Constantly feel your lower back or hip flexors during ab moves like leg lowers?
Do you just push through figuring your lower back is weak?
Not only is this NOT helping you get the desired ab strengthening results you’re trying to work toward but it may also result in lower back and even hip aches and pains.
Here are 3 common mistakes I see people making with leg lower ab exercises and how to avoid them!
Mistake #1: Putting Your Hands Behind Your Lower Back
Stop cheating yourself out of really earning this move.
Putting your hands behind your lower back is a bandaid, a quick fix.
While yes, it can help you avoid lower back pain in the moment, it isn’t teaching you to actually use your abs correctly to protect your back and stabilize.
It allows you to do a move you haven’t truly earned.
Instead you need to regress to progress and modify the exercise to learn how to build up and engage your abs correctly.
Because you aren’t feeling your lower back because it is weak. You’re feeling your lower back because your abs aren’t yet strong enough, or you don’t have the mind-body connection yet, to keep them braced throughout.
Instead of pushing through this variation, if you want to get the full ab strengthening benefits, modify the move doing a single leg lower or even bent knee tuck.
It is always better to modify and get the correct muscles working than to push through a harder variation and compensate.
Modifying doesn’t mean you’re making it easier. It means you’re making it the level you need to work the muscles you want to target best!
You may even find you have to go back to that basic pelvic tilt movement and learn how to engage those abs and glutes correctly to stabilize and brace before adding movement!
Mistake #2: Swinging Your Legs
Leg lowers do work your hip flexors as they are a hip flexion movement.
And your abs are working to stabilize and protect your back.
But if to rush through this movement you start to swing your legs, you’re not going to get any of the benefit this move can have for your abs.
And you’re probably going to start to feel your lower back engaging as your hip flexors fatigue especially.
So stop swinging your legs and rushing through just to get the workout done.
Instead slow down the movement.
Focus on engaging your GLUTES even as you lower your legs a few inches from the ground. And even think about pulling your legs back up using your abs so you get that brace going as you lift.
Slow the movement down and focus on that control and what muscles you actually feel working.
Get more out of every second of work by being intentional!
Mistake #3: Not Focusing On Bracing Your Abs
Too often we just replicate a movement pattern without really being conscious of the muscles we feel working until we are in pain.
We let our lower back take over during this move and just keep pushing through.
We want to get the workout over with or we figure our lower back is weak.
But what we feel working during a move is what is going to “benefit” so to speak from the exercise.
So if you want to work your abs but you only feel your lower back?
Your abs aren’t getting the benefit of this move you’d like.
That’s why it is key you regress to progress and learn how to use that posterior pelvic tilt to your advantage.
While yes our spine has a natural curve, we want to know how to engage our glutes and abs using that posterior pelvic tilt.
Before you even start any level of the leg lowers move, lie on your back on the ground and think about engaging those lower abs to tuck your hips slightly toward your ribs. Even feel your glutes engage with the tuck.
From here you can do a bent knee march, double knee tuck, single leg lift or those killer double leg lowers.
But you should only advance as long as you can keep those abs braced.
If you lose that brace, you need to regress or shorten the interval of work, cutting back on time or reps.
Trying to do more without the correct muscles working is only going to backfire.
As much as we all want to do those fun and challenging exercise variations, at times we need to regress to progress and take our ego out of things.
Learn how to engage those abs correctly and build up to earn that harder move so you can get more out of every rep of that amazing leg lower ab exercise!
For an amazing Lower Ab Workout, give this burner a try! It’s a great way to finish off your workouts!