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Marko959
01-29-2003, 09:48 AM
I would like to start doing some lower abdominal exercises to try and tighten up my mid-section. My upper abdominals are almost too developed and have just pushed the fat farther out.

Could I have some suggestions on lower abs, please?

Thanks


P.S. I know you can't spot reduce. This will just be in addition to my exercise and nutrition plans.

Minotaur
01-29-2003, 10:57 AM
OK, this is my understanding...

The abdominal muscles you see in the front are just one muscle. The divisions that make up the 6 pack are connective tissue. It's really one muscle that connects from the sternum to the pelvis. In fact, the function of the rectus abdominus is to pull the sternum and pelvis close together (a crunch! :)).

My further understanding is that because of this you can't work 'upper' and 'lower' abs, because there is no such thing. So, don't break your head trying to figure it out!

As far as the upper part being more developed, and the lower part being fatter... congratulations! You're losing fat! The lower belly area is the last place that fat disappears from. I can see and feel the 'bumps' of the upper cuts of my abs (great feeling), but I have quite the marshmallow layer below that. It almost seems like gravity is pulling the fat down and out, but that's not really what's happening.

MiloMan
01-29-2003, 01:09 PM
Originally posted by Minotaur
OK, this is my understanding...

The abdominal muscles you see in the front are just one muscle. The divisions that make up the 6 pack are connective tissue. It's really one muscle that connects from the sternum to the pelvis. In fact, the function of the rectus abdominus is to pull the sternum and pelvis close together (a crunch! :)).

My further understanding is that because of this you can't work 'upper' and 'lower' abs, because there is no such thing. So, don't break your head trying to figure it out!

As far as the upper part being more developed, and the lower part being fatter... congratulations! You're losing fat! The lower belly area is the last place that fat disappears from. I can see and feel the 'bumps' of the upper cuts of my abs (great feeling), but I have quite the marshmallow layer below that. It almost seems like gravity is pulling the fat down and out, but that's not really what's happening.
Your understanding is correct. While there are other muscles in the abdomen (the obliques, pyramidalis, etc.), the rectus abdominus (which is what everyone refers to as the "abs") runs from the pelvis to the ribs, and you cannot work just the upper, middle, or lower part of that one muscle.

MagicMel
01-29-2003, 01:32 PM
That is just the thing that I wanted to hear.

I enjoy crunch type exercises but I hate leg lift exercises.

So can I just substitute any ab type exercise in place my leg lift exercises? Or is there some advantage to doing something like a hanging leg raise, that a crunch or ab machine doesn't do?

MiloMan
01-29-2003, 03:33 PM
Originally posted by MagicMel
That is just the thing that I wanted to hear.

I enjoy crunch type exercises but I hate leg lift exercises.

So can I just substitute any ab type exercise in place my leg lift exercises? Or is there some advantage to doing something like a hanging leg raise, that a crunch or ab machine doesn't do?
Well, leg lifts can still have their uses. The first part of the hanging or incline leg lift works the muscles that lift the leg (including the rectus femoris) as well as some muscles that you can't easily see (i.e. iliopsoas).

That's why they feel like they work the lower part of the rectus abdominis, but actually work what lies underneath it a lot more. They do work the abs you see somewhat, just not to the degree that a good, weighted crunch does.

Personally, I don't have much use for leg lifts, and leave them for the folks that think that "burn" and "pump" are indicators of a good workout (they are not). It's not "real" if they don't "feel" it, I guess.

Gator
01-30-2003, 05:48 AM
From what I understand, be sure to work yer lower abs first, then work your way up..

Gator

TrishB
01-30-2003, 06:36 AM
The best I have used is lying on the floor with your legs straight up in the air. Using your abs, lift your butt up a couple of inches. Don't swing your legs to get momentum. Just feel like you are pushing your feet up to the ceiling. Done properly, you will not be able to lift up more than 2-3 inches.