Hip flexors are notorious for ruining abdominal exercise. They are strong and easy to use as a cheat.
Hip flexors are easier to use than the abs because they stretch through a greater range of motion (and most people have very tight ones). The trick to learning about flexing your abs is that they squeeze like a fist short range sort of like your calves.
Keep in mind when exercising the abs they only really flex your spine about 30 degrees so don’t put hands behind your head and fold like a pretzel when training them.
You can see our AB isolation machine in our Ottawa personal training studio in the video. It locks out your hip flexors almost entirely. Also we demonstrate a simple at home move to help create the same effect by raising your legs up and keeping your feet touching each other at the toe end.
Avoid trying to swing up from the floor just give a hard crunch to the abs. Think of someone poking your belly and you pulling your abs in and squeezing to protect you. Stay tuned for part 3!
Be well, be strong,
Andrew and Tierney