It’s hard to get fitness enthusiasts to agree on most things, but almost all of us have a shared loathing for abdominal or lower belly fat.
It seems like no matter how hard you try and how successful you might be in most endeavors, your lower abs remain resistant to transformation.
Now, no routine of lower abs exercises is going to magically flatten your belly or give you a six-pack, but by targeting the entire group of abdominal muscles you can strengthen the midsection, especially the lower abs.
Here are some of the best exercises that you should consider adding to your exercise routine if you’re serious about working those lower abs.
1. Plank Hop
As the name suggests, you start in the plank position with your palms planted firmly on the floor, keeping them shoulder-width apart.
Your lower body and legs should be completely extended, with the core engaged, so that your body forms a straight line.
With the core muscles activated, tighten your quads or thigh muscles so as to keep your legs firmly together as you then jump in place.
The jumping movement should pull your feet forward towards your torso and to the right so that your knees are drawn to the right elbow.
You then release your legs, jumping back to the starting position and repeat to now favor the left instead of the right side.
That’s your first plank hop rep and you can keep at it, alternating between right and left sides.
2. Lying Leg Raise
Start by lying flat on your back, arms by your sides, with your hands tucked beneath your butt and your legs extended straight out.
Tighten your glutes and use your abdominal muscles to slowly raise your legs off the floor to form a 90-degree angle. Then slowly lower them back to the floor.
This exercise can be a bit of a strain if you have back problems, so exercise caution and stop if you feel any discomfort or pain.
3. Mountain Climber
The mountain climber is one of the simplest, yet most effective exercises for the lower abs. Once again, you start in the plank pose.
Activate your core muscles and draw your right leg up, bending at the knee just below the chest.
Return to your starting posture and switch to draw the left knee up to
your chest instead.
Keep up these alternating movements, picking up the pace as you settle into the exercise.
Just make sure to keep the core engaged and upper body completely straight throughout.
4. Slider Knee Tuck
Start in the plank position, but with your feet resting on sliders or hand towels.
Activate your core and pull your legs feet forward, so that your feet simply slide along the floor, while the knees bend and come right up to your chest.
Try to keep your weight balanced and not to lean forward too much. Then slide your feet back out and repeat, maintaining a steady comfortable pace.
5. Scissor Switch
Lie flat on your back with your legs and arms completely outstretched, arms going over your head.
Raise your right leg up without bending at the knee. It should be perpendicular to the floor, but don’t force it beyond the range of motion that is comfortable to you.
As you raise your leg, bring your hands behind it, pulling the leg towards your face. At the same time, curl your shoulders in slightly, bringing them just off the floor.
As your right leg is raised, you can also lift the left leg a few inches off the floor.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, switch legs and keep alternating between the two to produce the scissor motion.
6. Reverse Crunch
Lie flat on your back with your legs raised in a tabletop position – your thighs should be perpendicular to the floor, while the knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
At the same time, your hands should be cupping the back of your head, elbows bent and pointed out.
As with simple crunches, curl the shoulders off the floor while tightening the ab muscles. As you engage those core muscles, you also need to slowly curl the hips away from the floor, pulling the knees back towards your face.
Slowly lower the hips and shoulders back to the floor to return to your starting position.
7. Butterfly Sit-Up
Lie on your back with your legs almost flat against the floor, but bent at the knees such that they point outwards while the feet remain together, soles planted against each other. At the same time, your arms should be above head.
Engage your core abdominal muscles to raise your upper body, without moving the legs at all.
This should bring you to an upward sitting position so that your hand makes contact with feet or floor.
Lower your body back to the ground slowly to return to the starting position.
See also: How To Do Butterfly Crunches
Although most of these lower abs exercises are simple enough for individuals of any fitness level, you should be cautious and avoid pushing yourself too hard.
Some poses and exercises may be ill-advised if you suffer from a back injury or sciatica pain as they can increase stress on the lower back.