The lower abdominal area of the body, commonly referred to as the "abdominal apron," is one of the most common trouble spots, especially women. Excess fat in this area causes countless irritations for many Americans who try on a pair of trousers only to be met with that extra roll over the waist band that many refer to as a "muffin top." It is very possible to tone the abdominal apron through a variety of targeted exercises.
Exercises with Equipment
While many abdominal apron exercises can be done without equipment, those with access to a gym or other substantial exercise gear may choose to use it. Even the most basic commercial gyms come equipped with a crunch machine, on which you perform a regular crunch but use your arms to pull added weight with you. Other examples of abdominal exercises that involve equipment are moves like the barbell rollout (see Resources), in which you roll a barbell or other weight away from your body and then bring it back, therefore engaging your entire core and specifically targeting the abdominal apron due to the extension of the body on the roll.
Exercises Using your own Body Mass
There are countless exercises to rid your body of an abdominal apron, the most popular being the basic crunch. However, to specifically target the abdominal apron area, a reverse crunch is best. Do this by leaving your upper body flat on the ground and using your lower abdominal muscles to bring your buttocks off the floor in a curling motion that will see your bent legs tilted toward your head. Another example would be the windshield wiper (see Resources), where you again lay your body flat on the floor with legs outstretched towards the ceiling. Move your legs in the same way that your wipers clean your windshield and you will be targeting the outer part of your abdominal apron.
Exercises with a Partner
Many abdominal apron exercises can be done with a partner, which adds a social benefit to your workout regime that may make you more likely to stick to a routine. Try lying flat on the ground, with your partner standing a shoulder-width apart above your head. Grab onto your partner's ankles for support. Perform leg lifts (lifting your legs straight off the ground into the air) but have your partner push your legs away from her head each time you lift. Your partner's pushes act like an added weight, doubling the benefits of this exercise, which specifically targets the lower abdominals. Switch places after completing a set of 20 leg lifts.
No abdominal apron exercises will be effective if they are not combined with cardiovascular exercise. Because cardiovascular exercise serves to melt the fat that both cushions and sits atop of muscles, the only way that your chiselled lower abs will emerge from your abdominal apron area will be through significant cardiovascular training. Walking, running, biking, stair-climbing and dancing are all considered cardiovascular exercises, so pick one that appeals to you and perform at least 30 minutes of your desired activity per day to ensure that you'll see the results you desire after your abdominal apron workouts.