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Lower Abdominals the Key To a Conditioned Midsection

Joe Pietaro

Joe Pietaro

Joe Pietaro Contributer
May 30, 2014
It's called a 'six pack,' but the bottom two abdominal muscles (or as the old school saying goes - cubes) play a vital part in presenting the entire package at its best. There are exercises that isolate the upper, middle and lower abs and others that cover the entire area. But you should try to include as many lower ab movements as possible since they are the stingiest pair of the entire muscle group.

Why is it such an arduous task to develop them? Most men carry most of the body fat in their gut and it lays low. So that will extend your waistline and be very visible. And as luck would have it, the lower abs are also the ones that are the hardest to feel working. So even if you are making the effort to work them properly, you may not be knowing until they actually become visible.

Keep in mind that this is only one part of the solution; your diet holds the key to getting this done. But that's a completely different story, albeit one that is closely related.

Here are some exercises that focus on the lower abs and you should always include at least one on every day that you are training abdominals:

*HANGING LEG RAISES - A very difficult exercise to do properly and you will see many people doing them with horrendous form, thus making them useless and only walking away with your arms being tired. Just use your bodyweight; it's not necessary to dangle a dumbbell in between your feet. Stop at a 90 degree angle because when you exceed that and do the variation where your feet go over your head, your hip flexors take over. It's good to hold the rep at the top (of the 90 degree angle) and get a little extra squeeze in.

*AB ROLL - You can use one of those fancy wheels or even a light barbell; the important part is to use a full range of motion because it is at the top of the rep where your lower abs are engaged. Try to pause at the top and bottom if each rep so you don't fall into a bad habit of using your momentum instead of your muscles.

*BODY PLANKS - Made famous by Sylvester Stallone in "Rocky IV," these are a very difficult but effective exercise. Use a flat bench, grab the bottom of it behind your head and bring your legs up together, inner soles touching. Get it up to 90 degrees or just a hair over and then bring them down slowly, arching your back a bit and you will feel the pain as your legs are al most back ti the starting point. This is not the best idea if you have a bad lower back, but it is one of the best if you can do it safely.
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