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Abdominal Exercises
Double Cable Rotations For Superior Abs
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5 Sandbag Exercises For Rock Hard Abs
Trunk Twists With A Twist - Tighten Your Love Handles Now!
Bench Press Leg Raise Crunches For Lower Abs
Crunch Pulldowns For a Great Six-Pack
Two Exercises With a Twist For Rock-Hard Obliques and Explosive Core Power
Seated Les Raises - A New Approach To An Old Favorite
2 Dumbbell Swings For a "Steel Corset" Core
The Best Ab Exercise You Never Heard Of

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Build 3-Dimensional Abs In 2010
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Old School Workouts To Develop Granite Hard Abdominals
The 3 Best Abdominal Exercises that Are Not Abdominal Exercises!
2 Challenging Exercises For Powerful Rock Hard Abs
How To Get Six Pack Abs Using Neglected Cable Exercises
Attack Your Abs With These Underground Power Moves
Killer Abs At Home In 12 Minutes

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Bench Press Leg Raise Crunches For Lower Abs
By Nick Nilsson

Tighten those lower abs FAST with this extraordinary exercise. Not only does it hit the lower abs HARD, it takes almost ALL the stress off the lower
back when you're doing a leg raise movement!

So who doesn't want to tighten up their lower abs...raise your hand. Not a single hand went up...I had a feeling!

Well, I'm going to show you a leg-raise type of exercise that hits the lower abs HARD. Working the lower abs will help you tighten up any lower-belly protrusions you might have AND, if you've got fairly low bodyfat already, get those diagonal lines down your side/lower abs (technically known as the inguinal ligaments) that really catch the eye.

  Here's the best part...not only does this exercise hit the lower abs HARD, it takes practically ALL the stress off the lower back while doing it (a common problem with lying leg raises). The secret lies in the special way in which it's set up and performed. What you're basically going to be doing is holding the bar (or dumbells) in the top position of a bench press while performing leg raises! It sounds simple and, honestly, it really is!

We're going to be using that weight that you're holding in the bench press top position to counterbalance the weight of your legs while you're doing the leg raise.

I've found this to make the leg raise exercise even MORE effective for the lower abs by anchoring your upper body, letting the abs really focus on doing the leg raise exercise without the torque on the lower back.

How To Do It:

The set up is simple...all you need is a barbell or dumbells. If you're using a barbell, I recommend doing the exercise in the power rack or on a flat barbell bench press station. If you're using dumbells, you can do this exercise just lying flat on the floor (you can just set the dumbells on the floor when you're done).

If you're using the barbell and rack setup, set the safety rails in the rack to a couple of feet off the ground. Lie down on the floor and grip the bar with a medium to close grip - no need to use a wide grip. The closer grip will be easier to maintain while doing the exercise.

As for the amount of weight to use, you don't need a tremendous amount for the exercise and counterbalancing to be effective. For myself, I just use 135 lbs on the bar and that works just fine. If you're using dumbells, it will also depend on how much you can hold up in that position when you're doing the exercise. Just experiment with what feels comfortable to you and take it from there!

Hold the weight at the top of the bench press with your arms locked out. Your legs will start out straight (or knees slightly bent) and horizontal, just off the ground.

In traditional lower ab leg raises, this places tremendous pressure on the lower back. Not here! The weight of the barbell counterbalances the legs and takes the stress off the lower back. The position of your arms (90 degrees to the body) also helps keep torque off the lower back.

Now do regular leg raises from there, keeping the legs stiff and slightly bent, bringing them all the way up to vertical.

Squeeze hard at the top then lower down slowly, bringing the legs down to a point a few inches from the floor. Keeping the legs off the floor keeps the tension on the abs strongly.

In the traditional leg raise, this is where you would have the most torque and pain in the lower back. When the legs are counterbalanced with the barbell, this position doesn't put NEARLY the same torque on the lower back!

This exercise hits the extreme lower abs like you just can't do with regular leg raises because of the counterbalancing force of the barbell held above you. The best part is, it can be done with barbells or dumbells so all you need are some free weights and you're ready to go!

Bench Press Leg Raise Crunch:

Start position - legs are straight and held a few inches off the ground. Barbell is held locked out at arms-length with a medium-width grip.

Middle position - start raising the legs. Knees are slightly bent but legs are held stiff as you do the raise.

Top position - legs are vertical. This pictures demonstrates how you can bring your hips up and off the floor for maximum contraction. Bringing the hips up and off the floor isn't absolutely necessary, though. Watch the video to get the best idea of the range of motion of this exercise.

Dumbbell Bench Press Leg Raise Crunch:

Start Position

Finish Position

This picture shows the crunching variation you
can use to get an added contraction

Videos of the exercise:

In Windows Media Format

In Apple Quicktime Format

(right click on link and choose "save target as")

Common Errors:

1. Letting the feet touch

Normally, not letting the feet touch the ground in between reps is what sends all the torque onto the lower back. With the counterbalance of the weight, you don't have that problem and can really attack the lower abs. Keep your feet 6 inches off the ground as you come down.

2. Not using enough weight

Be sure you have enough weight on the bar/dumbells that you effectively counterbalance your legs. If the weight isn't enough, you won't get the full benefits of the exercise. It's something you can experiment with. Remembers, you're NOT pressing the weight, you're just holding it in a lockout position so don't be shy to use a moderately heavy weight.


1. Add a crunch to meet in the middle

To really fire the total abdominal area, you can also do a crunch (against the resistance of the barbell/dumbells) at the same time as you do the leg raise. This double contraction against resistance will really fire up the abs!

Try this movement with your feet on the floor first (knees bent 90 degrees) so you get an idea of how it's done. Basically, it's just a simple crunch movement but done while holding the barbell in the lockout position!

When you include it in the with the leg raise (done simultaneously, coming up into the crunch as you are raising your legs), it makes for TREMENDOUS tension in the entire abdominal area.


This is an excellent exercise variation to use if you're interested in working the lower abs HARD. It takes the vast majority of the stress off the lower back and allows you to really dig in and work those lower abs into the ground!


If you think this exercise was good... and if you are tired of crunches, sit ups and leg raises, then wait until you see The Best Abdominal Exercises You've Never Heard Of!

Learn the secret to not only getting a flatter stomach, but also achieving mind-blowing, steel-girder core strength, while NEVER getting bored with your workouts again! Click the link below to get all the details

About Nick Nilsson

2 Dumbbell Swiss ball TwistsNick Nilsson is Vice-President of the online personal training company BetterU, Inc. He has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been inventing new training techniques for more than 16 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding eBooks including “Metabolic Surge – Rapid Fat Loss,” “The Best Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of,” “Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!” and “The Best Abdominal Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of” all available at:

Click Here To Visit Nick Nilsson's Website And
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