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Double Cable Rotations For Superior Abs
Prone Swiss Ball Rolls For Developing Strong Core Muscles
5 Sandbag Exercises For Rock Hard Abs
Trunk Twists With A Twist - Tighten Your Love Handles Now!
Bench Press Leg Raise Crunches For Lower Abs
Crunch Pulldowns For a Great Six-Pack
Two Exercises With a Twist For Rock-Hard Obliques and Explosive Core Power
Seated Les Raises - A New Approach To An Old Favorite
2 Dumbbell Swings For a "Steel Corset" Core
The Best Ab Exercise You Never Heard Of

Ab & Core Workouts
The New Method For Six Pack Abs
Build 3-Dimensional Abs In 2010
The Effectiveness Of Sand Bag Training For Abdominals
How To Get 6 Pack Abs & Lose Stomach Fat
Workout Complexes For Hardness & Conditioning
Old School Workouts To Develop Granite Hard Abdominals
The 3 Best Abdominal Exercises that Are Not Abdominal Exercises!
2 Challenging Exercises For Powerful Rock Hard Abs
How To Get Six Pack Abs Using Neglected Cable Exercises
Attack Your Abs With These Underground Power Moves
Killer Abs At Home In 12 Minutes

Recent Ab Training Articles
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The Top 55 Foods For Rock Hard Six Pack Abs
The Rise of SandBag Training
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The Ultimate Secrets to a Flat Stomach and Six Pack Abs
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The Best Exercises For Your Lower Abs Revealed
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The Truth And Secrets Of Getting Ripped Abs
Abdominal Fat Dangers
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Punch Proof Abdominals: How To Get Abs Like A Pro Boxer
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Ask the Ab Guru
Prone Swiss Ball Rolls For Developing Strong Core Muscles
Expansion Sit-Backs For Amazing Abs
Powerful Exercises For A Strong Core
Should You Train Abs To Failure?
The Core In Four Abdominal Workout
Correcting Bad Posture With Ab Training
The Truth About Ab Machines
Core Training: Legit or Just The Latest Fad?

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Concurrent Muscle Gain & Fat Loss: Is It Possible?
The Amazing Abdominals Mistake
Foods That Burn Body Fat
How to lose loose skin after weight loss
Does eating at night make you fat?

The best exercise for your lower abs revealed
By Christian Finn, Men's Health Columnist & Exercise Scientist

6 Second Abs
Some fitness experts will tell you there are distinct "upper and lower" abdominals, which need to be exercised differently.

Others say that rectus abdominis (the six-pack look is the result of bands of connective tissue that "cut" into rectus abdominis) is just one muscle, and doing separate exercises for the upper and lower abs is a waste of time.

So, who's right?

Some studies do appear to show that certain exercises are more effective for the lower abs than others.

Scientists from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, for example, used electromyography (known simply as EMG) to measure abdominal muscle activity during various exercises, including the trunk curl, reverse curl, v-sit, and twist curl (these animated demonstrations aren't exactly the same as the exercises used in the study, but they're close enough) [2].
  • Of the exercises tested, the reverse curl led to the greatest amount of activity in the lower abdominals.
  • The trunk curl, reverse curl, twist curl, and v-sit all resulted in similar amounts of upper abdominal activity.

This study suggests that you can put greater emphasis on the upper or lower abdominals depending on the exercise you do. But it certainly doesn't show that you can work the lower and upper rectus abdominis separately.

More interesting still, Professor Stuart McGill, an expert in spine function at the University of Waterloo in Canada, points out that a distinct upper and lower rectus abdominis does not exist in most people [1].

"There’s a muscle called pyramidalius, which is a lower muscle that overlays the bottom beads of rectus, but only in some people - it's an optional muscle," says McGill.

In other words, those using EMG who claim there is an upper and lower rectus abdominis might simply be monitoring pyramidalius.

Personally, I don't think it's necessary to make any special attempt to "isolate" the lower abs.

I usually train my abs twice a week, using a variety of different exercises. In one workout, for example, I might do cable woodchops, hanging leg raises and standing cable crunches. In the next workout, I'll use a few different exercises, such as barbell rollouts or swiss ball reverse curls.

I also believe that all the talk about the "upper" and "lower" abs ignores what is probably the most important part of getting your abs to show.

"The truth is, getting six-pack 'killer' abs has almost nothing to do with training," writes Tom Venuto, author of Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle. "It has everything to do with low body fat."

If you've seen pictures of Tom, you'll know he has some of the best abs in the business.

"Some people might argue that I was just blessed with good genetics in the ab department, which may be true," says Tom. "But based on my experience with others who have less favorable genetics, I still believe that developing the abdominal muscles is easy. The hardest part is getting your body fat low enough for your abs to show."

- Christian Finn

1. 1. Lehman, G.J., & McGill, S.M. (2001). Quantification of the differences in electromyographic activity magnitude between the upper and lower portions of the rectus abdominis muscle during selected trunk exercises. Physical Therapy, 81, 1096-1101

2. Willett, G.M., Hyde, J.E., Uhrlaub, M.B., Wendel, C.L., & Karst, G.M. (2001). Relative activity of abdominal muscles during commonly prescribed strengthening exercises. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 15, 480–485

About Christian Finn

Christian Finn, Exercise Scientist and Researcher

Christian Finn holds a masters degree with distinction in exercise science. He has lectured at universities and private training organizations around the United Kingdom on fitness training, weight loss and the effective use of supplements.

If you live in the UK, you may have seen Christian in the BBC TV series Body Hits. Christian was also the fitness expert for the Bravo TV series All About Men.

You can find Christian's articles published in numerous magazines, journals and websites worldwide, including Men's Health, Men's Health Muscle, Fit Pro, CAM magazine, Image, Zest, and Body Life magazine. You also might have seen Christian featured in the July 2004 issue of Muscle & Fitness.

A tireless researcher, Christian has lost count of the number of hours he has spent reviewing the latest scientific research on diet and exercise for the benefit of his readers. Christian’s research on high-intensity intermittent training has been published in the online journal Sport Science (March 2001).

As a certified personal trainer, Christian has spent more than a decade working with people of all shapes and sizes, as well exercising regularly himself for over 15 years.

You can subscribe to Christian's FREE newsletter at www.TheFactsAboutFitness.Com and you can visit his members only website at: www.ChristianFinn.Com

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