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Killer Lower Ab Workout to Achieve a Shredded Core

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Importance of the Lower Ab Workout 

What’s your approach to ab training? Like many others, you probably pick a few exercises, put them into a routine, and get started. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, not all ab exercises are created equal. For example, our abs – also known as the rectus abdominis – is a seemingly simple muscle group but effectively training the lower abs isn’t as straightforward as one might imagine.

The abdominal region is split into two areas – the upper and lower portion. Interestingly, research shows that we can emphasize one area over the other depending on the activity. Different nerves are responsible for the functioning of the upper and lower regions, which means we can emphasize both with specific exercises. This concept isn’t some bro-science idea like the one about avoiding carbs after 6 PM. On the contrary, research suggests this to be true. For example, studies show that we can emphasize different portions depending on our exercise (1, 2). So, optimal ab development requires a balanced approach, which means doing lower ab workouts regularly. Create your own lower ab workouts and track your progress using the Hevy workout tracker.

Hevy – Workout Tracker

Create your own lower ab workouts with Hevy, and track your progress

Hevy – Workout Tracker

Create your own lower ab workouts with Hevy, and track your progress – for free

Another reason why you should include lower ab training has to do with visual appearance. Your body fat percentage is what mainly determines how your abdominal area looks. But by developing the lower ab region, you can make it more prominent even at slightly higher full-body fat percentages. With that out of the way, let’s now look at some of the best ways to emphasize and develop your lower abs.

3 Killer Ab Workouts

These workouts can be added into any workout program, such as a 3-day split, 4-day split, or bro-split.

Lower Ab Workout: 1

This first workout features bodyweight exercises that don’t require any equipment to do. The first exercise promotes good technique because it forces you to engage your lower abs incredibly well to raise and lower your legs. The second one supports stability through an isometric hold, and the third is a more dynamic and fun way to wrap up the routine.

  • Lying Leg Lifts (one-and-a-half) – 3 sets of 6 to 20 reps
  • Pike Plank – 2-3 sets of 30 to 60-seconds holds
  • Mountain Climbers – 2 sets of 15 to 30 strides

Lower Ab Workout: 2

You’ll only need a pair of slider disks for this workout. Beyond that, you don’t need any equipment. These three following exercises emphasize your lower abs in their unique ways. These exercises promote muscle coordination while engaging your entire core/upper body and are a proven way of almost isolating the lower portion of your abs.

  • Dead Bug – 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps (per side)
  • Slider Knee Tucks – 2-3 sets of 5 to 15 reps
  • Lying Leg Lifts – 2 sets of 10 to 30 reps

Lower Ab Workout: 3

Much like the first lower ab workout, this one also doesn’t require any equipment to use. All you need is some space on the floor, and you’re good to go. The first movement engages your entire core while emphasizing your lower abs. The second one is more dynamic and a great way to burn extra calories while training the lower abs. And the third, similar to the pike plank, is a static movement that promotes core stability.

  • Bird Dog – 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps (per side)
  • Flutter Kicks – 2-3 sets of 20-30 seconds
  • Hollow Body Holds – 2 sets of 30 to 60 seconds

17 Exceptional Lower Ab Exercises

Exercise 1: Dead Bug

The dead bug is a fantastic movement that promotes muscle coordination and core stability.

Muscle groups: Abs, Spinal Erectors, and Transverse Abdominis
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Lie on the floor, raise your arms straight up, lift your feet off the floor, bend your knees at a 90-degree angle, and position your knees directly over your hips.
  • Engage your abs, take a breath, and simultaneously extend your right leg and raise your left arm back and to the side of your head.
  • Slowly bring your leg and arm to the starting position as you exhale.
  • Take another breath and repeat with your opposite limbs.
  • Keep alternating between the left arm-right leg and right arm-left leg movements.

Exercise 2: Slider Knee Tucks

Slider knee tucks are a fun and engaging exercise that promotes core stability and emphasizes your lower abs.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Arms, Shoulders, Chest, and Lower Body
Equipment: Pair of Sliding Disks

Step by step Instructions:

  • Get down on the floor and place a pair of sliding disks underneath your feet.
  • Extend your upper body forward and assume a high plank position. Your shoulders, elbows, and wrists should be in a straight line. Keep your entire body straight.
  • Take a breath, engage your abs, and slide both your feet forward and into your chest. 
  • Hold for a moment and slide your feet down and back to their starting position, straightening your body and exhaling. 

Exercise 3: Lying Leg Lifts

This exercise is a fantastic beginner-friendly movement that allows you to target and almost isolate the lower ab portion.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Spinal Erectors, and Hip Flexors
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Lie on the floor with your legs straight and arms to your sides.
  • Engage your abs, lift your feet an inch or two off the floor, and take a breath.
  • Simultaneously raise both legs toward the ceiling while keeping them straight.
  • Go up until they are vertical, hold for a moment, and slowly release them as you exhale.
  • Make sure to keep your feet off the floor at all times; never touch the ground before you finish the set.

Exercise 4: Bird Dog

The bird dog is a fantastic exercise that promotes full-body stability, trains a range of muscle groups, and emphasizes your lower abs.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Spinal Erectors, Glutes, and Shoulders
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Get down on all fours with your knees bent and arms straight. You should have your wrists directly below your shoulders and knees beneath your hips.
  • Engage your abs and make sure your back is neutral.
  • Take a breath and simultaneously extend your right arm forward and left leg straight back.
  • Hold the position for a moment and return your arm and leg to the starting position as you exhale.
  • Take another breath and perform the same movement with your opposite arm and leg.
  • Keep alternating between opposite limbs.

Exercise 5: Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks are fun and dynamic exercise that train the entire abdominal region and emphasize the lower portion thanks to the leg motions.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Hip Flexors, and Glutes
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Lie on the floor with your legs straight, arms to your sides, and palms flat on the floor for balance.
  • Engage your abs and lift your feet a couple of inches off the floor.
  • Begin to flutter your feet in an alternating fashion a few inches up and down.
  • Breathe steadily.

Exercise 6: Hollow Body Holds

Like planks, this is a static exercise that emphasizes and develops your lower abs thanks to your leg position.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Hip Flexors, Glutes, and Spinal Erectors
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Lie on the floor with your legs and arms straight.
  • Extend your arms back to the sides of your head and bring your feet together.
  • Take a breath and engage your abs.
  • Simultaneously raise your legs, head, arms, and upper back several inches off the floor.
  • Hold the position for as long as you can and maintain steady breathing.

Exercise 7: Lying Leg Lifts (one-and-a-half)

The one-and-a-half leg lift is an excellent variation of the classic exercise that reinforces core stability and improves your technique.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Spinal Erectors, and Hip Flexors
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Lie on the floor with your legs straight, feet together, arms to your sides, and palms flat on the floor.
  • Take a breath, engage your abs, and raise your legs to the ceiling.
  • Hold the top position for a moment and begin to lower them. 
  • Instead of going all the way down, stop at the halfway point and raise your legs to the top position again.
  • Once you’ve done that, lower them to the floor without allowing your heels to touch the ground. Exhale.

Exercise 8: Pike Plank

This exercise is an excellent variation of the classic plank. Thanks to your body’s position, your lower abs work extra hard to keep you balanced.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Glutes, Hamstrings, Chest, Shoulders, Back, and Triceps
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Get on the floor and assume a high plank position. Your feet should be at hip-width level, and your shoulders, elbows, and wrists should be in a straight line.
  • Slowly walk your feet forward a few inches, which will naturally push your butt toward the ceiling.
  • Go forward until your body resembles an inverted V shape, bring your shoulders back as well as you can, and make sure your back is neutral.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can, making sure to breathe regularly.

Exercise 9: Mountain Climbers

This dynamic movement reinforces core stability, emphasizes your lower abs, and burns a good deal of calories.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Quadriceps, Glutes, Back, Chest, Shoulders, and Arms
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Drop to the floor and assume a high plank position with your body straight and arms extended.
  • Raise your glutes slightly, engage your abs, and take a breath.
  • Tuck your right leg into your abdominal region.
  • Extend the leg back to the starting position and immediately tuck your left leg in.
  • Keep alternating between the two legs at a sustainable pace until you finish the set.

Since repetitions occur more quickly, instead of trying to breathe in and out on each leg tuck, try to maintain a steady breathing pattern separate from your body’s movements.

Exercise 10: Plank Jack

The plank jack variation puts an exciting spin on the classic exercise and allows you to engage your lower abs better.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Glutes, Hamstrings, Adductors, Chest, Back, Shoulders, and Triceps
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Get to the floor and assume a high plank position with your limbs straight, feet together, and knees, hips, and shoulders in a straight line.
  • Engage your abs and take a breath.
  • Simultaneously kick both feet out, creating distance in-between.
  • Kick both feet in, bringing them together as you exhale.
  • Keep repeating for as long as you can.

Exercise 11: Boat Pose

Boat pose – also known as Navasana for the yogis – is a fantastic isometric exercise that strengthens the entire ab region. This is a full-body exercise that requires lots of low abdominal activation.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Glutes, Hamstrings, Back, Shoulders, and Arms
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Sit on the floor, have your torso upright, your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Tilt your torso back slightly and raise your legs while keeping your knees bent.
  • Make sure your back is straight as you extend your knees.
  • With your legs now at roughly 45 degrees, extend your arms and position your arms to the sides of your legs.
  • Breathe regularly and maintain the pose for as long as you can.

It can help to hold onto your thighs initially until you get a good feel for the exercise. If you are looking for a convenient way to keep track of your reps and sets, Hevy is a great option.

Hevy – Workout Tracker

Create your own lower ab workouts with Hevy, and track your progress

Hevy – Workout Tracker

Create your own lower ab workouts with Hevy, and track your progress – for free

Exercise 12: Scissors

As the name suggests, this exercise emphasizes your lower abs by having you move your legs in a specific, scissor-like pattern.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Glutes, and Hip Flexors
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Lie on the floor with your legs straight and hands to your sides with palms facing down.
  • Engage your abs and lift your feet a few inches off the floor.
  • Take a breath and raise your right leg to the ceiling while keeping the left in position.
  • Raise it to slightly past vertical and lower it to the starting position.
  • As it reaches the bottom, immediately raise your other leg.
  • Keep alternating between the two.

Exercise 13: Hanging Knee Tucks

The knee tuck is great because aside from training your lower abs, it also improves grip strength, promotes full-body stability, and builds your back, shoulders, and forearms.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Glutes, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Back, Shoulders, and Forearms
Equipment: Pull-Up Bar or Captain’s Chair

Step by step Instructions:

  • Reach up and grab a pull-up bar with an even and overhand grip.
  • Engage your abs and take a breath.
  • Raise your knees slowly until they reach hip level.
  • Slowly lower them to the starting position as you exhale.

If you find that you’re swinging back and forth too much, do it slowly and reset your position before each new repetition. Over time, you should find yourself feeling much more stable.

Exercise 14: Cross-Body Climber

Similar to mountain climbers, the cross-body climber is fantastic for the lower abs. It also emphasizes your obliques – the muscles on either side of your abs.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Internal and External Obliques, Chest, Back, Shoulders, Glutes, and Quadriceps
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Get on the floor in a high plank position. Your arms and legs should be straight.
  • Lift your glute slightly while keeping your back neutral.
  • Take a breath and engage your abs.
  • In one motion, tuck your left knee into your chest as you simultaneously twist your hips to the right. Essentially, try to target your right pec muscle with your left knee.
  • Bring the leg to the starting position and repeat with your opposite knee to twist your hips to the left.
  • Keep alternating between the two.

Exercise 15: Heel Tap Crunch

The heel tap crunch is a simple and beginner-friendly movement that emphasizes your lower abs and develops your obliques.

Muscle groups: Abs, Internal and External Obliques
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Lie on the floor with your back flat, knees bent, and feet flat. Have your arms to your sides.
  • Take a breath and crunch to the left side, aiming to touch your left heel with your hand.
  • Return to the starting position as you exhale.
  • Take another breath and crunch to the right, doing the same thing.
  • Keep alternating between left and right.

Exercise 16: Leg Lifts With Hip Raise

If you’re looking for an extra challenge, this movement provides just that. Thanks to a slight difference in technique, you get to train your lower abs even harder.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Spinal Erectors, Hip Flexors, and Glutes|
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Lie on the floor with your legs straight, arms to your sides, and palms flat.
  • Engage your abs, lift your feet a couple of inches off the floor, and take a breath.
  • Raise your legs to the ceiling until they are vertical. At the top position, raise your glute a few inches. Aim for a smooth transition between the raise and glute lift.
  • Lower your legs to the starting position, making sure to keep them off the floor at all times and exhale.

Exercise 17: Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is a fun, dynamic exercise that strengthens your lower abs, trains your obliques, and improves muscle coordination.

Muscle groups: Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Internal and External Obliques, Upper Back, and Glutes
Equipment: Exercise Mat

Step by step Instructions:

  • Lie on the floor with your hands on either side of your head and legs straight.
  • Take a breath and engage your abs.
  • Tuck your right knee in and diagonally to the left side of your torso as you crunch your torso up slightly and bring your left elbow in towards the body.
  • Your elbow and knee should come close, tapping against one another.
  • Bring your elbow and knee back as you exhale, and immediately bring your opposite knee and elbow together.
  • Keep alternate crunching between the opposing limbs, making sure to transition smoothly.

Conclusion

There we have it. Though many people consider ‘ab training’ as nothing more than picking a few exercises, there is more to it. Specifically, we can emphasize different regions of our core musculature by choosing the right exercises (1, 2). In some cases, we can put a spin on well-known movements to make them more lower-ab dominant. Such is the case with choosing pike and star planks over the classic version. A good lower ab workout will benefit you in many ways. Most notably, your lower abs play an essential role in bridging your upper and lower body. They also play a crucial role in different activities like planks and leg raises. You can find other lower ab-specific exercises on the Hevy workout creator.

Hevy – Workout Tracker

Create your own lower ab workouts with Hevy, and track your progress

Hevy – Workout Tracker

Create your own lower ab workouts with Hevy, and track your progress – for free

Beyond that, giving enough attention to your lower abs is beneficial from a visual standpoint. While spot-reducing body fat isn’t possible, we can still develop different muscles, and make them more prominent, even if we have some fat covering them. The best part is choosing from many fantastic exercises that require no equipment beyond a simple exercise mat and can be easily integrated into any workout program, such as upper-lower split, bro-split, or a 3, 4 or 5-day split.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best lower ab workout? 

There is no single best lower ab workout. However, as you saw above, there are many fantastic exercises from which to choose. It mostly depends on your preferences and which activities allow you to activate the lower ab region better.

How long should an ab workout be?

You can have fewer but longer ab workouts or shorter and more frequent ones. We recommend keeping your lower ab training to around ten, maybe fifteen minutes. That way, you can train the region more frequently and do each exercise in a fresher and more recovered state.

How many times per week should I work out my abs?

It mostly depends on your training volume (3). You can train your abs as little as once per week, but this would mean doing more exercises and sets. You can also work out your lower abs three to four times per week, only doing a couple of movements each time. Again, it mostly comes down to your preferences.

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