In designing the best ab workout for 6 pack abs, we targeted all of the major groups of the midsection - the internal and external obliques, the transverse abdominis, the erector spinae, and the rectus abdominis.
In this workout, however, we want to specifically target the lower portion of the rectus abdomins, more commonly known as the lower abs.
It is important to note that the rectus abdominis is not two separate upper and lower muscles. As a result, any lower ab specific workout will also work the upper abs to some extent. However, becuase the muscles are separated by connective tissue (the tissue that gives you 6 pack abs), you can shift the focus of ab work from the upper abs to the lower abs.
To focus on the upper portion of the abdominals, you should generally perform exercises that move you torso (or upper body), and focus on the lower abdominals by moving your pelvis (or lower body).
Now, on to the our lower abdominal workout!
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The most effective exercise for targeting your lower abs specifically is the hanging leg raise. There are several variations of this movement. The most effective is hanging from a pull-up bar and slowly raising raising you legs until they are slightly higher than parallel to the floor. Your pelvis should rock forward slightly. It is important to limit swinging in this exercise. You want your lower abs to perform the work, not the momentum from your swing.
An important note about the hanging leg raise is that it may cause back problems similar to a straight leg sit-up. Therefore, if you choose to do hanging leg raises, your back should remain in a neutral position as much as possible.
An alternative to this exercise is the hanging knee raise. It is performed in a similar manner to the hanging leg raise, except that the knees remain bent. You should lift your legs as close to your chest as possible, again alllowing your pelvis to rock forward during the movement.
For those of you that have trouble with shoulders or grip strength when hanging from the bar, you can use the captain's chair in your lower ab workout. Again, make sure that the motion is slow and controlled and that you don't swing while performing this exercise.
The second exercise in our lower ab workout is the reverse crunch. To do the reverse crunch, lie flat on the floor or a workout bench. Cross your feet. Keeping your knees bent, raise your legs until your thighs are perpendicular to the floor (your thighs and knees will form a right angle). From here, press your lower back to the floor and contracting your abs. This should cause your knees to rotate toward your chest. Lower your legs back into the starting position with thighs perpendicular to the floor and feet crossed.
The final exercise in the lower ab workout is called a hip thrust. Again, lie on the floor or exercise bench and cross your feet at the ankles. Keeping your legs straight, lift them so that they are pointed toward the ceiling (above your hips) throughout the entire movment. With your legs pointed toward the ceiling, raise your hips off the floor several inches by contracting your abs and pressing your lower back to the floor. As with any ab exercise, you should be slow and deliberate and control the movement as much as possible.
|Best Ab Workout - Intermediate/Advanced Lower Ab Workout
|Hanging Leg/Knee Raise*
|15, 15, 15
|15, 15, 20, 20
One more important (perhaps the most important) note. Unless you undertake a rigourous nutrion and exercise program designed to burn fat, you will not see your 6 pack abs. You must burn the fat that covers your abs before they will be visible. This means you need a body fat percentage of about 10% for men and about 14% for women.
Several fat buring exercise routines can be found on the Free Workout Plans page.