Getting visible six-pack abs boils down to two things: what you're eating and how you're training. But as Athlean-X's Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. points out, things can get a little bit trickier when it comes to working your lower abs.
"As always, nutrition is a high priority when it comes to your abs," he says, pointing out that many men can tend to store fat in the lower ab area for longer, so dedication to good nutrition is a must.
On the training side, however, there's another common difficulty. "Lower ab movements are driven from moving the pelvis towards your shoulders. Attached to that pelvis is a pair of legs, that happen to usually weigh a lot," says Cavaliere. "So these become weighted ab movements that become very challenging, and oftentimes it's the hip flexors that get really fatigued first, limiting what you can actually do for your lower abs."
Cavaliere breaks down a lower-ab workout that can be performed at any level, consisting of six moves, all of which start from a laying down, face-up position and involve lifting the legs. You'll perform one move that lifts the legs, then follow with one that provides your hip flexors some relief.
The first exercise is a figure 8. When performing this move, it's not just about lifting the pelvis off the ground, but also engaging the obliques as well as the lower abs to drive that bottom-up rotation. This is followed by a hip flexor relief exercise, the lower ab swipe, which requires you to lift your pelvis and tailbone high enough off the ground to be able to touch the floor underneath without making contact.
The third exercise is the bicycle V-up. "We're simply bicycling our legs and sitting up into that V position," says Cavaliere. "Again, the weight of the legs is going to make this more demanding and more likely to fatigue out your hip flexors." As such, the fourth exercise is another hip flexor relief move, the heaven press. "Here all you're trying to do is simply press your heels into the ceiling," he says, "lifting and driving by trying to get your tailbone and pelvis off the ground, not worrying about anything else."
The fifth move is a 3-way seated ab tuck; this one allows you to have a little additional support by placing your hands on the floor to support yourself and combat the fatigue at this point in the workout. The sixth and final move is a knees-to-elbow crunch. "Here you set up in a 90-degree position, and you do not move your elbows at all," says Cavaliere. "Your upper body stays locked in place, all you're doing is initiating that pelvic lift with the activation of that bottom-up ab movement to drive your knees into your elbows."
For beginners, Cavaliere recommends doing 15 seconds on and 15 seconds off each exercise. Intermediate exercisers try 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off. If you're at a more advanced level, he suggests working for 25 seconds with just a 5 second rest. You should be able to complete the circuit in around 3 minutes. After a 1-minute rest, do all six moves again.
You Might Also Like