A physique is not complete without a set of abdominals. Sure, you can have huge bulging arms and tree-trunk legs, but all the cool kids have a set of abs these days. Of course, if your goal isn’t physique-oriented (let’s say, powerlifting instead… or just enjoying life), then having some abs isn’t absolutely necessary. However, the abdominals are a key component in stability for the big compound lifts such as squatting, benching, and deadlifting, and can help you lift more weight by training them consistently.
Also, in case you’re wondering, simply squatting and deadlifting isn’t enough to build a great core… some direct work is needed! The abs are like any other muscle – they need to get stronger to grow and develop. Therefore, get stronger over time and do your ab exercises weighted. Now, let’s take a look at some of the top lower ab exercises: the exercises that will give you those fully developed V-abs.
Exercise #1-Hanging Leg Raise
The hanging leg raise is one of the best exercises you can do for your lower abs and core stability. You can do this one by grabbing onto a pull-up bar and lifting your legs while engaging your core. You can start out by just bringing your knees to your chest, and eventually work your way up to legs being straight. Also, no cheating – don’t swing.
Exercise #2-Captain’s Chair Leg Raise
This one’s similar to the previous exercise, but you can add weight more easily with this one. Snatch a dumbbell between your feet and proceed, and remember: add weight over time.
Exercise #3-Air Bicycle
This one works more of your obliques and TVA (the “frame” for the abs), but it still hits the lower abs pretty hard. The only downside is that you can’t do it weighted unless you’re super hardcore and have ankle weights or something.
Exercise #4-Cable Crunch
Easily the best, and most important ab exercise you’ll do. The cable crunch doesn’t just work the lower abs either, it works the entire rectus abdominis and is extremely easy to add weight to. I prefer the rope attachment when doing these, but any kind of bar attachment will work as well. Get strong on these and your abs will thank you.
Exercise #5-Ab Wheel Rollout
The ab wheel rollout has stood the test of time as an awesome abdominal-builder. What most people don’t know is you can actually add weight onto this exercise – simply wear a weighted vest if you can afford it. Even unweighted this ab exercise will develop your core like crazy, creating that nice V-shape for you.
Abs are pretty darn cool. Lower abs are cooler. For a routine, do a set of a weighted ab exercise, then move directly into an unweighted exercise until failure, and then into another unweighted ab exercise until failure. Repeat 3 times at the end of your usual weight-training workout. Within no time, you’ll be sporting a well-defined core with a solid V.