Lets take a real look at how to work the lower abs.
If your mid section and abs looks good, your whole body looks good. Having well muscled arms and a chest is one thing but having rock hard defined abs is what puts a stunning physique on display.This is where knowing how to work the lower abs comes into play.
Everyone knows that nothing turns heads like a shredded 6 pack of abs. And hey, chicas love em. What more needs to be said?
Contrary to popular belief, the abs or Rectus Abdominis is really made up of just one muscle. It stretches from the top of your pelvis up to your ribcage. The “six-pack” as it is called is merely sections of this one muscle.
Exposing the Ab Myths:
One school of though is that the action of any muscle is simply to contract. And as you don’t contract half your bicep or quad, it could be argued that you cannot contract different regions of your abs as well. Therefore the theory about training “upper abs” vs “how to work the lower abs” would be total nonsense. I’m not discounting those training methods but the simple fact is that if you can’t see your lower abs, its because you’ve got layer of fat covering them, not that you need to develop and strengthen them more.
If this is the case then say goodbye to straight-leg raises, hanging knee-raises, and any other type of leg raises for lower stomach muscles. They simply would have little to no effect. The primary role of your abs is to stabilize your core and protect the spine from injury. When you raise your leg for example, your hip flexors pull on your spine and arch it forward/downward. Your abs stabilize this action by resisting and essentially keeping your back from breaking. Take note that this is the static action of the abs. It doesn’t build or strengthen. Leg raising exercises only feel like they are effectively working your abs because of the repeated burning and exhaustion of your muscle producing catabolic, lactic acid build up.
What Really Works the lower abs:
What strengthens your abs is what strengthens any other muscle in your body. Contraction! In this case – Decreasing the distance between your rib cage and your pelvis.
So we come back to the good old sit-up. But there are a few things to keep in mind.
Firstly, forget about the all-the-way-up Rocky Balboa style sit-ups you see in the movies. Your abs are fully contracted when your shoulders are about 6 inches raised from the ground. So don’t bother trying to impress or outperform someone by touching your elbows to your knees. It does nothing for you. Simple crunches are the way to go.
Secondly, don’t jam your feet under something to help pull you up. You don’t need to do this if you are doing crunches properly anyway. Your legs should be at 90 degrees to each other and your knees at 45 degrees to your waist. If you need to, use something to press your heels back against to stabilize yourself. This way you will recruit your hamstrings instead of your hip flexors which keeps the focus on your abdominals.
Thirdly, keep your hands lightly held against the side of your head or crossed on your chest. Don’t clasp them together behind your head or neck. If you do you will be tempted to pull with your hands to get the last few reps out, which will put unnecessary strain on this fragile part of the spine.
Another good abs exercises is kneeling cable crunches. You will need a cable machine to perform this exercise. This is where you kneel and contract your abs so that your upper body arches forward/downward. You hold a rope attached to a pulley with adjustible weights for desired resistance. Most gyms have a rope attachment cable machine pull downs to perform this exercise. The technique is to lock your arms against your upper body so that you pull down only with your abs and not your arms.
Ab Training novelty Devices:
In 4 words – Dont waste your money.
You don’t need them. For the most part they do little to nothing. Building muscle is hard and it hurts. Most of these devices are designed to take the pressure off your body making the exercise seem easy and con you into thinking you are really targeting your muscles. Don’t believe the hype. Ab training is definitely hard work but definitely worth it’s reward.
The Secret to knowing how to work out abs:
The hardest part in obtaining chiseled looking abs is not so much building the muscle. It’s stripping enough fat away from your midsection for them to show. You probably know by now that spot-reduction of fat simply doesn’t work here. In order to bring out that six pack or even eight pack you need to focus on overall fat loss as well as knowing how to workout the lower abs.