Muscles Targeted: For the lower ab muscles, lying reverse abdominal crunches are one of the best options. The upper and lower parts of your abdomen are muscles that are included in the rectus abdominis, most often referred to as the “six pack”. While targeting both the upper and lower areas of the rectus abdominis is important, this exercise mainly focuses on the lower abdominals. If done correctly, reverse AB crunches can be extremely effective but remember to focus on eating a clean diet and doing cardio if your goal is to achieve a lean and sexy stomach.
Exercise Instructions: Using a mat, lay on the floor with your hands under your butt and your legs stretched out straight. Lift your legs up and bring your knees toward to your chest while crunching up and placing maximum tension on your lower abs. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Why This Exercise is Important: The rectus abdominis is an important muscle group. It controls the curvature of your lower spine and the position of your erector spinae (lower back) muscles. It also controls your pelvian tilt. Strengthening this muscle improves your spine, mechanical position and your overall posture. Furthermore, lying reverse abdominal crunches are a great way to tone up your lower abdominal area. Keep in mind that your diet is very important if you want to tighten up your stomach. High protein foods and clean carbs provide the necessary nutrients for burning fat and building muscle. Cardio exercise is also important since it increases calorie burning which is crucial for losing body fat. Add 30-45 minutes of cardio exercise 4-6 days per week to maximize fat burning.
Things To Avoid: First of all, correct posture of your back is crucial to the success of this exercise. The middle part of your back needs to be kept as straight as possible. Do not rock back and forth and keep your tempo slow and controlled. If you go too fast, the movement of your legs will rely more on momentum than your abdominal muscles. This also means a reduced efficiency, since the main point of reverse crunches is contracting your abdominal muscles. Do not forget proper breathing. When lifting your hips, exhale, and inhale when you return down to the starting position. Avoid unnecessary pressure on the lower back. Placing your hands under your butt provides some extra support. At the top of the movement, make sure to pause for a brief moment, contract your abs and then slowly lower your legs down.
Reps and Sets: If you are a beginner, you should limit yourself to 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps. After you gain some experience, slowly increase the number of sets to 3-4 with 20-30 reps. Always allow at least 24 hours of rest between abdominal workouts in order fully recover.
Other Exercises To Use: For training the lower areas of your rectus abdominis, other exercises will prove useful also. In addition to lying reverse abdominal crunches, you should try bent knee hip raises, exercise ball pull ins, parallel bar abdominal raises, or weighted abdominal crunches. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that target the abs.