June 13, 2022 9 min read
When you're on a mission to build a six-pack, waking up every day to bloated abdominal muscles can be the most frustrating thing.
However, you can fix and prevent bloated abs by making certain lifestyle changes and incorporating specific core exercises into your regular workout routine.
Here's exactly how to diminish bloating and get the six-pack abs you want with the simple combo of ab exercises and lifestyle changes!
Before jumping into ways that you can fix your bloated abs, you first need to identify exactly what’s causing them. Two common conditions cause bloated abs.
These conditions are entirely different yet they both cause bloated abs. You first must identify which condition you have before diving into how to get rid of the bloated abs.
To start, most gastrointestinal issues are caused by a buildup of gas in your stomach.
That buildup of gas could be caused by several things including:
Everyone at one point or another in their life has probably experienced bloated abs from gastrointestinal issues. Thankfully, because it is very common, it can most likely be fixed with some simple dietary changes.
On the other hand, bloated abs caused by bulging abs have little to do with what you eat and everything to do with workout-related injuries in the midsection. Those injuries cause swelling in the abdominal area which leads to a bulge that looks just like bloating.
The most common injuries in the core area are the result of:
First off, a strain (also referred to as a tear or pull) in the abdominal muscles is one of the most likely causes of bulging abs. The most common cause of abdominal strain is overuse of the largest ab muscles such as the rectus abdominis. Just like any other muscle in the body, the abs can be overused and resultantly be strained.
Second, having poor posture or incorrect breathing techniques can injure your ab muscles. Poor posture such as slouching can crush your internal organs and result in swelling of the abdominal area.
Lastly, weight gain in the midsection can put tension on the waistline area and cause swelling in the abs. Having excess body fat, particularly belly fat, is also associated with poor posture which can further aggravate the already bulging abs.
So, before going any further, ask yourself the following questions to help identify whether you're suffering from bloated abs caused by gastrointestinal issues or bulging abs caused by abdominal muscle injury:
If you answered yes to questions one and/or two, then your abs are most likely bloated due to gas build-up.
If you answered yes to questions three and/or four, then your abs are most likely bloated due to bulging.
Once you have identified the root cause of your bloated abs, you can then dive in on fixing the problem.
If your bloated abs are caused by gastrointestinal issues, then you must make adjustments to your diet.
Those adjustments will likely include one of the following changes:
Making one or more of these changes should reduce your abdominal bloating. If your bloated abs are caused by bulging abdominal muscles, then you must make adjustments to your exercise routine. Specifically, incorporating particular core exercises into your existing workout routine.
To make things easy, we’re sharing 3 simple ab workouts that help reduce belly bloat caused by bulging abs. Each workout is designed to address the root causes of bulging abs. Not only will these exercises help give you the flat abs you desire, but they’ll also strengthen your entire core area and help with weight loss.
This first workout is designed to help strengthen your ab muscles without overworking them and causing strains. Unlike other types of ab exercises like sit-ups, each one in this workout is an isometric hold.
Isometric holds engage your ab muscles without doing any body movements. While they may look simple, they're extremely challenging.
Pilates is an often-underestimated workout. Most of the exercises look easy, but they unexpectedly burn. Pilates is also great for strengthening the hard-to-reach pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor is the base of your entire abdominal region.
When the pelvic floor is strong, your entire ab region becomes stronger and more stable. And, when your abs are strong and stable, you're less likely to run into over-use-related injuries.
Last but not least, doing both cardio and yoga should help reduce abdominal bloat. Unlike the two workouts above that reduce bloating caused by abdominal bulging, cardio can reduce abdominal bloat caused by stomach gas. Usually, stomach gas needs to be relieved through dietary changes.
However, cardio can also help relieve some of those built-up stomach gases as well. Cardio helps expel excess gas built up in your stomach. As your heart rate rises, your breathing picks up, and your diaphragm expands. That expansion helps push some of that excess gas out of your system.
However, for cardio to be helpful, you must make sure that you breathe correctly. Generally, the best way to breathe during cardio is to inhale and exhale from both your nose and mouth together. Next, yoga can help reduce abdominal bloat caused by gas buildup and bulging abdominal muscles.
In terms of relieving gas buildup, yoga involves a lot of stretching of the core region. Different yoga stretches, particularly those that twist and bend the core, allow gas to move out of your digestive system. Once the gases move out, your belly bloat reduces.
In terms of relieving bulging abs, yoga helps restore strained muscles in your abs. With more relief, those strains heal up faster. Once the strains are relieved, then the swelling goes down, and the bloat disappears.
If you don't already have bloated abs, we suggest doing what you can to prevent them. There are several simple things that you should avoid to prevent bloated abs caused by both gastrointestinal issues and bulging abs. Here's what not to do to help keep belly bloat at bay:
Of all the macronutrients, carbs are usually the most difficult to metabolize, meaning that they are the most difficult to digest. As a result, they tend to leave behind a lot of stomach gas in the digestive system. Therefore, prevent bloated abs by eating low-carb meals rather than high-carb ones.
Additionally, eating large and heavy meals, in general, can also lead to bloated abs. A large meal takes a long time to digest. Because your digestive system doesn’t run at warp speed, it can get built up with food and start to bloat.
Breathing correctly while exercising has several benefits including:
The last point is particularly important when it comes to abdominal bloating. Deep breathing causes your diaphragm to expand larger. This expansion helps push stomach gases through your digestive system. With less gas in your stomach, your bloat naturally reduces.
One of the easiest ways to injure yourself during exercise, or practically any other time, is to have poor posture. When you have good posture, you naturally stand up straighter, leaving more space for your abdominal muscles to fully stretch out.
However, it isn’t uncommon for people to slouch and cause muscle strains, including those in their abdominals. And, those strains are likely to cause abdominal bulging. So, the next time you go to the gym for a workout, check your upper body posture before lifting a single weight to help prevent bloating.
Last but not least, overtraining is very likely to cause abdominal muscle strains and thus abdominal bulging. While you may think doing highly intense workouts very frequently is what’s best for your health, it can actually be almost as bad for you as not exercising at all.
Overtraining muscles can lead to their breakdown beyond what is easily repairable with muscle protein synthesis. As a result, your muscles become weaker and more vulnerable to tears. When they’re more vulnerable to tearing, they’re more likely to swell and bloat.
Therefore, only train as much as your body can manage. Listen to messages coming from your body: If something hurts, don't push too hard. If you go beyond your body’s limits, you could end up dealing with injured muscles, bulging, and bloating.
Don’t let belly bloat take away from your six-pack abs progress. You can get rid of belly bloat due to gastrointestinal issues or bulging abs today with our simple workouts and tips! These little changes can go a long way… you’ll be seeing your abs again before you know it!
Bonus tip: Want more exercises to help prevent and reduce abdominal bloat due to bulging? Try our 10 favorite oblique exercises for a strong core!