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 Post subject: lower abdomen exercise
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:57 am 
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Near two years ago I got a back injury, which did not yield to the chiropractor, so I went to my doc, who sent me to physical therapy. I saw two therapists, which helped, although one of them said "I think you may have an injured disc, but perhaps not. I think it is possible that you may return to health as you knew it." Well, I got various exercises, which helped the back, some Pilates, and various calisthenics and funny exercises. My upper abdomen responds, but my lower abdomen, I find it tougher going to achieve good tone. THe one physical therapist said that I needed to learn body control, which is sensible, and prescribed situps, only if I did not anchor my feet. I didn't think with my heavier torso I could do that, but I can do them, she was correct about that, and I suppose it helps the lower abdomen some. She didn't think leg raises were good (for my back) then. She said my iliopsoas muscles were all tight. However, now things are better, after her treatment, and if I keep up with the back exercises, and with stretches. She gave me what I call the Cyndi Lauper exercise, which is sort of a standing alternating crunch, quite strange looking as are many useful exercises. As you obtain more awareness of the lower abdomen muscles, they come into better fettle, she assures me.

In George Jowett's book he recommends alternating leg raises, or two legged leg raises, for the lower abdomen, for one. I started to do them, which does help, as well as a scissors movement. I also pulled a groin muscle again as I got hooked by a heavy plank that I was unloading, but after rest and hopefully judicious exercise, that is improving. He was an observant student of anatomy, it seems to me. However, Stuart McRobert considers that all leg raises and situps, except for a crunch style, in which the lower back remains on the floor, all exercise the hip flexors, the iliopsoas muscles, and so tightness may pull on the back. I had this going on when I saw the physical therapist, which she helped with a treatment she learned.

To put it shortly, I would like to hear ideas on useful exercises for the lower abdomen.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:16 am 
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a lot of people are going to tell you you can't target the lower abs. I am not one of them.

I have found the following exercises effective:

-reverse crunches
-leg lowering (make sure to keep your pelvis tilted forward, the small of your back should stay on the floor the entire time)
-hanging leg raises (touch your knees to your elbows)

remember as well that the lower abs (and in some cases the small of the back) are the last places on your body to get lean, so you'll need to address that too. Can't see those abs if there's fat in the way.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:49 am 
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robertscott wrote:
a lot of people are going to tell you you can't target the lower abs. I am not one of them.

I have found the following exercises effective:

-reverse crunches
-leg lowering (make sure to keep your pelvis tilted forward, the small of your back should stay on the floor the entire time)
-hanging leg raises (touch your knees to your elbows)

remember as well that the lower abs (and in some cases the small of the back) are the last places on your body to get lean, so you'll need to address that too. Can't see those abs if there's fat in the way.



Thank you for the ideas. I have found some good response from the reverse crunch. You mean pulling one's knees backward to crunch, right? I haven't used this a lot. I have done knee pullins to the chest, the way I have done these is different from the crunch you wrote about I think. All of that is done gingerly now with the groin irritation, but I will do more reverse crunches.

I don't have much to hang from, but I can do some leg lowering.

Yes, in an introductory mail I said how that I need to lose fatness. It is the strength and health of the abdomen, notably the lower abdomen that I am concerned about when I ask about this. It has been slow, but I have lost some fatness over the past two years, losing 20+ pounds, however, I want to lose another 10 or 15 or 20 pounds.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:22 pm 
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Deific Wizard of Sagacity
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well done losing 20lbs!

this article will tell you everything you need to know about leg lowering, with a decent progression if they are too hard for you at first:

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_art ... mart_folks


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:22 pm 
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Thank you for the link, I started reading it. When I get home from work today, I will take that leg lowering test. This looks like a good article. It would be good to have internet at home to read this article with its exercises, and to employ them at home. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:26 am 
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I think targetting the lower abdomen is more a think to feel them, than of an actual exercise. It just takes time, in my experience. However exercises that seems beneficial to me are:
crunches (also easy on the lower back) done that way: lay on the floor, lift up legs to get 90 degree angle in hips, knees, ankle. Legs are kept in that position all the time. Now crunch with your upper torso AND lower torso/hips. Means not only lift your shoulders of the floor, but also your hips. It may seem like unimportant, because you will get your hips up just so slightly, but it makes a big difference in what you feel and how to target the abs.
Just image, to now only bring your shoulders up, but bring shoulders ans hips together, what is what the abs are made for. Just image your abs pulling the shoulders and hips to one another.
You will realise crunching that way, targets lower abs better and is more difficult, you will feel a nasty burn with fewer reps.

Same applies for leg raises and stuff. Here the abs a just stabilizers, and you work the deep hip flexors /which feels like lower abs, but is not), if you don't get a bent in your lower back, means rolling up the hip or rolling in the lower back, however you may describe it.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:05 am 
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FragenAnsLeben wrote:
Just image, to now only bring your shoulders up, but bring shoulders ans hips together, what is what the abs are made for. Just image your abs pulling the shoulders and hips to one another.

This is exactly why I DON'T like crunches. Well, one of the reasons I don't like them. I spend much of my life slouched over. Going to the gym and doing an exercise to make my posture even worse doesn't seem beneficial to me.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:41 am 
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I now this arguent. The think is, you need to bend your spine to really contracting the abs. Leg lifts without bending just using the abs as a stabilizer. They are just isometrically used, which will ad some strength and mass to that muscle, but is not the most efficient way to do so.

Apart from that hunched over posture has more to do with tight hipflexors and/or imbalance between chest and upper back as well as posterior and anterior delts. It has nothing to do with abs itself.
Only if ab training is done, which increases hip flexor tightness, which is exactly leg raises.

Regarding hips it is wise to stretch and foam roll, to bring down tension. shoulders are an entirely different topic.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:37 am 
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Sorry. I'm not following all of what you say.

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