Q: You’ve mentioned two-legged lowering in some of your programs. Is that the same as leg raises?
A: On the outside it may look the same, but on the
inside it’s a whole different story! Believe it or not, starting from
the top or bottom can alter the training effect. If you perform a leg
raise and start from the bottom, you’ll encourage hip flexor activity
over abdominal activity, and this is generally at the expense of your
spine (lower back).
Try this instead: Pull your knees in toward your chest and then
extend your legs upward. At this point, your lower back will flatten out
against the ground. Keep your spine pressed down and lower your legs
under control. Your spine will dictate how far you go. Do not allow your
lower back to arch upward. This will ensure that your (lower)
abdominals, not your hip flexors, are doing most of the work.
Furthermore, if the exercise is being performed off the ground (as
opposed to a decline bench), males should keep their arms to their sides
while females should interlock their fingers behind their head. The
reason for this is that females carry more weight below their waist than
males do so by extending the lever arm in this manner, it will help
counter the extra weight.
Here’s something else to consider: Looking down during an exercise
can cause your back to round. That may not be ideal during a squat, but
it may actually help with abdominal work. Placing your chin on your
chest will help flatten your lower back against the ground and reduce
hip flexor activity while you work your lower abdominals.