This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Looking for a excellent way to flatten and strengthen the lower abdominal muscles? The flat bench leg lifts hits the lower abdominals directly for an excellent isolated workout.
Lie back on a flat bench and hold on to the top of it behind your head with hands. Lift your legs up until they are perpendicular to your body and the bench, and then bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your lower back is flat on the bench (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, keep your knees bent and lower your legs down so that your feet move toward the floor. Move slowly and focus on engaging your lower abs and pulling your belly button in hard to your spine throughout the movement. Your lower back should never leave the bench (see Photo 2).
- When you have gone down as far as you can, reverse the motion and use your lower abs to lift your legs back up to starting position (see Photo 3).
Once you have built up lower abdominal strength, try unbending your knees and doing the leg lifts with your legs straight. This increases the difficulty significantly (see Photo 4).
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.