Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Upper and Lower Abs

Should you train lower abs differently from upper abs?  There have been numerous studies that tried to answer the same questions for years.  Most studies agree that every abdominal exercise excites the muscle fibers of the lower and upper abs equally.  But a few at least one study supports the notion of adding reverse curls to your ab exercise routine.

A study by Clark et al (2003) tested the upper abs and lower abs from 8 healthy subjects.  Using electrode placement on upper and lower abs, the results showed no significant difference between upper abs and lower abs on six different ab exercises.

On the other hand, a study by Willet et al (2001) reported small differences between lower abs and upper ab activity in their study.  For example, the curl-up and reverse curl both produced similar results for the upper rectus abdominis; but, the reverse curl seemed to excite the lower rectus abdominis more than any other exercise.

In summary, most experts agree that all ab exercises will strengthening your abdominal wall and minimize low back pain.  But if you want to play it safe, doing both curl-ups and reverse curls will ensure your entire ab wall is strong and mobile.  Now showing off that abdominal wall is a different story.  Those six pack abs will only begin to show with a good diet and cardio plan as well.

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