There’s no doubt that we all want to have great abs. The question is: How do you get them? Are you stumped? Don’t worry. Why? We give you all the best lower ab exercises you need for success.
With all the great abdominal exercises to pick from, sometimes it can be tough to find one that really targets the lower abs. Some of the lifting exercises such as crunches and sit-ups are great but don’t really give us the know how to get rid of lower belly fat.
We’ve compiled a list of the best exercises that will for sure hit your lower abs and get you feeling the burn and on your way to great perfect abs in no time. Some of these exercises require no equipment. They are great for those of you who would like to do them at home. Of course, some of these exercises do require a bit of equipment.
There’s something for everyone so pick your poison and let’s get those lower abs in shape!
Targeting Your Lower Abs
When you’re good and strong in the upper abdominal area, it is easy to continue to place the focus there. But this is how to build abs and focus on that lower half!
What you have to do is train yourself to move the focus downward. Targeting your lower abs in each exercise takes a bit of focus, but it’s absolutely possible.
As you are performing certain lower abs exercises, think about using the strength from those muscles to perform each rep. Take it nice and slow. Breathe and focus. Abs work is not about how fast you can go. In fact, abs exercises should always be done slow and controlled. Give yourself time to engage these muscles thoroughly as you are performing each exercise.
You Should Work On Quality, Not Quantity
With abdominal exercises, it’s very common for people to focus on the number of reps rather than the time it takes to do each one. People tend to work towards 100 sit-ups or 50 crunches, when it is actually better to just get in some quality reps.
As mentioned, abdominal exercises should be slow and controlled. Be sure you are engaging the targeted muscle and keeping it under tension in both the eccentric and concentric phase of the movement. The longer you keep these muscles under tension, the better. For the best results, each rep should last around seven seconds. Those seven seconds include the lifting and lowering phase.
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Best Lower Ab Exercises, Let’s Get To The Good Part!
The following exercises are some of the best abs exercises to target the lower abs. Keep in mind that the rectus abdominis is one long muscle. It includes the upper and lower abs. Pretty much every abs exercise we do will engage both upper and lower portions, as it is impossible to isolate either half individually. Even though you may feel a bigger burn in one area over the other, remember they are part of the same muscle.
The Russian twist is an excellent way to hit your transverse abdominal exercises, especially if you bring both feet off the floor by a few inches.
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and recline your body slightly until you feel your lower abs engage. Raise both feet off the floor about two to three inches. Hold your arms in front of you and parallel to the floor. Twist your torso to the right, following your hands with your eyes. Twist in the opposite direction and repeat for a number of reps. Be sure to keep breathing and if you do not feel engagement, recline your body a little further.
Up The Intensity: You can easily make this exercise more intense by holding a weight plate, kettlebell or heavy dumbbell in your hands as you are twisting. Another way to intensify this exercise is to peddle your feet as you are twisting, just like in a bicycle crunch.
Leg raises are a good way to hit your lower abs. Beware: You’ll need some lower back strength to perform these.
Lie on the floor and place your palms down beside you. You can even tuck them under your lower back for more support. With your legs extended straight, slowly raise your feet towards the ceiling until they are about 12 inches or so off the floor. Lower your legs back down, but do not touch the floor. Let them hover and repeat for a number of reps. Your head should stay on the floor the entire time.
Up The Intensity: To raise the intensity level of this exercise, you can place a dumbbell, standing upright, between your feet and lift the weight off the floor each time. You can also try to strap on ankle weights to give the intensity a boost during this exercise.
These are great for getting a burn going on in the lower abs. They also engage the side obliques.
Lie on your back, bend your knees and bring your legs up to where your calves are parallel to the floor. Place your hands behind your head and bring your right shoulder blade off the floor as you bring your left knee towards your chest. The point is to push your armpit towards your opposite knee and keep alternating sides in a smooth motion. Your legs will look as if you are peddling a bike slowly.
Up The Intensity: Instead of keeping your hands behind your head, you can hold a weight on your chest as you perform each rep.
Cable crunches are done on your basic cable machine. Choose a weight that is comfortable for you and let’s get going.
Face the machine, grab the cable handle with both hands and drop down to your knees. Hold the cable just behind your neck at the base. Bend your body forward until your elbow meets your knees and the top of your head is almost on the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat for a number of reps
Up The Intensity: As with a lot of machine exercises, the way to boost intensity is to increase the amount of weight you are using. Take it slow and use the amount of weight that will allow you to perform each rep with proper form.
Swimmers often use these to build strength and endurance. They are very effective and simple to do.
Lie flat on your back and place your arms out to your sides. With straight legs, lift your heels off the floor by about six inches. Quickly kick your right foot upward, then the left and keep alternating for a period of time. Be sure that your lower back is flat on the floor as you are performing this exercise.
Up The Intensity: If you have ankle weights available you can always strap those on and make this exercise a bit harder. Also, try raising your shoulder blades off the floor during this move to feel more of a burn.
Hanging Leg Raises
These are a good core-engaging move. They will definitely get you feeling your lower abs in no time. If you do not have the strongest grip strength yet, you may want to perform these with some straps so you can focus more on the exercise and not on your grip.
Grab the bar with your palms facing forward and shoulder-width apart. Engage your core and keep your legs straight as you raise them upward. Your legs should become parallel to the floor, hold for a second, then slowly lower them back down to the starting position and repeat.
Up The Intensity: As with many lower abs exercises that include the raising of the legs, you can add on the ankle weights with this one as well.
Stability Ball Pike
There are hundreds of exercises that can be done on and with a stability ball. This one is definitely one of my favorites. Try it out and see how good it burns!
Start in the push-up position with your toes dug into the top of the ball. Press into the ball with your feet and raise your hips towards the ceiling. Be sure to keep your legs straight the entire time. Slowly come back to the starting position and repeat for a number of reps.
Up The Intensity: To make this exercise a little bit harder, try it from your forearms. This will place more focus on the entire frontal abs.
The reverse crunch can be done just about anywhere and is sure to get your lower abs doing their fair share of the work.
Lie on your back and relax your head on the floor and your palms down beside you. Bring your knees up towards your chest and kick your feet up towards the ceiling. Slowly lower your feet back down towards the floor with your knees still bent. Do not rest the feet on the floor between reps. Just bring them one to two inches off the floor each time.
Up The Intensity: To make this exercise a little more intense, simply press your palms into the floor as you are bringing your knees upward. This will cause you to deeply engage your abs. Of course, you can always use the trusty ankle weights during this exercise too.
The V-up or, V-sit, is a full body movement that brings your arms into the mix as well. It’s a great way to target the entire rectus abdominis, and you will definitely feel it in the lower region of your v line abs.
To begin, lie flat on the floor with your legs extended straight and your arms overhead. Raise your legs up towards the ceiling and, at the same time, raise your upper body with your arms straight overhead until your body resembles a v cut abs. Slowly lower everything back down and repeat for a number of reps.
Up The Intensity: Try this move with a medicine ball in your hands. This will add a good amount of resistance to the exercise and get your lower abs feeling on fire.
Stability Ball Pass
This looks like a lot of fun, but, in reality, it can get pretty hard after just a few reps. This is a super effective way to lock on to those lower abs as well.
Lie flat on the floor and place the stability ball above your head and in between your hands. Raise it up over your face and, at the same time, bring your legs straight up. Hand the ball off to your feet and hold it in between them and slowly lower your arms and legs down to the floor. Repeat the move with the ball between your feet this time and grab it with your hands, then lower everything back down and repeat for a number of reps.
This is it! These are some of the best lower abs moves you can do to get your abs in the greatest shape and to add strength. Just be sure your nutrition is on track, you are staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest.
You can add any of these exercises into your regular routine or pick three to five of them and put them together for a killer lower abs routine on its own. For instance, you can do V-sits, reverse crunches, flutter kicks, and Russian twists. Just do three sets of 15 reps each and trust me, after that, your abs will be on fire!
It’s a good thing to keep mixing up your routine and adding in new exercises here and there. Keep challenging yourself and stay on track with your workouts for the best results.
By Heather Neff, CPT
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