If there’s one area we want to lose fat and tone up is the lower belly—more specifically the lower abs.
But it seems no matter how many lower abdominal crunches we do, the lower belly fat never seems to budge.
Sadly, getting those lower abdominal muscle definitions to show isn’t as easy as performing tons of lower ab exercises.
In fact, unless you lose excess belly fat, your lower abs won’t show no matter how many lower ab workouts you do.
That’s because this region of our abs is very difficult to flatten and tone. It is where your body stores most of its excess fat.
So how do you get rid of it?
To see those lower abs, you need to lose the excess belly fat that’s covering them.
To do this, you need to increase fat loss by doing cardio. Research shows that cardio ‘s one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat. Along with cardio, you’ll still need to train your lower abdominal muscles.
How Do You Engage Lower Abs?
While cardio will help strip the fat off your belly fat, to get defined and toned lower abs, you need to effectively engage your lower ab muscles.
Too often, abs exercises hit the upper abdomen but not the lower, where your belly pouch sits.
Adding exercises that not only hit the front abs but also the hip flexors, legs, core, and even the obliques is not only essential but also critical.
Engaging all the adjacent muscles leads to higher activation of the low abdominal muscles and also leads to more fat burn.
So are exactly the best lower abs exercises?
What Is the Best Lower Ab Exercise?
The best lower ab exercise should strengthen those lower abdominal muscles – no doubt.
In addition, it needs to activate your legs, hip flexors, and the core.
While we all wish to have one perfect exercise that does it all, the truth is, it takes several. By pairing a few of that lower-ab focused multi-muscle workouts, you maximize the fat burning around your lower belly.
Some of the best ones out there are reverse crunch and side plank.
The reverse crunch, in particular, is an excellent exercise for your low abdomen. By crunching from the lower body, you inevitably hit the bottom region of your stomach muscles.
You also need to include oblique and core exercises in your routine.
This is how you engage the lower abs.
These exercises for abs and cardio will help melt off your lower stomach and belly fat.
If you are ready, let’s get started with these five lower ab exercises.
6 Best Exercises for Your Lower Abs
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 abdominal strengthening exercise you can do on the floor. By bringing up the legs instead of the upper body, you can target the abdominal muscles below your belly button.
It’s one exercise that’s really underrated and underutilized but comes with massive benefits.
- Lie faceup to the floor. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat. Place your arms next to your body and hands by the hips.
- With your knees bent, 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, contract your abdominal muscles to lift your tailbone and butt off the ground. Your shoulder blades should remain in contact with the floor. Don’t get tempted to use the momentum. Instead, engage the abdominals to bring the force. When you lift your legs, imagine reaching the ceiling with your toes.
- At the top, pause for a second and return to the starting position. That’s one rep and 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 mountain climbers, this crossbody climber adds the cross element that increases your trunk engagement. By reaching over to the other side with your knee on each rep, you get to intensely target your obliques. This is unique to the cross-body climber.
Want to melt off your love handles?
Be sure to add this cross version of the mountain climber to go beyond hitting the rectus abdominis and target the side abs.
- Get down 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 lower back and prevent your hips sag.
- Draw your ab muscles in and lift your right foot off the floor. Bring your right knee toward your left shoulder while maintaining the balance on the left leg.
- Return to the start position and switch legs. Now repeat with your left leg, supporting the form and movement on the right leg. Continue alternating for 12-15 reps per side. keep your body straight and 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.
In just a minute or so, you’ll start to feel it in your thighs, abs, and even your glutes.
3. Scissors Crunch
Scissor crunch is a dynamic crunch exercise that strengthens the lower back and targets your abs and core. Like the classic crunch, it’s a floor exercise but 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 a great workout for the low parts of your abdominals. It also secondarily works your obliques and leg muscles.
- 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, place them on your sides for more support. Don’t curve your back and keep it on the floor.
- While keeping your legs extended, lift your left leg up towards the ceiling. Keeping your leg in the air, lift your right foot slightly of the floor.
- Slightly lift up your upper torso off the floor as you perform a crunch and keep it there. In this starting position, you should have one leg in the air and the other slightly off the floor.
- Start moving your legs by lowering your left leg and bringing up the right leg. Alternate the left leg and right leg 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 ab exercises on this list are dynamic and anaerobic -driven, but no abs workout is more vigorous than this elbow-to-knee reverse crunch.
This elbow-to-knee crunch is a core strengthening move that really hits the bottom two ab muscles. With twist motions, you also engage your obliques and the rest of your trunk. It’s similar to the cross body climber in a way that you bring your knee cross-body, except you are on your back as in other crunch exercises.
- Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Support your head with hands. Contract your ab muscles as you lift both your shoulders and legs off the floor.
- In one motion, bring your right knee toward your left elbow. Rotate your body so that your left elbow can meet the right knee and touch it. At the position, hold and pause for a second.
- Slowly bring down your right knee and left elbow to return to the starting position. Repeat the same motion on with your left knee and right elbow. Complete 12-15 reps per side. Do 2-3 sets total.
As you criss-cross your right and left knee and left and right arm, be sure to engage the trunk for the rotational moves.
The plank is an isometric exercise that can double as a lower abs workout. This core conditioning exercise would also challenge your entire abdominals including the bottom two, where your stomach pouch sits.
Contrary to the other ab moves listed here, this exercise works the midsection including the core muscles by holding a plank position. It’s one workout abs have to be engaged throughout the movement to keep the posture intact for a set time.
It’s also safer for those with back pain. It puts less pressure on your back and prevents you from pulling your muscles.
- Start in the plank position with your forearms on the floor. Keep your elbows shoulder-width apart and position your feet back with legs fully extended. Your palms can be opened or closed. Take a second to practice some breathing before you start as once started, you’ll be held in the plank position for up to a minute.
- Before you begin, take a second to brace your abs, core, and glutes to feel the tension there. On a count of one, bring your body up to the full plank position. It should form a straight line from your heels to the shoulders, kept at your hip height. Try not to drop your lower back and hold the position for as long as you can. Aim 30 to 60 seconds per set.
Once you can no longer hold the position such as not being able to maintain your back or hips starting to sag. Slowly return your body to the starting position and rest.
6. Straight Leg Raise
Straight leg raise is one of the most intense ab exercises that work the entire core and including the low part of the abdominals.
It’s similar to the reverse crunch but you perform this with legs straight.
- Lie down on your back with your back pressing against the floor. Extend your legs and keep your hands underneath the low end of your back.
- Tighten your core and abdominals. In one motion, lift up your legs off the ground and bring them up all the way where your feet are facing the ceiling.
- Hold at the top for a second, and slowly return to the starting position. If you have any pain in your lower back, don’t do this move as it can put too much pressure on your back. Repeat for 10-12 reps and complete 2-3 sets.
The Final Word
You should be able to see improvements in your lower abdominal and core strength when keeping up with the routine.
The results or muscle definitions in lower abs will depend on your body fat percentage. The faster you bring down your body fat percentage, the faster and more you can start to see those abdominal muscles.
In your weekly exercise regimen, make sure to include both cardio and these 6 lower ab exercises.
It’s also important to practice healthy eating with a focus on nutrition. A healthy diet void of refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks is known to have a big impact in reducing your belly fat and your waist size.
Talk to your healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program. Good luck!