What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Today we’re talking about the lower abs. Definitely the area that guys tend to want to have. They don’t want to just have a two-pack. If they want to have a six-pack you’re going to have to your lower abs show as well. I’ll tell you this: it’s not as easy as it sounds. Especially when you look at the fact that a lot of us are being fed misinformation and I want to clear that up today because I followed the same misinformation. I learned a lot over the years as I went to school and became a professional. I started training people and realized our abs are actually a little different than we thought they were. I suffered from not having the right information. So, we’re going to clear that all up today. We’re going to cover four myths in the process and tell you how you can overcome them and get it right.
First and foremost, we’ve got to talk about nutrition. When you’re looking to get a six-pack, and most importantly your lower abs, there is a myth out there that just having a decent diet is good enough. Guys, I’m going to tell you this: if you have a decent diet you’re probably going to see that much of your abs right there. Maybe the top two. The rest of it is going to be pretty flat. If you want to get middle abs to show you need to be a little more serious about your nutrition. You start following a good diet. I will tell you this right now, no BS, if you want to have your lower abs show you’re going to have to have a great diet.
That means you’re going to have to have a solid nutrient plan that you are very consistent with. I’m not going to sit here and say which one is exactly the perfect nutrition plan, because there are a lot of people that will swear by the way they eat, and how it works for them. And that’s great, but it had better work forever. If you have a plan that allows you to eat foods that you actually enjoy, and you can stay consistent with it, then yes; it will help you get that six-pack and keep it. For me, that’s where it all matters. It comes down to the fact that you’re not just getting your abs, but you’re able to keep them.
That relies on longevity and consistency. Most importantly, on a really dialed in nutrition plan. Number two: my approach to ab training changed over the years because I thought that all ab training was ab training. There was a point where I thought that sit-ups were all we needed to do. A lot of people actually approach ab training that way. “I’m going to do “x” amount of sit-ups every, single day”. The sit-ups alone, in a top-down movement are not going to cut it. If you really want to get your lower abs to show, then you’re going to have to train them a little differently.
Meaning, bottom-up movements. Now, why is that? We know that the science of it, that the rectus abdominus is one muscle that contracts all, or none, no matter how we move it from the top down, or bottom-up. Here’s the reality, guys. When you move from the bottom up you’re moving your legs along with your pelvis. That immediately makes the exercise become more of a weighted ab exercise. It is a loaded exercise, and we know how much more difficult it is to do lower ab movements, moving the legs on our upper body, by either hanging, or doing them on the ground like you see me doing in these variations of clips here. That’s adding weight. What it’s doing is, it’s actually activating type II fibers more than it is the type I fibers in your abs. That’s because we’re adding an overload. So, when you say you don’t need lower ab movements, guys, the lower ab movements themselves, by virtue of having to carry the extra load, are going to activate different fibers.
Even the angle of activation is different because of this bottom-up approach, versus top-down. So, you can’t just think regular sit-ups are enough. You’ve got to start incorporating specific lower ab movements if you really want to get your lower abs to pop. Which leads us to the third area here that you’re going to have to tighten up. That is how you’re performing your lower ab movements. You see, I just talked about the value of using those legs for the added resistance here, and what impact that has on your lower ab training. The thing is, don’t mistake the fact that just because your legs are moving that you’re training your lower abs. As a matter of fact, I would argue that the biggest mistake I made through a lot of years of my early ab training is, all I did was swing my legs and activate my hip flexors and let everything else go along for the ride.
What you want to do instead is let the pelvis take the legs along for the ride during all of your activities. Here’s the difference: if you see me on the ground here, this is a version where I’m pulling my legs straight up. But you don’t see there’s very minimal activity of the pelvis. We know if we want to contract the abs what we need to do is take the pelvis and turn it into a posterior tilt. We need to get it off the ground and rolled back. So, if I’m just moving my legs here, what work am I really doing with my abs? Very little.
So instead, what I’d rather do is focus solely on what’s going on with your pelvis. Take it down until it’s in contact with the ground, and then initiate the moves so the pelvis is coming off the floor first. Regardless, the legs are going to come along for the ride. They’re connected at the hip, guys. So, they’re going to come along. You just have to make sure you’re not focusing on just moving your legs. No matter what exercise you’re doing, even if you’re hanging from a bar like you see me doing here, the action is always happening at the pelvis. Forget the legs, guys. Use the pelvis as your moving point, and focus on what it’s doing, not necessarily what your legs are doing. Last, but not least, guys; we have to change our conception of what core training is. People always say, “I’m training my core”. Really, what they’re doing is working their abs. There’s a lot more to your core than just your abs. But when we talk about the lower abs we have to expand a little bit lower. What I’m talking about is, if we’re concentrating so much on the pelvis.
And we realize the importance the pelvis has on lower ab training because of the attachment of the rectus right into the pelvis, then we also have to realize other muscles attach to the pelvis from below. Involving them, or contracting them, is going to have an impact on that very same pelvis that we’re focusing on moving with our lower ab movements. So, there’s a great opportunity here. The adductors are one of the key areas you want to do that with. When I approach any lower ab movement, if it provides the opportunity for me to do so, what I want you to do is start crossing your legs and at least squeezing your adductors.
What that does is creates stability of the pelvis from below. Any time we want to generate force from above, if we have a stable base from down below, we’re going to be able to do that better. It’s the same idea I always talk about. If we’re going to try and jump, and I give you one opportunity to jump as high as you possibly could, would you rather jump off this solid box here, or would you rather jump off sand? If you try to jump off sand, when you try to exert force and push down, all that force will be dispersed into he sand. No stability from below. If you tried to push off this box all that stability is going to provide you the opportunity to jump your highest. The same thing happens when we do our ab training. If I’m trying to generate force and tension from above with the rectus feeding down into the pelvis, I can grab and tighten the pelvis from below because the abductors have not got a better opportunity to do that. Guys, any opportunity you have, whether it be a hanging leg exercise here, or a leg exercise down on the ground; if you can squeeze your legs together and push, and squeeze those adductors you’re going to get much more activation out of your lower abs with every rep.
And at the end of the day, that’s what matters most. So, there you have it, guys. Hopefully lessons learned here so you don’t have to make the same mistakes. A lot of times it’s not mistakes. It’s the information that we’re fed. We simply take it and run with it. And when we get frustrated with it when it’s not working we sometimes blame ourselves. I’m here to tell you that I’ve made the same mistakes myself, guys. I’ve learned from them. Over the years I’ve perfected what it is we do here. To the point where we say we put the science back in strength and incorporate into all of our programs. It’s why our programs work as well as they do. It’s why they’ve become as effective as they have because we put that science back in what we do. Hopefully these are just four examples that you can take right now and incorporate into your lower ab training and start seeing better results. If you’re looking for a step by step program, guys, head to ATHLEANX.com.
Get one of our ATHLEANX training programs. In the meantime, if you’ve found this video helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know what else you want me to cover and I’ll do my best to do that for you in the days and weeks ahead. All right, guys. See you soon. .