Your lower abs are easy to care for. It takes a clean diet and a consistent regime to make them pop. While your full-body sessions are hitting your core, it's equally important to do some targeted lower abs workout at least once a week. This can reduce and prevent lower back pain, and help correct posture and pelvic tilt issues. Having a strong core connection and understanding how to train your lower abs will improve your daily movements, but will also allow for greater strength gains, whether you work out at home or at the gym.
Over time, you'll stop overworking the muscles that you don't want to target – but often take over – and see more defined lower abs. Some Tips Before Tackling Lower Abs Workout: Lower abs targeting can be thwarted by tight, overactive hip flexors. exaggerate the range of motion of an exercise; and move too fast. But don't be discouraged! The circuit below gives you the tips and confidence to get where you want to go.
Best of all, this workout is all about bodyweight exercises. All you need is a yoga mat and some willpower.
Directions: Do 1 round for a quick fire or a total of 3 rounds for a full roast.
The best workout for the lower abdominal area
1. Toe Taps x 10 repetitions per side
Lie on your back, head and neck with your arms actively pressing into the ground. (Bonus: this pull activates your triceps and opens your chest). Raise your legs to the table position with your knees stacked over your hips, your shins parallel to the floor, and your feet relaxed. Inhale, then lower one foot at a time toward the floor, maintaining the 90-degree bend at the knee. Tap the floor, then exhale to pull the leg back up to the starting position. Occur alternately and on the other side; this is 1 rep.To make it more difficult, take your hands behind your head with wide elbows and lift your shoulder blades off the floor. This spicy variation works on the upper abs at the same time and adds a stability challenge. Watch a video demonstration on slide 1 (the extended version can be found on slide 2).
Pro tips: Walk as slowly as you can and let a steady breath control the movement. Exhaling deeply will help put more strain on your lower abs. Be careful not to pull your knees too close to your chest. Always keep your knees a little further away than you think (no closer than just above your hips) to keep the core engaged.
2. Forearm plank with knee tapping x 10 repetitions per side
Come into a forearm plank with forearms just below your shoulders, legs extended. Activate your quads, activate your glutes, and stay on your toes by flexing your feet and shifting weight forward. Pull your lower abs up and in – almost like you had an invisible bend. This is subtle, but it will help protect your back and help keep your abs working harder. When everything is lit, start gently lowering one knee at a time to tap the floor. Use your lower abs and breath to control movement. Your upper and lower body should remain calm and stable. Occur alternately and on the other side; this is 1 rep. Repeat alternately on each rep. Watch a video demonstration here on slide 4.
Pro tip: Imagine pulling your elbows back towards your hips to activate your serratus (the large muscle that extends from the outside of your ribs to just below your shoulder blades) and more lats.
3. Diagonal dead beetles x 10 repetitions per side
Lie on your back with your arms straight across your shoulders, your head and neck relaxed, your knees stacked over your hips, your shins parallel to the floor, and your feet bent. Inhale, then straighten your left arm and right leg diagonally away from you while keeping your right arm and left leg completely still. Exhale to come back to center. Take turns playing on the other side, extending your right arm and left leg. that's 1 replay Watch a video demonstration on slide 4 here.
Pro tip: To get the most out of this exercise, move slowly and in a controlled manner, keeping your black flat on the floor but not all the way down to the floor. This exercise works your lower abs with the bonus of hitting your entire core. If you get the diagonal angle really precise, you will feel your slants fire quickly!
4. Slow Reverse Crunch x 20 reps
Lie on your back with your arms firmly pressed into the ground, knees bent, and feet close together. It is important that you keep them here all the time. With a slope of your pelvis, use your lower abs to lift your hips an inch above the floor, with your knees coming towards your chest. Lower your back slowly and in a controlled manner so that you cannot use the swing for your next rep (this is not a rocking motion). Watch a video demonstration here on slide 8.
Pro tip: Try not to shrug your shoulders or use your arms too often so you can really hit your core. You can accomplish as little or as much as you want with this exercise. So my top advice is to slow them down and control each repetition.
5. Single leg lowering to hip lift x 10 repetitions per side
Lie on your back and raise your legs to the table position with your knees stacked over your hips. Extend your left leg straight up towards the ceiling. Take both hands behind your head and roll them up to the tips of your shoulder blades. Inhale, then extend your left leg towards the floor as low as possible, exhale and pull it straight back up. When you're back in the starting position, lift your hips straight off the floor with this pelvic slope. Do all the repetitions on one side, then switch. Watch a video demonstration here on slide 6.
Pro tip: Stay on the tips of your shoulder blades. This provides a killer stability challenge and an upper ab scorcher of the head and shoulders that are raised. You're welcome.
Kirsty Godso is Nike Master Trainer and founder of Made Of Whey Protein Isolate
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