08 July, 2011
The pyramidalis is a little-known muscle in the lower abdomen. Not everyone even has this muscle, and the sides of this muscle are sometimes uneven in the people who do have them. The pyramidalis gets its name from its triangular shape. Your pyramidalis muscle is on top of the rectus abdominus, or six-pack muscle, and contracts when performing some exercises that target the RA.
Ab Machine Exercise
The pyramidalis activates during exercises that work the rectus abdominus, particularly the lower part of the rectus abdominus. When using an ab machine to target this muscle, use one that allows you to crunch by moving your upper and lower body for the best results. Some ab machines only work as you bend your upper body forward to flex the spine, but the seated hip raise crunch machine lets you raise your knees toward your shoulders too. To use this machine, sit with your back against the pad, grip the handles near your head and secure the front of your ankles against the foot rests. Simultaneously raise your knees and bend forward to do a crunch.
Pullup Bar Exercise
A pullup bar is another piece of gym equipment useful for targeting the pyramidalis and the lower abs. Hanging leg raises work your abs through flexing the lower part of your spine upward as you hang from the bar. To perform a basic hanging leg raise, hang from the bar with your palms facing forward, and then bend your knees and raise them toward the ceiling as you tighten your abs. You can bring your knees to your waist to do the basic hanging leg raise, or bring the knees to chest or even chin level depending on your strength. It is more important to do the exercise without using momentum by swinging than it is to get your knees higher.
Stability Ball Exercise
Using a stability ball allows you to flex your lower spine in a face-down position instead of hanging from a bar. You can use a stability ball at home or borrow one at a gym. A stability ball does not require you to install it like a pullup bar for your home so is a better option if you rent one. An example of a lower ab targeting exercise with a stability ball is the abdominal pull-ins. To perform this exercise, position your body parallel to the floor with your shins on the ball, your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor and your arms straight. Then, bend your knees to roll the ball forward.
The simplest way to strengthen your pyramidalis and lower rectus abdominus is to exercise on the floor without equipment. You can always hold a medicine ball or dumbbell to make these exercises more challenging, but for simplicity and the least strain on your abs, perform exercises on the floor. An example is the lying reverse abdominal crunches. To begin, lie face up with your hands under your lower back and your legs straight. Next, lift your head as you bend your knees toward your chest and lift your buttocks an inch off the floor.
- Anatomical Science International; Architecture and Fiber Type of the Pyramidalis Muscle; Richard M. Lovering and Larry D. Anderson
- ExRx.net: Lever Seated Hip Raise Crunch
- ShapeFit: Abs Exercises: Ab Training and Workouts for Six-Pack Abs
- ShapeFit: Abs Exercises: Hanging Knees to Head Raises for Six-Pack Abs
- ShapeFit: Abs Exercises: Exercise Ball Abdominal Pull Ins for Six-Pack Abs
- dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images