Even fitness freaks find it difficult to burn the fat off their lower abs, but would it be fun if it weren’t difficult?
Although carving those abs takes a lot more than the old school crunches, with a little time, dedication and consistency, it could be all yours.
Before moving on to the workouts, let’s attempt to understand what these lower abdominal muscles exactly are.
We will debunk myths related to lower abs and lower abs exercises. There are several things that you need to know before jumping over to the exercises.
It will cover up all aspects of this part of the body and will also furnish you with the best exercises and techniques for bringing the best out of it.
Lower Abs Guide
Lower abs are the lower half of the Rectus Abdominis that ends at the sternum. One of the most common misconceptions amongst people is that lower abs are a separate muscle set.
The truth is, there are no separate “upper abs” or “lower abs”, it is one continuous muscle, called the Rectus Abdominis. It plays a crucial role in maintaining the posture of the body and also aids the flexing of the lumbar spine.
Consisting of 33 individual bones, the spine largely depends upon this muscle for most of its flex movements. While a certain portion of the spine flexes, a part of the muscle moves while the other is stationary.
Simply put, one end of the muscle remains stable to allow the movement of the other end.
Depending on the workout you do, the contraction of Rectus Abdominis varies. Take, for instance, the good old crunches, wherein the lower body is kept stable and the upper part of the sheath muscle contracts with a force that is higher in magnitude as compared to the lower part.
On the other hand, reverse crunches involve bringing the knees together to the chest.
Here, the lower portion of the muscle contracts more as compared to the upper half. So the muscle as a whole may contract differently in certain areas, depending upon the exercise. Also, it must be noted that hip flexor muscles play the pivotal role when you perform ab exercises.
That said, there have been studies done using EMG to prove that some abdominal exercises are found to be more stimulating for “lower abs” (¹).
Before moving to lower abs exercise, I want to tell you the most important reason the lower abs take longer to build as compared to upper abs.
You might have noticed that your upper abs look great even if you do less exercise. While in-spite of struggling for lower abs, there is a slight difference which is not even visible.
If you are struggling to build lower abs and searching nook and cranny for the solution, I will show you the best way to reduce your fat level and build a stronger and leaner lower abdominal muscle.
Why is It Tough to Get Lower Abs?
It’s found that fat deposition starts from the abdomen. But most of the fat is stored in the lower abdomen which is the biggest reason for the delay in building lower abs.
So, if you don’t follow a healthy diet and eat excess calories, they will accumulate in the lower abdominal muscle.
Thus, it is important to eat right while building abs. Or it will delay the results.
Apart from fat, water weight is also responsible for the delay. Water weight is not a major issue, as you can lose it quickly just by minimizing your salt intake. But you cannot completely neglect it.
What Are Best Ways To Build Lower Abs Of Your Dream?
This question is quite tricky.
The answer depends on your present body weight.
As per everyone’s body structure, everyone has hardcore six pack muscle below the abdomen. But, due to today’s lifestyle, our physical activity has reduced. Due to this excess calories are stored in the body.
So if you want to gain hard core abs then you need to lose fat and tone your core muscles.
If you don’t lose excess fat then doing 100s of crunches is no good. It will do nothing more than demoralizing you. For this, you need to add fat burning cardio exercises.(2, 3) So, I will discuss both to help you reach your goal faster.
Also, stress is another major reason that ruins our life.
You might be surprised to hear this, but yes it’s another huge issue we usually ignore.
“Fat and Sugar act as the best mood enhancers. So we get addicted to it. “
Don’t let stress affect your dreams. Fight for it with meditation, or by other hobbies or techniques that refresh your mood.
What Is Best Intensity or Speed To Do Abs Exercise?
When you consider abs exercises, you need to go slow.(6)
It has been found that doing crunches slowly increases contraction. So don’t be in a hurry to complete the exercise. Work smarter as well as harder and make each exercise count. You may do cardio exercises at high intensity.
Lower Abs Exercise For Beginner Level Workout
Lower Abs Exercise #1: Reverse Crunches
- With knees bent, lie flat on your back and keep the legs in tabletop position. You can also lie on a bench, making sure you hold onto a barbell or a pole for a firm grip.
- Contract lower abs as much as you can, without putting too much stress on the upper portion of the Rectus Abdominis. Curl your knees towards your chest; you may also lift your hips off the floor.
- Pause in this final position, feeling the contraction in your lower abs.
- Return to the initial position, ensuring that your feet do not touch the ground again. 12-20 repetitions are recommended. However, it’s good to stretch your body till can endure.
For good results, aim to do 3 sets of 12 reps. Once you attain the strength to do 20-25 repetitions easily, use light dumbbells and stretch till can endure.
Remember these three tips to ensure your form is correct, or else you will just be working out to increase injuries:
- Never Arch your lower back, make sure it is pushed against the floor
- Keep your head down. Many people lift their heads up, only exerting undue pressure on the neck.
- Do not come down too far.
A thumb rule: Keep your thighs at a right angle to the floor.
Lower Abs Exercise #2: Bench Ab V situps
- Sit on a bench, positioning your body at right angles to the bench length.
- With a firm grip on the back of the bench and legs fully extended, parallel to the floor, pull your legs to the chest.
- At the same time, do an upper ab crunch so that a “V” position is formed with your leg muscles and the stomach.
- Repeat this cycle at least 12-20 times. You can hold a light-weight dumbbell or a plate once you perfect the form of this workout.
Note: If you have severe lower back issues, you are better off doing this exercise rather than the V sit-ups. A
lso, make sure you hold your neck in a stable position because there is a lot of scope for neck injury here.
Lower Abs Exercise #3: Scissor kicks
- Lie down on your back on the floor or a gym mat. Extend your arms to the sides, keeping them stable during the entire period.
- Bend your knees slightly and lift your feet just above the floor.
- Form a 45-degree angle with your left leg keeping the other leg on the floor. Switch the movement to the right leg then. Repeat for 10-20 times.
Lower Abs Exercise #4: Decline crunch
- Lie on a decline bench, securing your legs at the end of the bench. Keep your hands behind your head, with elbows tucked in close together.
- Push against this angle, feeling the pressure on your lower abs. Make sure your lower back is still on the bench while you are at the final position.
- Feel the burn for a second or two and slowly come back again to the initial position. Repeat for 12-20 times. You can hold plate weights once you get comfortable with the form and build strength.
Note: Do not keep your hands locked with each other in the initial position. That just exerts undue pressure on the neck, causing injuries. Also, if you are using plate weights, holding them comfortably by hugging them against your chest is a good idea.
Lower Abs Exercise #5: Captain’s Chair
- Use the dip machine that is primarily used for chest and triceps muscles. Keep your forearms on the pads of the machine.
- With a straight body, Contract your lower abdominals strongly by pulling your legs towards the chest height.
- Feel the contraction and pause for a while.
- Come back to the initial position. Repeat the process till failure for best results.
Note: Keep the upper body stable. Many people swing up and down, thus not reaping full benefits of this simple but effective exercise.
Lower Abs Exercise For Intermediate / Moderate Level
Lower Abs Exercise #6: Hanging Leg Raises
- Using a pull-up bar, hang with your arms, shoulder width apart.
- Keeping the back straight, lift your legs until they are parallel to the floor.
- Feel the contraction in your lower abs, and stay in this position for some time.
- Do 10-20 repetitions; if you can do more reps, add some dumbbell or plate weights for more resistance to the muscle sheath.
- With time, provided you do this exercise on a regular basis, you can try raising the height till the chest and then till the bar.
Most beginners find it difficult to perform this exercise with perfect form. Substituting them with hanging knee raises in such cases is a good idea.
Lower Abs Exercise #7: Bicycle Crunch
- Sit on a flat bench or a gym mat.
- Lift the feet and locate your comfortable, balanced position.
- Straighten the legs and place your arms on the sides.
- With one knee bent and the other straight, reach for the bent knee with the opposite elbow. Repeat the same for the other hand and the leg.
- Make sure you bring the knee towards the chest level.
This exercise even works your obliques, and the best part about it is, like most other lower ab exercises, you do not need any fancy gym equipment.
Lower Abs Exercise #8: Swiss Ball Leg Lifts
- Lie on the ground or a gym bench with a Swiss ball between your ankles.
- Crunch your upper abdominals and raise your feet straight up, perpendicular to the floor or the bench.
- Feel the intensity on your core for 5 seconds, and come back to the initial position.
- In the final position, pause for 5 seconds too. Do at least 12 to 20 repetitions.
Maintaining the balance is crucial in this exercise. Doing this workout with consistent and perfect form increases strength and endurance of the lower abdominal sheath.
Lower Abs Exercise #9: Bottoms Up
The name does not hint of alcohol; this is a seriously grilling, compound lower ab workout.
- Lie on the ground mat, supported by your back. Keep your legs straight and arms by your side. It is the initial position.
- Raise your knees to the chest level by flexing your hip muscles. After this movement, extend your feet directly perpendicular to the ground.
- Raise your hips from the mat. To perform the movement, tuck the knees towards your chest by flexing the hips and knees. Pause in this contracted position for a while and come back to the initial position.
- Repeat for at least 12-20 times.
Lower Abs Exercise #10: Butt ups
- Start in a plank position. Bend your arms at right angles.
- Keep your back slightly arched and raise your hips slowly in the upper direction. Squeeze your abdominals and reach the final high bridge position.
- Slowly return to the initial position, perform at least 10-20 repetitions to feel the burn in the muscles.
Lower Abs Exercise #11: Smith machine hip raises
- You need a smith machine and a bar with some weights for this exercise.
- Get the bar loaded with a proper weight. Lie down flat on the bench, gently keeping your feet against the bar.
- You would be better off with a spot with this exercise. Unlock the bar, Position a bench in the rack and load the bar to an appropriate weight.
- Raise your hips off the floor, pushing the bar as far as you can push comfortably. Hold a firm grip on the sides of the machine for support. Pause at the highest point and feel the contraction.
Lower Abs Exercise #12: Toe Touchers
- To start, lie flat on the floor on your back and keep your arms on the sides.
- Touch your feet together and raise them in the air, until they are perpendicular to the floor. Keep a small bend at the knees.
- Lift your arms, extending them at 45 degrees to the floor.
- Reach for your toes by slowly lifting the torso. Come back to the initial position, repeating the process for 10-20 times.
Lower Abs Exercise #13: Ab pulse ups
It is one of the best lower abs exercises.
- Lie flat on the bench and slowly lift your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor.
- Hold the legs in a stable position and start doing rapid crunches. The key is to perform the reps as fast as you can, in a controlled form.
- To increase the intensity, hold lightweight dumbbells between your ankles.
Lower Abs Exercise For Advanced Level
Lower Abs Exercise #14: Sustained Ab V holds
It is a excellent strengthening exercise for your core.
- Lie parallel to the floor or a bench.
- With hands on both sides, lift your legs at the same time so that your torso makes an angle of 45 degrees with the floor. We call this the “V” position.
- Make sure your legs are straight and you feel the pressure on your core.
- Feel the contraction on the lower abs and hold this position as long as you can. (maximum 2 minutes is recommended)
Note: Do not lift your neck.
Lower Abs Exercise #15: V sit ups
- Lie on the floor. It is the initial position of the exercise.
- Raise your legs gradually and make an approximate V position. Hold this position till you are perfectly balanced.
- Stretch your arms and reach for your feet. Feel the contraction on the abdominals.
- The final position: arms and feet are again on the floor. Repeat till failure for best results.
This exercise by no means is easy to do. You will have to ensure that this is done with the right form, or else there are chances of causing injury to your lower back.
Beginners can get started by keeping the arms on the sides, just raising their torso. With time, this exercise can be performed with close-to-perfect form.
Advanced trainers can use medicine balls for more difficulty and resistance.
Lower Abs Exercise #16: Exercise Ball Spike
- Place your legs firmly on a Swiss ball.
- Extend your body fully, going into a pushup position, forming a bridge. Put your body weight on your shoulders.
- Do not bend your knees or arch your back. Just put pressure on the ball with your toes and gently pull the ball towards your body with your lower abs. Lift your hips in the air: this is the final position, folding your body in half.
- Get back to the initial pushup position. Repeat as recommended: 12 to 20.
Lower Abs Exercise #17: Barbell Roll-out
- Assume a pushup position as the starting point, the only difference being: you will hang on to the ends of a barbell with light
weight plates on each side.
- Keep an arch on your back and lift your glutes towards your body, rolling the barbell in the same direction. Keep the lower abs tight and strong, maintaining the posture of your back at a steady level. Ensure that you do not move your arms much; keep them perpendicular to the floor. You clearly do not want to work out your shoulder muscles more than your abdominals.
- Go back to the starting position, and repeat till failure if possible.
Note: This is a very difficult exercise, and we recommend that you get used to lowering ab exercises before you attempt this one. It is for people with a strong lower back.
Lower Abs Exercise #18: Hanging Pike
- Hang your arms from a pull-up bar shoulder width apart. Wrist wraps may be used for support to hold on to the bar.
- Bend your knees perpendicular to the floor and bring your lower body upward till you can touch the bar with your shins. Straighten legs as much as you can.
- Lower your feet slowly, feeling the burn in the lower ab muscles.
Tip: avoid swinging, make sure your grip is tight.
***Guide To Core Fat Burning Exercise***
To build lower abs, you need something extra that can stimulate the burning of fat stored under the abs muscle.
Above mentioned exercises are the best ones for developing strong muscles, but to lose fat quickly, you need to do cardio exercises that accelerate fat burning.
To get the quick result, we need fat burning cardio exercises.
Right Intensity + Right combination of exercise = Quick result.
The above mentioned exercises form the best combination of exercises along with some add-on activities like swimming, cycling or running.
Swimming, cycling, skipping and running are cardio exercises that increase calorie consumption and also promote AfterBurn effect when done properly. Here are some top cardio exercises that help you build lower abs.
Since this is about lower abs, I suggest you to include these cardio exercises when you are working on your upper abs and oblique abs. These exercises don’t completely focus on lower abs.
How Much Time You Need To Dedicate For Cardio Exercise?
To lose weight and increase the afterburn effect, you don’t need to go for longer intervals. Shorter intervals of 15-20 minute will be the best way to go.
Since we are trying to build core muscles, we don’t want to lose muscle. So don’t overdo cardio exercises. A short burst and intense dose of cardio will be a good start.
What About Intensity For A Better Benefit?
As mentioned earlier, there are several cardio exercises that help, and you may include any of them according to your wish.
Swimming, cycling, skipping or running are considered to be the best cardio exercises, but you don’t need to add each and every exercise in a single routine.
If you choose to run for 8-10 minutes.
- First 2 minute get comfortable by running slow.
- After 2 minutes, increase speed for 20 seconds and slow down for 10 seconds.
- Repeat it and slow down at the end for 2-3 minutes.
In the same way, you may go for skipping and cycling. You may swim a short distance of 50 meters as fast as you can or do an exercise that suits you.
And coming to exercises, mentioned below are a few of the good ones.
Include 2-3 exercises in your schedule. Do 3 sets × 12 reps of each exercise.
What Are Best Days To Train?
Since we want to gain muscle and lose fat, we need to follow a strategy.
You need to train your abs 3 times a week and not more than that.
If you are training Upper abs on Day 1, you need to train Lower abs on Day 3 and the same goes for oblique muscles on Day 6.
In between you may work on other muscles. Below, I have written in detail in the training section about other exercises.
Cardio for Lower Abs
Exercise #1: Burpees
Burpees can also be called as squat thrusts. These combine your stamina and agility to burn fat. When done correctly and regularly, these yield impressive results.
- Start with a shoulder width stance. Lower your body into a squat position first.
- Place your feet back quickly and assume a push-up position. It is the starting point of a burpee.
- Pull your feet towards the body and come to the squat position, with your hands on the floor.
- The next step is to jump in the air as high as possible, raising your hands in the air. This whole circuit counts as one repetition. Perform 15-18 such repetitions.
The best part about this cardiovascular exercise is, it can be done anywhere with minimal equipment.
Exercise #2: Jumping jacks
- Start by stretching your body. Get to the standing position with your legs a few inches apart from each other.
- Jump and move your legs outwards and immediately clap your hands in the air.
- Do this motion rapidly. You can perform up to 100 repetitions in a day.
This is a great exercise to do when you are at home.
Exercise #3: Stair climbing
All you have to do in this exercise is run up and down the stairway until you start to sweat all over your body. It is an efficient way of getting your heart rate up.
Assume staircases in a building to be a cardio equipment and start using them in your daily workout routine to boost fat loss.
Exercise #4: Mountain climbers
- Start in a push-up position.
- Bring your right knee towards the chest, keeping the left leg fully stretched.
- Do the same with the left leg quickly and perform repetitions alternately. Do about 15-20 of them to engage your core muscles.
Exercise #5: Squat jumps
- Start off in a normal bodyweight squat position, with your thighs parallel to the floor.
- After you come to the normal standing position, instead of holding that position, jump up in the air and as you land on the ground, immediately do a squat.
- Repeat this procedure 15 more times.
Exercise #6: Sprinter sit-ups
- Start off in a sit-up position and keep your elbows bent at right angles.
- Bring your right knee towards the left elbow, as if you are about to sprint. Immediately repeat the procedure with left knee and right elbow.
- Do alternate repetitions and feel the burn in your core. Perform 20 repetitions.
Exercise #7: Inchworms
This exercise demands a lot of body flexibility, but even if you don’t have that, start off, and you will see improvement gradually.
- Bend until your fingertips can just touch the ground. Bend your knees if necessary.
- Walk your hands forward while keeping your leg completely straight, till you reach the final push-up position. After that go backward and stand. This complete 1 Rep.
- Perform 5-6 such repetitions.
Exercise #8: Butt kicks
Kick your butt with your heels while staying in a stable standing position. Aim to do the movement by using your hamstrings as the pivots. Pick up speed gradually and perform butt kicks for one to two minutes.
Next time whenever you go to the gym then first focus on Abs exercises and at the end go for a cardio session for 20 minutes.
By these simple steps you firstly work on focused abs muscle and during cardio, you work on the overall body to burn more fat.
Training Guide For Lower Abs
Like every muscle, Abs also need right training and along with that, it requires adequate rest. It has been found that in spite of working harder, there is slow growth in abs muscles.
It happens because short rest that prevents complete muscle recovery. Since there is a slow recovery, muscle growth slows down and injury risk increases too.
To prevent injury as well as to stimulate muscle growth, every muscle requires sufficient resting periods.
If you want to get maximum benefit with less training, you should train smarter rather than working harder.
The best routine to train abs is as follows:
- Monday – Upper Abs
- Tuesday – Back and Biceps
- Wednesday – Lower Abs
- Thursday – Arm and Chest
- Friday – Oblique + Leg
- Saturday – Shoulder
- Sunday – Rest
You may program your schedule in this pattern. Since you should train only 3 times a week, every muscle of yours gets sufficient time to recover.
After or before every Abs workout session, do a 10-15 minute cardio session. This cardio session should not be more than 20 minutes, but you can intensify it to train harder. Higher the intensity, quicker is the fat loss and the muscle growth.
One of my favorite types of training is
- Proper warm-up and stretching of 10 minutes
- Skipping for 4 minutes with interval (20-second fast skipping and 10-second rest for 4 minutes)
- Do Abs Exercise
- Complete with stretching
Guys, you can also try this at home with any exercise, and you will get great results without spending on gym memberships.
Just give yourself 25-30 minutes a day. Do this on alternate days.
You must have heard many a thing about lower abs till now. But now we need to find the best way to train abs.
As said earlier, we don’t need to over-train. So we will work only three days on an alternate basis. You may do other exercises that you want to on those days. Or you may follow the routine provided earlier.
You can choose your workout day as per your daily schedule.
Prepare your Workout Schedule
You will get several workout schedules, and you may go for them if they suit you. You might be a beginner or may have been training for a long time. So your fitness level depends on many things. Thus, you should take a few minutes of time before starting the exercise.
I will give you a simple technique which will help you ace the workout schedule designing thing.
Include a 10-minute stretching activity in your schedule to loosen thigh muscle.
As said earlier, you need cardio exercises to lose excess fat quickly. So, as per fitness level, we need to start with 8-10 minutes of cardio exercise like running, skipping or cycling. You need to take only one exercise.
If you choose running then, you need to try interval training on the treadmill.
- 2 minutes of slow running.
- 20 second higher pace – 20 seconds slow down (do it for next 4 minutes)
- 2 minutes of slow running
You may use the same strategy in cycling and skipping. But don’t increase the duration above than 15 minutes as there is another bonus exercise ahead.
Now it’s time for another cardio session for lower abs. Since we have already done cardio exercises earlier, we don’t need to train too long.
In this session, you may include 2-3 exercises of your choice. Let’s take burpee, squat jump and mountain climber.
Do 3 sets of each exercise for 8-12 repetition. Don’t overdo it. We have core strengthening exercises
Now you are ready for core strengthening exercises. Choose any combination of 2-4 exercises from the exercise list. You need to choose exercises as per your comfort. If you are a beginner, then you need to get started with beginner’s exercises. It doesn’t mean that they are not effective. It has been found that basic exercises are proven to be the best.
Do 3 sets of 8-12 repetition.
After doing this, you complete the exercise. You don’t need to over-train as I told you earlier.
Following this and maintain a proper balance between exercises, recovery and healthy diet to get the best results.
Tips To Remember While Training
- Train smarter not harder.
- Go slowly without over exerting yourself, focus on abs muscles while doing crunches. Don’t be in a hurry to complete them.
- Never over-train you abs muscles because it can increase the risk of injuries. Train abs 3 times a week, it needs complete rest for full recovery.
- After every set, rest for 20-30 seconds and continue with the exercise to increase its effectiveness.
- After Abs exercise, focus on cardio sessions to enhance the AfterBurn Effect. To achieve AfterBurn Effect, you must train at high intensity.
- Get deep sleep for minimum 7-8 hours.
- Never train on an empty stomach.
- Eat light snacks 30-60 minutes before going to the gym.
- Never starve yourself. Eat small meal or snacks whenever possible
- Eat 4-5 small but healthy meals.
- To boost recovery and muscle growth, eat within 20 minutes after workout. Quicker the nutrient intake, faster the Abs muscle growth
- Drink lots of water.
And Lastly work smarter and stay healthy.
Also Read: How to Build Six Pack Abs