Hardly anything in the circles of figure-conscious people is as much a symbol of attractiveness, fitness and vitality as the brutally defined six-pack. As a result, it is not particularly surprising that the training of numerous athletes also concentrates the stomach and is therefore time-consuming. However, it is also an open secret that the washboard abs only appears clearly when the individual body fat percentage is below ten percent. But what even experienced athletes often neglect, is the training of the lower abdominal muscles, whereby the longed-for six-pack often not enough comes into its own. We will show you with which exercises you bring your lower abdominal muscles in top form.

Many athletes train their abdominal muscles too one-sided

The reason why the abdominal muscles do not necessarily progress optically even with excessive training is simply the fact that most recreational athletes train them too one-sidedly, putting their training focus primarily on the straight abdominal muscle (M. rectus abdominis), the upper one and, as it were voluminous share responsible for the characteristic shape of the six-pack. The lower part, however, is less bulky, which is why it can only be brought to light through targeted training of this area and the lower abdominal muscles. In addition, the genetic predisposition for the shape and expression of the muscle continues to play a major role.

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Negative sit-ups and forearm support

Since the abdominal muscles consist to a large extent of red muscle fibers, this can be assigned to the holding muscles, which however also implies that the abdominal muscles should be trained with both classical exercises and isometric holding exercises in order to optimally stimulate the existing muscle fibers to grow. The undisputed classic among the abdominal exercises is undoubtedly the sit-up, but its focus is on the upper part of the straight abdominal muscle. In order to put the training focus on the lower area, it is necessary that you perform the exercise on a negative bench, so that the muscle fibers of the entire straight abdominal muscle and the underlying deep muscles are already under tension. To make the execution a bit more challenging, it is advisable to place a weight plate on the chest as additional weight. In order for the red muscle fibers to receive sufficient training stimulus, you hold the movement with each repetition for 3-5 seconds as soon as your upper body is at 45 angles to the floor. Another isometric holding exercise that optimizes muscle recruitment of the lower abdominal muscles is the forearm support. In the course of this exercise, you will hold the starting position of the push-up as long as you can. However, you should make sure that your body from the lower leg to the neck forms a straight line to create the maximum muscle tension.

Leg lifting is the key to pronounced abdominal muscles

A basic requirement for optimal recruitment of the lower abdominal muscles is the maximization of muscle tension or the optimization of the period over which the muscle fibers are under the influence of a suprathreshold growth stimulus. Consequently, exercises such as leg lifting while lying down and hanging leg raises are very well suited to provoke the described condition. When leg lifting while lying down, it is important that you fix your upper body stable on a bench, so that it does not slip during the execution. During the exercise, it is especially important to keep the knee joint straight during the entire movement and to lift the legs slowly and without momentum. Overall, the muscle feel in the execution is much more important than the pure repetition number, so that a single passage can last quite 4-6 seconds. A slightly more sophisticated variant of the leg raiser is the hanging leg raiser, which is best done on a chin-up bar, which requires a good deal of grip. To get to the starting position, grab the rod in the lower grip and pull yourself up to it. Afterwards, slowly lift your legs up as far as possible and release them slowly. For execution, you can also use special forearm loops that keep you in the starting position so you can concentrate fully on training your abdominal muscles.


In order to get closer to the ideal of a hard-bitten abdominal belly, in the overall impression also the lower abdominal muscles leave a harmonious impression, the execution of explicit exercises with a focus on the lower abdominal muscles is necessary. However, you should not despair if the muscle does not develop according to your expectation, because just the expression of the lower abdominal muscles is particularly dependent on your genetics.

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