Q: Okay, I have some crazy abs – everyone says so. My abs are like ledges on a cliff face. That is, in the upper region. My lower abs are, in a word, nonexistent. Do you have recommendations for exercises I can do to thicken my lower abdominal wall?
A: Remember that abs are a crapshoot – you either have great shape underneath it all or you don’t. In your case, your upper abs are very well developed – both from resistance and workouts, and from genetics. But your lower abs may truly lack genetics for thickness. Some bodybuilders have abs that stop above their navel and it’s smooth as a baby beneath that. So, let’s think positively and imagine you CAN build your lower abs. Squatting occasionally without a belt helps this, and is one reason people lack abs below the waist. We’ve become too accustomed to helping aids during heavy workouts. The best thing you can do is hanging leg raises, provided you keep good form and reduce swinging. You can also use an “ab wheel” – the rolling apparatus that you get into a pushup position and then roll toward your lower abs as your body arcs at the hips. You can also do an exercise called “climbers” – which is hands down in a push up position, bridging the body as if you were climbing a flat wall. Start with one leg forward and alternate in a climbing fashion, kicking one leg back as the other comes forward.