You've hit the gym, and you've been doing crunches, leg lifts, and other exercises as part of your lower ab workout. Nevertheless, some people have lower-ab regions that are softer or puffier than others — even if they're doing hundreds of lower ab exercises like the crunch per day. What's the best way to go about getting rid of a stomach pooch?
Men and women are constantly searching for lower abs exercises that will help delineate their core area. Dieting, lowering carb intake, and occasionally doing reverse crunch reps won't solve all of your problems. While there is no way to magically make your abs pop, consistent lower ab exercises can help you achieve an overall flatter stomach.
These are just a few of the best exercises for building a healthy and strong core.
#1 Frog Presses
These lower abs workouts target all of your core muscles as well as your inner and outer thighs. It's a great move for toning up your entire body — not just one area.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and turned out, feet flexed, and heels pressed together. Inhale and lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Then curl up over your ribs, looking at your legs straight on. Finally, reach outside of your hips, palms facing down. As you exhale, press out through your heels and extend your legs at a 45-degree angle, squeezing the backs of your knees together.
Lower your legs to the floor as you press out, or extend your legs (optional), and lift and lower them instead. Be sure to keep your lower back pressed into the floor at all times. Focus on using your abs to slowly lower and lift your legs.
#2 Hands Back Crunches
Hands back crunches are a variation on the traditional crunch that emphasize the lower abs, rather than the upper. As you perform this exercise, focus on using only your lower body to lift your torso and shoulders off the ground — and make sure to use only your hands for stability.
Support your upper body with your hands behind your head. It is important to keep a flat and wide back, to allow for maximum range of motion. Then, bring both legs and chest up towards each other in a crunch, meeting in the middle. The goal is to engage your total body by not focusing on single muscle groups.
#3 Twister Pistons
This exercise is going to get you ripped — not only in your abs, but also in your shoulders and upper body. You'll get some passive work done as you brace against the ground, and you'll burn fat throughout your entire body.
Begin in a standard plank position. Hop your feet forward, bringing your knees closer to the body. Then twist your torso to the right and pull up with your abs. Perform between 10 and 12 reps for three sets.
#4 The Hundred
The Hundred is a classic Pilates exercise that challenges your deep inner ab muscles in new ways. Working your core helps you improve posture, balance, and the alignment of other muscles throughout the body.
Lie face up with your lower back flat to the floor, legs straight, and flex your feet up toward the ceiling. One at a time, float your legs up so that your knees come in toward your body and your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. While holding your chest and neck off the ground, begin to pump your arms up and down as you breathe in unison with your arms' movement.
Synchronize your breathing with your arm movements and slowly count to 100. Once you reach 100, slowly bring your legs and knees into your chest and breathe out to release the tension in your chest as you reset to the starting position. Repeat this 2 or 3 times if possible, working up to more repetitions.
#5 Dead Bugs
Lie face-up with your arms and legs extended. Lift your right leg up, and simultaneously raise your left arm. Continue to keep both a few inches from the ground while also squeezing your glutes and keeping your lower back flat against the floor.
Return your leg and arm back to the starting position and repeat the exercise on the other side.
The jackknife is a type of abdominal exercise that strengthens the upper and lower abdominal muscles. Although it's called "jackknife" because it resembles the same motion used to open a jackknife or pocket knife, this exercise also has been known as a "V-up". The jackknife targets the transversus abdominis muscle, which is located deep within your abdomen and wraps around your sides.
The jackknife is a simple exercise that can be modified in a variety of ways to deliver different results for your abs. One very effective way to perform the jackknife is to lay flat on your back with your arms extended overhead and your feet raised slightly off the floor. Slowly bring your straight arms forward toward your hips while lifting your torso off the floor.
#7 Mountain Climbers
The mountain climber, also known as knee-to-chest mountain climbers, is a full-body exercise that can be done anywhere. They’re efficient, simple, and effective, and make use of all the body’s major muscle groups. This includes the biceps, quads, hamstrings, abdominals, and pectorals — but it also targets the deltoids, glutes, calves, and forearms.
Your mountain climber starting position is a high plank position. If you lie face up, you're doing it wrong!
Place your hands with palms flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart (or wider if that's how you usually do push-ups), shoulders off the floor, wrists underneath your shoulders, legs extended, feet flat, parallel to the floor, and core engaged.
From the starting position, engage your core and bend your knees (right knee first) toward your chest, making sure to keep your hips even, lift your hips off the floor and parallel to the floor.
Return to the starting position slowly and immediately draw your left knee to your chest, again keeping hips even and hips pointed forward.
#8 Scissor Switches
The scissors exercise is a core move that focuses on working and targeting your transverse abdominals. It's an ab-focused move that involves lying on your lower back. You lift your legs together off of the ground then criss-cross one over the other in a scissors-like motion without letting them drop.
This repeated movement will strengthen the rectus abdominis (also known as the "six pack"), along with helping you burn calories.
#9 Plank Hops
In high plank, your palms should be flat on the floor and shoulders stacked above your wrists. Engage your abs, squeeze your quads, and keep your left and right leg together. Jog your feet forward and to the right, bringing your knees (bent) toward your right elbow — like you're running in place.
Make a small hop towards the left, bringing your right and left knee to your left elbow. Alternate sides for the duration of the exercise. Begin with a slow pace and focus on good form. Once you get more comfortable with the movement, you can speed up your reps.
#10 Crab Toe Touches
To do crab toe touches, sit on the floor with your feet straight out in front of you and hands behind you. While doing a one-armed plank, touch your right hand to your left toes, then return to the elevated tabletop position and switch sides. Touch your left hand to your right toes, then return back to the starting tabletop position and switch sides. Perform as many reps as you can during your workout.
#11 Plank Jacks
Plank position jacks are a core-strengthening exercise that can also help burn fat and strengthen muscles. When you execute this exercise, you will exercise both your core and the upper and lower parts of your body. If you want to see a decrease in body fat, try adding plank jacks to your routine three times a week, along with other low-impact exercises.
To do this move, your starting position will be a high plank position with your arms straight and in line with your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels, with your core and glutes engaged. Then jump your legs out in front of your body and back in behind you (like jumping jacks) — but make sure that your butt and hips are stationary. Repeat for 1 minute.
#12 Toe Taps
Lie face up on the floor with arms pressed firmly into the ground and chin resting on the chest. Inhale, then exhale as you gently raise one leg off the floor so you bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Inhale, then exhale to draw it back down. Repeat this exercise with the other leg.
Lever your shoulder blades off the floor. To make things more challenging, try throwing your hands back behind your head and shoulders, lifting up the chest, and pulling in and down through the abdominals. This variation works the upper abs.
#13 Bear Crawls
Get down on all fours and walk forward or backward in that position, like a baby (or a bear cub!). If you have limited space, step forward or back with your hands and feet.
Practice this move every day, but to target that deep core muscle, the transverse abdominis, make sure that you draw your navel in and maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise.
#14 Bicycle Crunches
To do the bicycle crunches exercise, you lie on your back, put your feet in the air, and move them like you are pedaling an imaginary bicycle.
Lie on your back, with your feet a few inches off the floor and toes pointed forward, and your head and shoulder blades lifted off the ground. Place your hands behind your head, elbows wide. Bring your right knee in toward your chest, as you lift your left shoulder blade higher off the ground and toward your knee. As you do this, make sure to breathe in deeply through your nose for three counts.
#15 Abdominal Rollouts
The ab rollout targets the core muscles but also the chest and shoulder muscles. If you are at a gym, the easiest way to do this exercise is by setting up a barbell or EZ bar, but you can also do it on a stability ball. The ab rollout starts in a high plank position.
Standing with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, kneel down with a stability ball in front of you. You can use a mat to kneel on for extra cushioning. Make sure your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your body in a straight line with your back flat.
Place your body in a straight line, extending your arms forward and placing your hands on the ball.
As you roll the ball with your hands, allow your arms and legs to straighten out in front of you. Keep your gaze looking straight ahead. Extend as far as you can. Your chest will touch the ball – it's when you feel this touch that you'll know you've gone far enough.
#16 Dragon Poles
The dragon pole is an advanced core exercise that requires particular strength in your abs and low back, while also demonstrating a high level of body control, flexibility, and balance. With practice, dedication and consistency, you can reach the level of self-mastery necessary to be able to do this challenging exercise.
The dragon pole is a tough exercise to master, but it's one of the best core exercises around. One of the main reasons I like dragon poles is because they work the entire torso from head to toe.
With this advanced move, you'll strengthen your entire torso in as little time as possible. It's hard to find one exercise that can engage so many muscles at one time, but the dragon pole accomplishes just that.
Your arms should be at least shoulder-width apart, and the barbell should be above your head. You can do this on a bench, or with your hands next to your head and gripping the sides of the bench, but either way, it's important to keep the barbell stable.
Slowly lower your legs in a controlled motion, without touching the bench, until you're hovering just over the bench. If you don't have the strength yet—your hips cave in, your body drops towards the floor, or you arch your back—you should not continue lowering your body. Your first goal is to hover just over the bench.
#17 Knee & Leg Raises
If you're looking for an incredibly effective exercise to build six-pack abs, look no further than the leg raise. Won't let them see you sweat, but definitely feel it. The leg raise works your lower abs and improves hip flexibility—a boon for anyone who spends a lot of time sitting down.
Start by lying on the floor or a mat. Your arms should be at your sides as you lay flat, and your legs should be stretched out next to each other. Then raise those legs until they are pointing at the ceiling, or as close as you can get them while keeping them straight. Don't forget to keep your toes pointed.
Then slowly lower them back down, easing your legs into that stretch. Return with the same pace you used as you pushed your legs toward the ceiling. Lower them to just above the ground, and raise again as many times as you can until you reach your limit. Do three sets of 10 reps, or as many as you feel comfortable with at one time.
What Muscles Constitute The Lower Abs?
Though the term "lower abs" is incorrectly applied to the rectus abdominis, the abdominal wall's true purpose is to connect all of the abdominal muscles together from your pelvis to your rib cage. Specifically, it connects the rectus abdominis and all of the abdominal muscles except for the obliques.
Still, women and men are constantly searching for exercises that will help eliminate a loose or puffy stomach area.
The better you can engage your abs, the more muscles you'll be able to activate. Your entire core will benefit from these targeted moves, and you'll strengthen them even more by focusing on your muscles and how they're moving.
To get a set of incredible abs, you need to have low body fat. If you’re carrying a layer of fat over your lower abs, you’ll never be able to see them. These exercises will help you build the muscles in your lower abdominals — when you have low enough body fat, they’ll give you an incredible six-pack.
To see your abdominal muscles, you need to have a very low body fat percentage. We're talking 12% or less. If you want to see your lower abs, there are two things you should do: either start doing more exercises that will burn fat and build muscle, or cut back your caloric intake.