Lower Ab Workout: 6 Best Lower Ab Exercises
If there’s one area that many women want to lose fat and tone up, it is the belly—more specifically, the lower abs area. However, sometimes it seems that no matter how many crunches we do, the lower belly fat never seems to budge.
Here is why: getting abdominal muscle definition isn’t as easy as performing tons of sit-ups. If you have excess belly fat, your lower abs won’t show no matter how many workouts for abs you do. The reason your stomach region is tough to flatten is because that is the very place where your body stores most of its excess fat.
So to lose the excess belly fat that’s covering your abs muscles, you are going to have to combine a healthy diet with exercise. You’ll a blend of cardio and activities that work the abs. A healthy diet will help you lose weight and keep it off. In addition to a healthy lifestyle, our advice is to add cardio.
Cardio is one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat. But, it isn’t enough on its own. Along with cardio, you’ll still need to train your lower abs. In this article, we’ve got six great exercises for your abs work.
Table of Contents
- How Do You Engage Your Lower Abs?
- What is the Best Exercise for Lower Abs?
- 6 Best Exercises for Your Lower Abs
- 1. Reverse Crunch
- 2. Cross Body Climber
- 3. Scissors Crunch
- 4. Elbow-To-Knee Reverse Crunch
- 5. Plank
- 6. Straight Leg Raise
- The Final Word on Abs
How Do You Engage Your Lower Abs?
While cardio will help burn off your belly fat, to get defined and toned lower abs, you also need to work abs on the lower part of your torso. Frequently exercises for abs hit the upper abdomen but not the lower. And that is where your belly pouch sits.
Here is how you can get the most out of your workouts: add compound exercises. This way, when you are working on abs, you are also working your hip flexors, legs, obliques, and glutes. When you engage all the adjacent muscles, that leads to higher activation of the low abdominal muscles; and to more fat burn.
What is the Best Exercise for Lower Abs?
The best exercise for lower abs should strengthen the abdominal muscles – that’s obvious. But it needs to activate your lower torso, including hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes. While we all wish to have one perfect exercise that does it all, the truth is, it takes several. By pairing a few lower abs focused multi-muscle workouts, you maximize strength building and fat burning around your lower belly.
Some of the best ones are the reverse crunch and side plank. The reverse crunch, in particular, is an excellent exercise for your lower abs. By crunching from the lower abs, you hit the bottom region of your stomach muscles. Side planks are wonderful for hitting your obliques and hip flexors. Combining these plus the other suggestions below will help you to work your entire core, and make the most of your lower abs workouts.
6 Best Exercises for Your Lower Abs
Perform each of these exercises for your lower abs for the prescribed number of repetitions and sets. Rest 10 seconds in between before moving to the next. Complete the entire circuit one to three times.
Perform each exercise for the prescribed number of repetitions and sets. Rest 10 seconds in between before moving to the next. Complete the entire circuit 1 to 3 times.
1. Reverse Crunch
The reverse crunch is a core and abs strengthening exercise you can do on the floor. By bringing up your legs instead of your upper torso, you can target the lower abs below your belly button. Here’s another reason to love the reverse crunch. This exercise is performed in the boat pose, otherwise known as a hollow hold. When you hold and compress your abs for this crunch, you will also engage your transverse abdominis, which is a muscle deep in your abdomen.
It’s an exercise that’s underrated and underutilized but comes with massive benefits.
How to Do a Reverse Crunch:
- Lie faceup to the floor. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat. Place your arms next to your body with your hands by your hips.
- With your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, lift your feet off the floor to the point where your legs and feet are parallel to the floor. If you do yoga or pilates, this is similar to the tabletop position.
- Once in that position, tighten your core and lift your tailbone and butt off the ground. Your shoulder blades should remain in contact with the floor. Don’t be tempted to use momentum; instead, engage your abs to complete the movement. When you raise your legs, imagine reaching to the ceiling with your toes.
- At the top, pause for a second then slowly lower your legs. Bring your feet back to your original position and repeat. Repeat to complete 12-15 reps.
2. Cross Body Climber
Since losing stomach fat requires fat loss and massive calorie burning, this anaerobic-based workout for abs should be a must on your list.
The cross body climber is a core-strengthening move that engages your entire abdominal muscles and more. Because it’s a fast-tempo, high-intensity move, you get to burn far more calories than other resistance exercises. It’s also a great exercise to build stability and balance.
Compared to standard mountain climbers, the cross body climber adds the cross element, which increases your core engagement. By reaching over to the other side with your knee on each rep, you intensely target your obliques.
Want to reduce your love handles? Add this cross version of the mountain climber. It goes beyond hitting the rectus abdominis and targets your side abs.
How to Do a Cross Body Climber:
- Get into a high plank position with your arms completely straight and hands shoulder-width apart. Keep your legs extended fully. Form a straight line from your shoulders to the ankles. Don’t drop your spine or let your hips sag.
- Tighten your core and lift your right foot off the floor. Bring your right knee toward your chest and left shoulder while maintaining your balance on your left leg, then lower your leg back. That is one rep.
- Now switch legs and repeat on the other side. Continue alternating for 12-15 reps per side. Keep your body straight and your hips low at all times.
Do a few reps slowly at first. As you master the move, pick up your speed. Once you complete 12-15 reps on each side, rest, and do 1-2 more sets.
Cross Body Climbers can be quite a challenge. In just a minute or so, you’ll start to feel it in your thighs, lower abs, and even your glutes.
3. Scissors Crunch
The scissor crunch is a dynamic crunch exercise that strengthens your back and targets your lower abs and core. Like the classic crunch, it’s a floor exercise, but the similarity stops there. Instead of crunching up your upper body, the scissor crunch has you lift your legs and move them in scissor-like movements.
The primary target muscle is rectus abdominis, but this is also an excellent workout for the low parts of your abdominals. Plus, scissor crunches work your obliques and leg muscles.
How To Do a Scissors Crunch:
- Lie on your back on the floor with your feet together. Keep your legs straight and fully extended. Instead of placing your hands behind your head, put them on your sides for more support. Don’t curve your back and keep it on the floor.
- While keeping your legs extended, lift one leg towards the ceiling. Keeping your leg in the air, lift your right foot slightly of the floor.
- Keep your core tight and slightly lift your upper torso off the floor as you perform a crunch. Now you should have one leg in the air and the other slightly off the floor.
- Start moving your legs by lowering one leg and bringing up the other leg. Each time your lower your leg, that is one rep. Alternate your right leg and left legs for 12 to 14 repetitions. Do 2-3 sets total.
Be sure to keep your back flat and hands on the floor for support. If you have a hard surface, use a yoga mat for cushion and more comfort.
4. Elbow-To-Knee Reverse Crunch
Many of the abs exercises on this list are dynamic and anaerobic -driven, but no abs workout is more vigorous than this elbow-to-knee reverse crunch.
The elbow-to-knee crunch is a core strengthening move that really hits the bottom two abs. With the twist motions, you also engage your obliques and the rest of your trunk. It’s similar to the cross body climber in that you bring your knee across your body, except you are on your back as in other crunch exercises.
How to Do an Elbow-to-Knees Reverse Crunch:
- Lie flat on your back. Bend your knees with your feet on the floor. Support your head with hands. Engage your core muscles as you lift both your shoulders and legs off the floor.
- In one motion, bring your knee on your left toward your right elbow. Rotate your body so that your right elbow can meet your knee and touch it, hold and pause for a second.
- Slowly bring your knee and elbow down. That is one rep. Repeat the same motion on the other side. Complete 12-15 reps per side. Do four to five sets in total.
As you criss-cross your right and left knee and left and right arm, be sure to engage your trunk for the rotational moves. You will feel this one in your abs in no time!
The plank is an isometric exercise that can double as a lower abs workout. This core conditioning exercise challenges all of your abs, including the bottom two, where your stomach pouch sits.
Contrary to the other moves for abs listed here, this exercise works your midsection while you hold a static position. It’s a workout where your abs have to be engaged throughout the movement to keep your posture straight for a set time. Because you are bracing your core, planks are also safer for those with back pain. This exercise puts less pressure on your back and prevents you from straining muscles.
How to Do the Plank Position:
- Start by lying facedown with your forearms on the floor. Keep your elbows shoulder-width apart and position your feet hip-width apart with your legs fully extended. Your palms can be opened or closed. Take a second to practice some deep breathing before you start. Once you begin, you’ll be in the plank position for up to one minute, and it is easy to hold your breath. You don’t want to do that. Breathe as naturally as you can.
- As you raise your pelvis, brace your abs, core, and glutes. In the plank position, you should feel tension throughout your core. Your body should be a level line from your heels to your shoulders. Try not to drop your lower back or allow your hips to sag. Keep your gaze neutral, so you don’t strain your neck. Hold your plank position for as long as you can. Aim 30 to 60 seconds per set.
Once you can no longer hold your back straight or your hips start to sag, slowly return and rest.
6. Straight Leg Raise
A straight leg raise is one of the most intense exercises for your abs in this list. This exercise works your entire core and the bottom part of your abs. A straight leg raise is similar to the reverse crunch, but you perform this one with your legs straight.
How to Do a Straight Leg Raise:
- Position yourself on your back with your spine, pressing against the floor. Extend your legs and place your hands underneath your back, just above your hips.
- Tighten your core and abs. Squeeze your glutes and, in one motion, lift both legs off the ground and bring them up 90 degrees so that your feet face the ceiling.
- Hold at the top for a second, then return your legs back to the starting position slowly and repeat. Each time you return to the start position that is one rep. If you have any pain in your lower back, don’t do this move as it can put a lot of pressure on your back. Repeat for 10-12 reps and complete 2-3 sets, your abs will be on fire!
The Final Word on Abs
In your weekly exercise regimen, include cardio and these six exercises for your lower abs. You should soon see improvements in your lower abs, core strength, and overall fitness. The amount of muscle definition of your lower abs, however, will depend on your body fat percentage. The faster you bring down your body fat percentage, the quicker you will start to see those abs.
This is why it is key to practice healthy eating and focus on your nutrition. A healthy diet void of refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks will give you results in reducing your belly fat and your waist size. As a benefit, losing weight around your midsection areas is good for your overall health.
Beginners should talk to their healthcare professional for recommendations before starting any new exercise program. Good luck!