Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Best Exercises For Lower Abs

Is there a best exercise for lower abs? A lot of people may say that you can't specifically exercise your lower abs, upper abs or in fact target any individual portion of a single muscle group. They're technically right - you can't isolate specific bits of your muscles, including upper and lower abs exercises. BUT.. that doesn't mean you shouldn't train your muscles from different angles. We do know that joint mechanics and angles of exertion will stimulate different levels of fibers within your muscles, so while it's a good idea to train from several angles, don't expect to be able to correct or shape your muscles as they grow.

So, on to the best exercise for lower abs. Your lower abs are mostly used as a stabiliser for your core and when you perform difficult movements with your legs, while your upper abs are used mostly in relation to your general upper torso, shoulders and back. The obvious route then for exercising your lower abs is to make use of your legs to perform the workout.

One of the best exercises for lower abs: vertical leg crunches

Lie on your back with your hands resting underneath your lower back for support. Cross your ankles over and keeping your legs as straight as you can, lift your feet up 20-24" into the air. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then lower them so they're just off the floor, but don't let them rest. Lift again, and lower. Repeat the raising and lowering 10-12 times slowly, then rest for 90-120 seconds before doing another set.

Be careful not to strain your back while doing this lower abs exercise. Rest your head on the floor so your upper abs are left out of the equation as much as possible, and don't arch your back. Your hands under your lower back are there partially for support, and partially to remind your not to flex your back too much.

Another of the best exercises for lower abs: the Captain's chair

This lower abs exercise requires some equipment, but you can probably find it in your local gym, and if you don't have access to the gym you may be able to construct something simple at home. The apparatus you need is basically a chair with the seat removed and with two upright handles like joysticks on the arms, so that when you have your forearms on the arm rests you can hold onto the handles. The chair is fixed to the wall a few feet off the ground, and the exercise is as follows.

Stand in front of the chair between the arm rests, and grip onto the handles. The chair should be at an appropriate height so you can reach these comfortably. Contract your lower abs and lift your knees to your chest, placing your weight on your forearms on the arm rests. Pull your knees as high as you can, hold for 1-2 seconds and gently lower them again, but not all the way to the ground. Repeat this motion 10-12 times, and take a rest of 90-120 seconds between sets.

These are two of the best exercises for lower abs, and will give you plenty of strength and definition both in your general core muscles and in your lower abs.

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