Most bodybuilders have fairly well developed upper abs. A few sets of crunches, a few times per week, and the upper four abs (of the entire 8-pack) begin to emerge. Some bodybuilders don’t even have to do that much. Relatively low body fat levels, coupled with some stimulation from cardio and other compound lifts cause those lucky folks to possess those visible upper abs year-round.
The lower abs, however, receive far less spillover stimulation from other exercise. Additionally, in most people, the body tends to store a fair deal of fat in the lower stomach area. For this reason, both cardio and specialized lower-abdominal training are required. Here are a few popular lower abdominal exercises.
Leg Raises On Bench
These are a very common way to train the lower abs. Lying on a bench, put your feet together with legs extended, and raise your legs until your body is in an “L” shape. Repeat. Tossing them in at the end of any bench exercise, sprinkled throughout your routine, is an effective way to thoroughly stimulate them in a minimum amount of time.
Hanging Leg Raises
Find a high chin bar in your gym. Grab hold of it with both arms. Your body will be hanging. Keeping your hips stable and upper body stationary, tuck the feet together and move the body into an “L” shape. This exercise is the same as leg raises on a bench, only from a new angle! Be prepared for a great deal of soreness from this movement
Dip Machine Leg Raises
Find a roman chair or chest dip station, and perform leg raises in thie station. These will be similar to hanging leg raises. However, since the brunt of your bodyweight will be placed on the arms (and not the back while hanging), you should be able to complete more reps to properly stimulate the area.
Cardiovascular exercise is often a requirement for the lower abdominal definition to become visible. Many times, a bodybuilder will develop an exquisite set of abdominals, and never be aware of it. Sitting at 15 to 20% body fat, or holding a great deal of water due to high sugar or sodium intake, the well-developed abdominal muscles will exist under a quarter inch of bloat. If you train your abs – especially the lower abs – regularly, yet see no defined muscles; have your body fat checked. You may discover you have a nice set of abs, once you are able to remove the superfluous layers of fat and water currently obscuring them.
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