How To Target Your Lower Abs

There are endless ways to work your abs, but lower abs workouts and exercises are usually the hardest to come by. The upper abs and obliques tend to get all the love from many popular exercises, while the lower abs are notoriously harder to target.

For the record, we technically don’t have separate “upper abs” and “lower abs.” When people refer to either, they’re actually talking about just different areas of the rectus abdominis, the muscle that runs vertically from your sternum to your pelvis on each side of your abdomen. It’s what you think of when you picture six-pack abs. But it is possible to primarily activate one part of the rectus abdominis say, the lower part while the upper section mostly chills out. The movement you’re doing will determine which portion of the muscle (and the rest of your core, for that matter) are involved and whether you’re getting more of a lower abs workout or upper abs workout.

Most people have a tough time building up their lower abs. While there are a variety of exercises that target your lower stomach muscles, the quality of your workouts is key. Do slow repetitions, and focus on engaging your lower abs. In order to see results, incorporate fat-burning cardio workouts in your routine. If necessary, make dietary changes to lower the amounts of fat, sugar, and simple carbs you consume. For best results, ask your doctor for advice before starting a new workout routine or modifying your diet.

Doing Reverse Crunches

Start on your back with your knees bent: Lie with your feet flat on the floor and palms facing down. For extra support, spread your arms out straight to each side.

Raise your legs and bring your knees toward your chest: Exhale as you contract your abs and lift your legs off of the ground. Raise your knees toward your chest and bring them directly over your hips.

Lift your hips and lower back off of the mat: Inhale, then slowly exhale as you raise your hips and lower spine off of the ground. Bring your knees toward your head and your hips and pelvis toward your rib cage. Keep your knees bent at 90 degree angles.

Return your hips to the mat steadily: Slowly inhale as you bring your lower spine and hips back to the mat. Lower your legs so your knees are positioned directly above your hips. Keep them bent at 90 degree angles.

Dead Bug: Lie face up with your arms extended toward the ceiling and your legs in a tabletop position (knees bent 90 degrees and stacked over your hips). This is starting position. Slowly extend your right leg out straight, while simultaneously dropping your left arm overhead. Keep both a few inches from the ground. Squeeze your butt and keep your core engaged the entire time, lower back pressed into the floor.
Bring your arm and leg back to the starting position.
Repeat on the other side, extending your left leg and your right arm.

Jackknife: Lie face up with your legs extended and arms extended overhead on the floor, keeping them close to your ears. Contract your abs to press your low back into ground. This is the starting position. Point your toes, squeeze your thighs together, engage your glutes, and simultaneously lift your legs and upper back off the ground, reaching your hands forward to meet your feet so that your body forms a V. Keep your core engaged as you slowly lower to return to starting position.

Do 3 sets of 12 reverse crunches: From the starting position (with your knees bent and directly above your hips), raise your hips and do another reverse crunch. Return to the starting position and repeat a total of 12 times. When you’ve finished the first set, steadily lower your feet back to the ground.

Trying Bicycle Crunches

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor: Hold your fingertips behind your ears, or cross your arms over your chest. When you do your crunches, make sure you’re not tugging on your head and neck.

Raise your knees so your thighs form a 90 degree angle with your hips: Keep your knees bent as you raise your legs. Your thighs should form a straight perpendicular line with the floor.

Lift your trunk, bring your right knee to your chest, and extend your left leg: Inhale, then exhale slowly as you raise your head and shoulders and move your legs in a single, simultaneous motion. Your upper torso should be off of the floor, your right knee should be tucked toward your chest, and your left leg should be extended straight.

Rotate your trunk to bring your left elbow toward your right knee: As you lift your head and shoulders, rotate your trunk to the right with a smooth, continuous motion. Don’t worry if you can’t touch your right knee with your the elbow. Just bring your elbow as close to your knee as close as you can.

Extend your right leg, bend your left knee, and rotate your trunk to the left: Inhale as you rotate back to the center. Then exhale slowly as you repeat the motion on your left side. Extend your right leg, bring your left knee to your chest, and rotate your trunk to bring your right elbow toward your left knee.

Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions per side: Do 10 repetitions per side to complete 1 set, then steadily lower your trunk and feet back to the floor. Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then do another set.

Adding Leg Lifts and Kicks

Lie flat on your back with your legs straight: You can either hold your hands at your sides or beneath your buttocks. Either way, your palms should face down. If you’re just starting out, holding your hands beneath your buttocks offers extra support.

Raise your legs slowly until they form a 90 degree angle with the floor: Keep your abs contracted so your lower back doesn’t arch. Inhale, then slowly exhale and lift your legs. Keep contracting your abs as you slowly lift your legs into a nearly vertical position. Keep your knees bent just slightly instead of locking them.

Lower your legs slowly until they almost touch the ground: Exhale slowly as you lower your legs. Hold them just above the ground for 1 to 2 seconds, inhale, then exhale as you lift them back to the vertical position.

Do 3 sets of 15 leg raises: Bring your legs to the floor when you’ve completed 1 set. Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets, and do a total of 3 sets.

Vary the exercise with flutter kicks: To vary this exercise, try making tight, quick, up-and-down flutter kicks with your legs when they’re in the down position. Lower them just above the ground, do 6 flutter kicks, then raise them to the vertical position.

Scissor Switch: Lie faceup with your legs straight and arms extended overhead. Extend your right leg up so that it’s perpendicular to the floor. Bring your hands behind your right leg, pulling it in toward your face, and curl your shoulder blades off the floor. Lift your left leg off the floor a few inches. Switch legs, lowering your right leg so that it hovers a few inches above the floor and pulling your left leg in toward you. Continue switching your legs.

Mountain Climber: Start in high plank, with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart (or wider if that’s how you usually do push-ups), shoulders stacked above your wrists, legs extended, and core engaged. Engage your core and draw your right knee to your chest. Return to starting position and immediately draw your left knee to your chest. Continue to alternate, moving quickly. Make sure to keep your core engaged and back flat throughout. If you have to slow down to maintain form, that’s fine.

Creating a Safe, Effective Workout Routine

Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine: Consult a medical professional before working out if you’re not used to physical activity or have a history of back problems. Ask for advice about starting a new workout routine and how to modify exercises to fit your needs.

Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before working out: Warming up will get your blood pumping and reduce the risk of injury. Walk briskly, jog, do jumping jacks, or another cardio activity that increases your heart rate. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes, or until you just start to break a sweat.

Exercise your abs 3 to 5 days per week: Do your abdominals routine up to 5 times a week for best results. Unlike other muscle groups, the abdominals aren’t as prone to strain, so you can exercise them more frequently. Don’t exercise if you’re sore, and be sure to maintain proper form to avoid injury.

Concentrate on working your lower abs when you exercise: Targeting the lower abs is a matter of quality, not quantity. The abdominals function as a single muscle, and you’re more likely to focus the work on your upper abs if you do lots of fast repetitions. Instead, do slow, quality reps, and concentrate on engage your lower stomach muscles.

Do glute bridge stretches after you exercise: Stretching after exercising helps reduce the risk of injury. To do a glute bridge stretch, lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and hands by your side with your palms facing down. Lift your hips, buttocks, and lower back off of the floor so your shoulders make a straight diagonal line with your knees.

Plank Hop: Start in high plank, with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart (or wider if that’s how you usually do push-ups), shoulders stacked above your wrists, legs extended, feet together, and core engaged. This is starting position.Engage your abs and squeeze your quads to keep your legs together as you jump your feet forward and to the right, bringing your knees toward your right elbow. Jump your feet back to start, and then jump your feet forward and to the left, bringing your knees toward your left elbow. Jump your feet back together. This is 1 rep.Continue alternating sides. Start with a slow pace and focus on form. You can speed up the jumps as you get more comfortable with the movement.

Crab Toe Touch: Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and together. Place your hands behind you, with your fingers facing your body. Lift your hips off the mat as you kick your right leg up straight and touch your right foot with your left hand. Lower your leg and arm back to starting position, and then repeat the movement with the other hand and leg. That’s 1 rep. Continue alternating sides.

Plank Jack: Start in a high plank with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core and glutes engaged. Jump your feet out and in (like jumping jacks). Try not to let your butt and hips bounce up and down as you jump your feet in and out.Continue for a set amount of time.

Reverse Crunch: Lie faceup with your legs in tabletop position (knees bent 90 degrees and stacked over your hips). Place your hands behind your head, elbows bent and pointing out to the sides (as pictured), or rest your arms on the floor by the sides of your body for stability. Use your abs to curl your shoulders off the floor. This is the starting position. Engage your abs and slowly curl your hips off the floor, bringing your knees toward your chest. Slowly lower your hips and legs back to starting position.

Mountain Climber Twist: Start in high plank, with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart (or wider if that’s how you usually do push-ups), shoulders stacked above your wrists, legs extended, and core engaged.Engage your core and draw your right knee to your left elbow. Return to starting position and immediately draw your left knee to your right elbow. Continue to alternate, moving quickly. Make sure to keep your core engaged and back flat throughout. If you have to slow down to maintain form, that’s fine.

Half Burpee: Start in a deep squat with your legs about shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out, chest lifted, and hands in front of your chest. This is the staring position. Reach forward to place your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders. Kick your legs straight out behind you, so that you’re in high plank. Quickly jump your legs back in and lift your chest to return to starting position.

Warrior Balance: Stand on your left foot and lift your right knee to hip height in front of your body. Bend your elbows so that your hands are by your shoulders. This is the starting position. Hinge forward at the hips and reach your arms forward as you extend your right leg behind you. Keep your standing leg slightly bent as your torso becomes parallel with the floor. Pause for a second, then reverse the movement to return to starting position. Do a set number of reps on the right leg, and then switch legs and repeat.

Core Roll Up: Lie faceup with your arms extended above your head, resting on the floor.Float your arms up so your wrists are directly over your shoulders, and begin to slowly curl your spine up and off the floor, starting with your shoulders and ending with your lower back. Curl up to a seated position, and then continue to fold your torso over your legs, keeping your core tight the entire time. Reverse the movement to roll back down to the floor, lowering from your lower back to your shoulders.

Glider Mountain Climber: Start in high plank, with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart (or wider if that’s how you usually do push-ups), shoulders stacked above your wrists, legs extended, and core engaged. Place your toes on a set of gliders or two towels. This is starting position. Engage your core and dig your right foot into the floor as you slide it in and bring your right knee to your chest. Slide your foot back to return to starting position and immediately slide your left foot in to bring your left knee to your chest. Continue to alternate, moving quickly. Make sure to keep your core engaged and back flat throughout. If you have to slow down to maintain form, that’s fine.

Body Saw: Put your toes on a set of gliders or towels and then get into a forearm plank with your forearms on the floor, elbows directly underneath your shoulders, hands facing forward so that your arms are parallel, and legs extended behind you. Tuck your tailbone and engage your core, butt, and quads. This is starting position. Slowly push with your forearms and elbows to slide the gliders or towels back toward the wall behind you. Move as far as you can without losing core engagement. Don’t let your hips sag. Slowly pull with your arms and elbows to return to the starting position.

Bicycle Crunch: Lie faceup with your legs in tabletop position (knees bent 90 degrees and stacked over your hips). Place your hands behind your head, elbows bent and pointing out to the sides. Use your abs to curl your shoulders off the floor. This is the starting position.Twist to bring your right elbow to your left knee, while simultaneously straightening your right leg. Then, twist to bring your left elbow to your right knee, simultaneously straightening your left leg. Continue alternating sides. Go at a slow and steady pace so that you can really twist and feel your abs working.

Flutter Kick: Lie faceup with your arms on the floor by your sides. If your lower back needs some extra support, you can place your hands right underneath your butt on each side. Engage your abs and lift both legs about 6 inches off the floor. Keep your lower back flat on the floor. If this is too challenging, bring your legs a little higher. Kick your feet for a set amount of time.

Glider Plank to Pike: Start in high plank, with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart (or wider if that’s how you usually do push-ups), shoulders stacked above your wrists, legs extended, and core engaged. Place your toes on a set of gliders or two towels. This is the starting position. Engage your core and dig your feet into the floor as you slide both feet in toward your hands. As you do this, your butt will pike up toward the ceiling. Try to keep your legs as straight as you can. Pause for a second at the top, and then slowly slide your feet back out to starting position.

Forearm Plank Rock: Start in a forearm plank with your forearms on the floor, elbows directly underneath your shoulders, hands facing forward so that your arms are parallel, and legs extended behind you. Tuck your tailbone and engage your core, butt, and quads. Rock your entire body forward a couple inches so your shoulders go past your elbows toward your hands. Rock back a couple inches. Make sure to keep your core, butt, and quads engaged the entire time.

Glider Plank to Pike to Knee Tuck: Start in high plank, with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart (or wider if that’s how you usually do push-ups), shoulders stacked above your wrists, legs extended, and core engaged. Place your toes on a set of gliders or two towels. This is the starting position. Engage your core and dig your feet into the floor as you slide both feet in toward your hands. As you do this, your butt will pike up toward the ceiling. Try to keep your legs as straight as you can. Pause for a second at the top, and then slowly slide your feet back out to starting position. Next, dig into the gliders, but this time bend your knees and pull them in toward your chest to do a knee tuck. Pause for a second, and then slowly slide your feet back out to starting position. Continue alternating between pikes and knee tucks.

Butterfly Sit-Up: Lie face up with the soles of your feet together, knees bent out to sides. Cross your arms across your chest (as shown) or reach them overhead. This is the starting position. Using your abs, roll your body up until you are sitting upright and your elbows touch your thighs. Slowly lower back down to starting position and continue immediately into the next rep.

Leg Lift With Hip Tip: Lie faceup with your legs extended and your arms on the floor by your sides. If your lower back needs some extra support, you can place your hands right underneath your butt on each side. This is the starting position.Slowly lift your legs up and toward your face, keeping them together and stopping when they are about vertical. At the top, tip your hips up (toward your stomach) just an inch or two. Your butt will lift off the floor a bit. Bring your hips back down to the floor. Then, slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position. Be sure to keep your back flat on the floor. If you’re having trouble with that or feel tension in your lower back, don’t lower your legs all the way to the floor.

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