If you’re like most of us, when you think about why you’re working out, most of us want to melt off that annoying layer of tummy fat. And if you feel like you’re getting nowhere with your workouts, you’re definitely not alone! Lower abs are very difficult to strengthen because that is where the body stores most of its extra fat. And for women, the hormone estrogen naturally wants to keep the fat in this area – no wonder! But it’s important to focus on building a strong stomach and core because it’s our center of balance and a strong core will reduce back pain. So let’s take a look at some of the best exercises for lower abs to get you started!
Tips before you get started:
Don’t just go through the motions – concentrate on your stomach as you’re doing these moves for the total benefit. If you’re really concentrating on this part of the body, you will do the moves properly and really feel the burn. Do these moves any time of the day, but definitely not right after a meal. A good time to do them is after your cardio routine and rotate them every other day for maximum benefit to your muscles. For most of these, you’ll just need a towel and some space. Let’s go!
Lay flat on your back, with legs flat on the floor. Slowly lift your legs straight up in the air at a 90-degree angle. Initiate each rep slowly to de-emphasize your hips and use the muscles in the abs. At the top, lift your pelvis upward and hold for a second. Do 15-20 reps. For more intensity, place a small medicine ball in between your knees, being careful not to drop the ball. You can also do this move with a bar on a tilted platform like the picture above for added intensity.
The plank is a classic move for lower abs, so you can do any variation. Start in a plank position(pictured above) and pull your right knee into your chest and hold for one second. Then, move the right knee back and do the same on the left side, maintaining the height of your hips. Do 10-15 reps on each side. In this move, your abdominal wall is contracted on one side by holding the knee in tight and the other side is more active, so both sides are working. This move is more about the quality of your movement than the quantity, so start out with less if that’s what it takes for you to do them correctly.
Lie faceup, hands under your butt, knees bent, with your feet lifted into table top position. Slowly lower your flexed feet forward until your heels barely touch the ground. Squeeze your abdominals to help raise your feet back up to table top. Repeat 15-20 times.
The crunch is one of the most classic moves for targeting lower abs. To start, lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Bend your knees but keep your feet on the floor. Slowly lift your upper body up to meet your knees, being careful to use your abdominal muscles, and not your arms or neck to pull yourself up. Do 10-15 reps. You can hold a small medicine ball for added intensity. Another twist on this move is to rotate your body to the left or right as you’re coming up(see picture above). This targets the muscles on the side of your stomach, too!
This is a “flattened” version of the crunch, and a little more difficult. To start, lie faceup, with legs extended, knees together, feet flexed, arms overhead. Take a big inhale. As you exhale, lift arms up and forward, and use your abs to slowly roll up to a sitting position. Squeeze your abs again and slowly lower down to your original starting position, being careful not to lift your legs and feet off of the floor.
Whatever moves you choose, and no matter how many you do, you’ll definitely start noticing a difference as you work this into your exercise routine. So get a towel and get going!