Lower abs? Really? Where's your lower bicep?
Posted on January 27, 2016 (3:53 pm) by Dave Parise
Lower abs? Really? Where's your lower bicep? How about Hip flexor group? YES!
Do you remember straight leg lifts? Remember how they arched / stressed the low back? Remember how you felt the pull / burn in the front top part of your legs? The reason is because everyone started at end range. Why do you think people put their hands under the lower back while performing leg lifts? It is because the abdomen region is now working as a stabilizer to protect the lower back so it won't arch? What muscles are the prime movers in a leg lift? If you answered the hip flexor group, rectus femoris, psoas and iliacus you are correct. What no spot reduction, no lower abs? There are no lower abs in the human body- that is geography not anatomy. However you can research a gentlemen named Kendell who coined the term "lower abdomen region" which is different from training the upper and lower abdomen. Many articles can be found on Kendell's research such as "Pelvic Floor Stability and Trunk Muscle Co-activation". As far as the pictures below this is the norm. We need to understand the safe range, what activates, and how to correct poor exercise techniques. The pictures below develop great hip flexors, stresses the lumbar region (hence the hands under the back to protect) and we need to look at our legs and feet right? (Promoting forward head posture) I ask you... what's the goal? I bet he/she says stomach / lower abs.
Here are the pictures of Ab exercises that engage other muscles that are not part of the goal of "spinal flexion" that's what the ABS do!
This one is a real joke!!
I know you feel it... remember that's stress. We don't want muscular imbalances, and tight hip flexors when the goal was AB training. In regards to the straps, and chairs you climb up onto... holding your body weight with your lats, and shoulder girdle muscles to train ABS? Really? A qualified trainer would eliminate these and many others you will learn about in this course.Ab roller, leg lifts, sit-ups, hanging leg raises (straight leg or bent) Queens or Kings chair, Roman chair, Ab straps (hanging) Ab rocket... Another explanation would be; the legs are just extensions off our core a lever arm. When you throw them out and away from the pelvis, it creates a pull on the pelvis. Moreover the rectus abdominis acts like a stabilizer to maintain congruency with the entire lumbo pelvic hip complex. This is now a stress and strain on the lower back and pelvic area, and a host of microscopic tears being created. We all must understand how to decrease specific disproportionate forces that trickle through the system and create muscular stress, strain and imbalances.
Think about the body's position while in a roman chair. This may also be called the king's, Queen's, or captain's chair. They now put a Bosu for your comfort! There is no difference between the bodies position as seen in the picture as to the position of lying leg lifts above. (On the floor) However the risk elevates higher in the chair. Question: Why would you load your entire body weight on your shoulder joints, to stress your low back, and train your hip flexors?
Oh look the abs don't attach to the legs!!! So why do we hang like monkeys, or throw our legs out in front of us? Why do we climb up into the chair? These are all sensation based, high risk, objective opinions by the manufacture, and the gym goer.
Let's embark on the facts: The Rectus a long flat superficial muscle (6 pack abs muscle) originates (starts) on the pubic symphysis and the pubic crest, and it inserts (finishes) on the xiphoid process of the sternum and the 5th-7th costal cartilages. Its actions are to compress the abdominal contents to stabilize the spine, and flex the spine (pull it forward like in crunches).
The rectus, like the external oblique is a phasic muscle. This means its primary role is to move the spine, and its secondary role is to stabilize the spine. The rectus provides most of the strength for bending motions in the spine. The rectus is the muscle that gives you the 6 pack abs look. (However there are no blocks) The rectus has white tendenious intersections or inscriptions that divide the muscle into sections. Think of sitting bare butt in a strapped lawn chair. The abs only get there six pack look from the thickness of the fascial tissue. I have clients who have 5% body fat with no "6-pack" no blocks because of their predisposition to thinner connective fascial tissue. Since the rectus is only anchored to bone at its ends, it does not have great leverage without the tendinous intersections. I ask again... after knowing the attachments and the actions, how can hanging strap leg lifts concentrically and eccentrically contract the "6-pack". This is another form of perception, sensation, marketing, and the ability to "feel" tension in a region. Is it wrong? No... However is super high risk, creates a host of muscular imbalances over time, activates the lats, and demands stabilization from the gleno-humeral joint. What was the goal? I think to train the abs? We can think of more beneficial anatomically correct movements for the goal of spinal flexion. (Abs) Do we need to flex the spine to get definition/ripped/shredded? NO!
GOD the truth hurts!