You may have already chiseled away most of your belly flab, but you’re abs still aren’t “popping” the way you would like. Perhaps you’ve been concentrating too much on traditional sit-ups and crunches, while ignoring these great lower ab exercises.
The key is to use specific movements that target the two main components of your “lower abs”:
- Lower portion of the Rectus Abdominus (the main “abs muscle” that you see in the mirror)
- Transverse Abdominus which runs horizontally under the Rectus Abdominus and wrap around your back, effectively acting as a girdle for support and stabilization (without the need for cross-dressing)
Top 5 Lower Ab Exercises
Perform these exercises in order, as they are arranged to get progressively harder and more advanced, with each building on the one before it:
- Finding and Priming the Transverse Abdominus – The first step is to actually locate this all-important muscle, so you will be able to perform the more advanced lower ab exercises safely and effectively.
- Sit up straight in a chair, or get down on your hands and knees (whichever is more comfortable or convenient).
- Now, pull your belly button in towards your spine. Many people do this instinctively when bracing for a punch to the gut.
- Hold your belly button in as tight as possible towards your spine for about 10 seconds, then repeat 5-10 times. (Remember to breathe normally throughout, and resist the urge to hold your breath.)
- Once you can easily hold this position for 1-2 minutes straight, you are ready to move on to the next lower ab exercise.
- Final Preparation – Just one more priming exercise, then you’ll be ready to go all “G.I. Jane (or Joe)” on ’em!
- Lie flat on your back on the floor. Because of the natural curvature in your lower spine, you should have a small gap between your lower back and the floor.
- Activate your abs to close that space, bringing your lower back flat against the floor.
- Again, work your way up over the next few days (or weeks, depending on your fitness level) until you can hold that position for about 2 minutes
- These exercises may seem relatively easy for some, but they are essential in making sure you are ready for the more advanced moves.
- Leg Lifts – This is a great follow-up to the previous preparation exercise, because you begin the movement in the same position as above.
- Lie flat on your back, and use your abdominal muscles to keep your lower back flat against the floor, closing the gap that would exist naturally.
- With both legs straight, raise one slowly off the floor, while keeping the other flat. Raise it as high as you can until you begin to feel a stretch
- Now, still keeping your inactive leg flat against the floor, slowly lower your leg towards the floor, stopping right before you touch (never let your active leg/foot touch the floor until the set is done).
- Repeat this motion 8-12 times for 2-3 sets as your lower abs become stronger, and, obviously, repeat with the opposite leg each time.
- If you ever feel your lower back start to arch, it means your lower abs are not strong enough yet to keep up with the demand, so lower your number of reps and/or range of motion. It is very important to slowly work your way up to avoid any major injuries.
- Once you’ve mastered the one-leg variation of this lower ab exercise (which could take months), you can do the same exercise raising and lowering both legs simultaneously for added difficulty.
- The Plank – At first glance, this exercise may seem like a piece of cake. After all, there is no movement involved, and all you have to do is hold a certain position for a short period of time. But, let’s see how you feel after a couple minutes of the Plank!
- Hanging Leg Raises – If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You’ve won access to one of the most difficult and advanced ab exercises there is: Hanging Leg Raises. Prepare to feel the burn!
Master these lower ab exercises, along with a healthy diet, and I promise you will be sporting those eye-popping, cover-model abs you’ve always wanted!
How long can you hold the plank, and how many hanging leg raises can you do?