So I’ve showed you now two excellent exercises for the abdominal region–plank pose and abdominal crunches–and hopefully you’ve been doing them, getting sore…but getting stronger too. I would now love to share a phenomenal exercise for the lower abdominals (abs). Although the rectus abdominus is one muscle, we often discuss it in terms of being split into upper and lower sections. So for our purposes here, we’ll consider the lower abs as the abdominals from the belt line down to the pubic bone.

As a sports chiropractor in iron-pumping West Hollywood, I see lots of body builders with low back pain. Now many of them seem perplexed that being in such “great shape” they should have low back pain, but sometimes things we do regularly that don’t seem to be a problem while doing them, actually end up creating problems for us after the fact. Tight hip flexors due to poor low abdominal exercises is one such thing.

When the hip flexors (and I’m primarily talking about the psoas major here) get tight, they can cause low back pain. I find that a popular exercise for the lower abs–leg lifts–is a primary offender. These hip flexor killers stress the psoas major muscle, which can be felt almost immediately as pain and soreness in the anterior, or front, pelvic/groin region.

I do not recommend leg lifts for most people, as more people than not have tight or hypertonic psoas muscles. However, saying that, some people do have weak hip flexors and can use strengthening, but again, it’s not the norm. If uncertain, please visit your local West Hollywood sports chiropractor  for an evaluation.

Watch the video below to learn what I consider the best lower abs exercises. I will also demonstrate the popular leg lift exercises, and explain exactly how they stress the hip flexors, and what you can do to modify even these to get a great lower ab workout.

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