscle and brain oxygen depletion and increase the risk of injury. Remember to breathe out when you exert yourself, especially during heavy lifting. Also, maintain a wide stance with your legs to keep your spine neutral and avoid arching your back.

  2. Stretching: Stretching is crucial for abdominal growth and flexibility. It lengthens muscle tissue, enhances performance, increases flexibility, and aids in recovery.

  3. Hydration: Stay hydrated to flatten your abs. Hydration boosts metabolism, reduces appetite, and helps in losing stomach fat. Aim to drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces per day, and increase intake during workouts, especially in hot conditions, to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes.

  4. Nutrition: Exercise alone may not be enough to flatten your abs. Pair it with a balanced diet. Avoid foods that cause bloating, such as cabbage family vegetables, dried beans, and lentils. Losing weight is essential for reducing belly size, so focus on eating nutritious foods to support your workout routine.

By incorporating these tips into your routine, you can keep your abs in great shape and work towards a flatter stomach for the summer.

When to See a Doctor

If your belly muscles are sticking out because you’re not breathing right during exercise, it might just bother you looks-wise rather than hurt. But sometimes, it could mean something more serious.

You should talk to a doctor if:

  • Your belly wall hurts.
  • It hurts when you move or lift stuff.
  • You feel like you can’t control your middle during regular activities.

Also, if the pain in your belly is spreading to your lower back, groin, butt, or legs, and you’re feeling dizzy, confused, nauseous, anxious, or throwing up, it’s time to call a doctor. These signs could mean you have a big problem like an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is super serious and could be life-threatening if it bursts.

Interested in receiving personal guidance for muscle training and fitness? Join my online personal training program.

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