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The Best Abdominal Exercise


The Best Abdominal Exercise: Knee Raises

If your goal is to etch out those 6 pack muscles, I will show you how to get a six-pack!  Of course nutrition/diet play an important role, but so does abdominal training.  This exercise the "hanging knee/leg raise" are great for abdominal development.  If your goal is mainly core strength, this is not the best-suited exercise however for aesthetic purposes they are.

Proper form is crucial.  You have two options, you can either perform them hanging from a bar or on a Roman chair that will take some stress off the arms/shoulders.  The key to this exercise is to perform a spinal flexion. Many people who perform knee/leg raises really only perform flexion in their hips.  You want to really bend in your rectus abdominus and flex the spine rather then using your hip flexor muscles to elevate your legs.  The photo below is a perfect example of a proper spinal flexion and rectus abdominus engagement.

A few other factors play a role as well during this exercise.  The key is to left with a slow tempo.  Count to 3 on the way up, and 4 on the way down.  You may have found in the past when doing them you swing on the way down right? If so, that is a clear indication hat you are not actually using the muscles to bring your legs down, but you are letting gravity take over and your legs are just falling down.

Typically with abdominal training you want to perform a higher rep range as the muscles can handle the tension. 15-30 reps depending on the exercise for 4-5 sets but also keeping a very short rest period in between each set.  The reason you are bale to rest for a shorter amount of time then other muscles groups is for two main reasons. 1. Your abdominal muscles are use to working everyday, in everything that you do, even bending down to tie your shoes requires core work.  2. Your abdominal muscles are located closer to your heart then many other muscles which means the blood flow can go in/out at a quicker rate then other muscles.

A few other variations that you can incorporate are straight leg raises, but ensure there is no swinging whatsoever.  These can be more difficult as the tension is further away from your body making it harder and adding more resistance.  Lastly if you want to hit your side oblique muscles, perform side knee raises.  Bring your knees up the each side and repeat all of the steps above.  Try them and be sure to leave us feedback on how your workout went.

Amer the Hammer

Hammer Fitness

Abs | November 03, 2012

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