Strength Training For Lower Abs – Learn The Science


 

Out of the entire human physique out abs and lower back are considered the “core” of our body. Any type of exercise which includes strength training and bodybuilding requires the support of our core. Hence, we need to make sure that our core is strong enough to take the weight of strenuous workouts.

Do you know what makes a strong core?

You would say strong, firm, packed abs, right?

But how do we get strong abs in the right way?

Let me tell you something I too came across just recently in the bodybuilding arena.

What research says

What happened there: Researchers flocked a group of trained bodybuilders to test the number of reps they could do on hanging leg raises – in the beginning of the upper ab workout and in the end.

What they found: Bodybuilders completed more reps of the hanging leg raises which is a lower ab workout prior to the upper ab workout rather than in the end.[1]

This is nothing new they found here. Many of us have been through this. But why does this happen?

What the researchers explain: Lower-ab exercises are truly difficult to perform. This is due to the greater weight of our lower body especially when one has a weak core.

So, the secret is: It is better to work your way up rather down, for a stronger and well-sculpted core.

Strengthen your lower ab the right way

The lower abs are a storage house of all the stubborn fats in our body. No matter how much fat we lose, this area takes the maximum time in toning up. So how do we get rid of it the right way?

The simple answer to this would be proper ‘strength training’. If done correctly, strength training can build up to half to 1 pound of muscle each week.[2]

Strength training are of three types today- Weightlifting, Body weight exercise and Machines. This training is specially designed for those who want some lean muscles while losing out on the unnecessary body fats.

According to Dr. Ellington Darden, Director of “Research for Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries”, strength training gives the best result when done within these four requirements – Slow, intense, progressive and brief. [3]

Let us go deeper into the subject and understand their importance.

Slow

Working out on weight lifting reps in a fast and fitful manner does nothing more than cause injury and pain. Remember that the slower the weight lifts are, the more efficient the results will be, because it then targets the muscle endurance instead of the movements.

Dr. Darden recommends , “approximately 3 seconds to lift the resistance and 3 seconds to lower it. Each repetition should take 6 seconds to perform.” 

The more controlled and calculated the repetitions are, the more our muscles would get involved in the act. After all we are working towards a chiseled look and not towards an injury.

Intense

For the most efficient muscle build up our workout has to be intense to the point where we experience what is called ‘momentary muscular failure.’ [4] This means no more additional upward movement is possible beyond that point.

Progressive

Earlier Strength Training was called the “Progressive Resistance Exercise.” This form of exercise provides the maximum amount of stimulation to the muscles as it pushes the trainee to increase his sets and reps ‘progressively.’ Studies have also shown that this type of a workout helps older adults fight the battle of strength and muscle loss as they age. [5]

Brief

A trainee should always make sure to keep his exercise routine brief as the title suggests and not carry it out for more than 3 times in a week.

The perfect workout routine is to keep a gap of one day in between. This means that we should workout every alternate day, in the meantime giving a day’s rest to our bodies in between. The one day’s rest also works as a recovery time for our muscles as well as giving it enough consistency.

So trainees before you go out and hit the gym, shedding fats and gaining the lean muscle that you have always wanted I hope this small guide helps you towards a safe and fun workout.

Take care.

If you liked this post, you must read about the 3 Types of Weight Training & The Science Behind Them.

Reference

[1] Akuthota, V., & Nadler, S. (2004). Core strengthening Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 85, 86-92 DOI: 10.1053/j.apmr.2003.12.005. ^Back to Top^

[2] Feigenbaum, M., & Pollock, M. (1997). Strength Training: Rationale for Current Guidelines for Adult Fitness Programs The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 25 (2) DOI: 10.3810/psm.1997.02.1137. ^Back to Top^

[3] Darden E (1972). Sixteen personality factor profiles of competitive bodybuilders and weightlifters. Research quarterly, 43 (2), 142-7 PMID: 4533513. ^Back to Top^


[4] Sundstrup E, Jakobsen MD, Andersen CH, Zebis MK, Mortensen OS, & Andersen LL (2012). Muscle activation strategies during strength training with heavy loading vs. repetitions to failure. Journal of strength and conditioning research / National Strength & Conditioning Association, 26 (7), 1897-903 PMID: 21986694. ^Back to Top^


[5] SEGUIN, R. (2003). The benefits of strength training for older adults American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 25 (3), 141-149 DOI: 10.1016/S0749-3797(03)00177-6. ^Back to Top^

Last Updated: July 23rd, 2014
Next Scheduled update: Sept 23rd, 2014

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