The lower abs are often an area of concern for many people. It is that area from the navel down to the pubic region that is often an area of fat storage. This is not a separate muscle form the upper abdomen, but it is the area of the muscle closest to the lower attachment on the hip. That is why it can be targeted more directly with different exercises.
The lower abdominal muscles help pull the hips up toward the chest. They perform this in a reverse crunching motion. The lower abdomen is worked during upper abdominal work, and vice versa. However, they can be targeted more specifically by performing exercises that pull the legs up toward the chest, causing a rolling action at the hips.
Best Lower Ab Workouts
Shawn Phillips – Bestabs.com
Traditional straight leg raises do work the lower abdominals to a small degree, in a more supportive, stabilizing role. They activate the hip flexors and quadriceps much more than the lower abdominals. From this exercise was developed the hip roll, or bent knee leg raise, which is done by keeping the knees bent and rolling the knees up toward the chest until the hips are lifted off the floor. These are much more in line with the actual pulling action of the lower abdominals.
Lower Ab Exercises
There are variations of this exercise that can add resistance and tax the muscles harder. The exercise can be performed by lying on a slant board backwards, holding onto the foot pads and doing the hip rolls at an angle, adding a little extra resistance.
Hanging leg raises (one of the best lower ab exercises) are done by holding onto a pull up bar (or using a device to hold yourself in an elevated position) and perform the hip rolls from that position. This elevated position adds gravity resistance to the exercise. The hip roll can also be performed by lying on the floor in front of a low pulley machine with ankle straps attached to the weight and performing the hip rolls against the resistance.
There are some machines designed to aid or increase the resistance of lower abdominal exercises. There are weight machines where the resistance is placed across the lower thigh, just above the knee with handles above the head and the weight is pulled upward toward the chest. Many of the commercial abdominal exercises incorporate the lower abdominals into the exercise for a total abdominal workout.
About Lower Abdominal Muscles
The lower abdominals are often a stubborn area, and this area of the muscle has a little less mass so it does not stand out as prominently as the upper abdominals. However, with some solid training and a good combination of abdominal exercise it can become a strength. Upper abdominal work, such as crunches and crunch machines will help work the entire abdominal muscle. Then add in one or two lower abdominal exercises such as hanging leg raises and weighted hip rolls.
This combination of work will help strengthen and tone the muscles of the lower abdomen. The sets should be done for 20 to 30 repetitions to aid in calorie burning. Some exercisers choose to pre-exhaust the lower abdominals by doing the lower ab work first and then doing the other ab work. This ensures that the upper ab work will also tax the lower abs to a large degree.
Lower abdominal exercises all center on the rolling hip action. This is the action of the lower abdominals. Resistance can be added for additional benefit and the lower abs can be worked first to pre-exhaust them and gain additional benefit from the upper ab work. Hit those hip rolls and turn that stubborn area into something you’ll be proud of.
Remember, regardless of how much you workout your abs, they will never show unless you lose the fat that surrounds them through a proper diet and cardio!