The 7 Best Lower Ab Exercises for a Tighter Core

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lower abs exercise

Best Ab Exercises | How to Get a Six-Pack | Lower-Ab Workouts | Workouts for Women | Workouts for Men | Plank Exercises | Best Ab Machines | 30-Day Ab Challenge | Best Ab Rollers

One of the most frustrating aspects of building a six-pack is performing the lower-ab-dedicated exercises. Getting rid of that last bit of belly fat (which is known to hide the lower portion of the abs) can take a long time and a lot of work. That's why it's better to start off knowing the seven best lower ab workouts that can get you closer to your goal—you don't want to waste time performing exercises that don't produce results. But before we dive into what those are, there are two things you should know when it comes to getting ripped.

First, that last little bit of fat might prove to be the hardest because the stomach is the main place on your body where excess calories are stored. Because of that, it's also the last place that fat gets burned. Second, you specifically have to target the lower abs if you want to reach your full potential. There are several lower ab workouts that place greater emphasis on this portion of the abdominals, and they range from easy to very challenging. The more effort you give to training, the better the abs will look when you do burn that last bit of body fat with smart nutrition and cardio. As a bonus, you'll find that you're an overall better athlete.

We have found seven of the best lower ab workouts that can help people from all levels of fitness develop their lower abs. These exercises can be done in a home gym or outside, and range from beginner to advanced.

7 Best Lower Ab Exercises

  • Reverse crunch
  • Lying leg raise
  • Heel taps
  • Scissor kicks
  • Cross-body climber
  • Knee tuck with exercise ball
  • Jackknife

Beginner Exercises

If you're brand new to training your core, it's best to start with beginner-friendly exercises. Once your abs become stronger, feel free to combine more advanced movements with some of these novice exercises.

Reverse Crunch

reverse crunch

The reverse crunch in its simplest description is lifting the legs in a similar way that you would your upper body on a regular crunch. However, execution matters: If you simply let your legs roll up and down, the hip flexors take over, which is not what you want. Apply the details of the instructions below in order to see the best results.

Lie on your back on a mat or the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands under your glutes or lower back, whichever is more comfortable for you. Slightly lift your head up off the floor, but don't look toward your feet. Lift your feet slightly off the floor as well. You should feel your abs partially contract. This is your starting position.

Using your abs, lift and roll your hips and legs towards your head slowly until your lower back comes off the floor or your hands. You should feel an intense contraction at this point. Slowly lower your legs back to the starting position. Pause and repeat.

Lying Leg Raise

The main difference between this exercise and the reverse crunch is bent (reverse crunch) versus straight (lying leg raise) legs. When your legs are straight, the weight is distributed differently, and it forces your core to work even harder to maintain stability. The good news? If you have lower back issues, the lying leg raise is a suitable substitute to swap in so you can still focus on lower ab workouts while also minimizing the risk of back pain.

Assume the same position you did for the reverse crunch, except your legs should be straight on the floor. Place your hands under your lower back. Slightly lift your head off the floor but keep looking up. Slightly lift your legs off the floor so they are hovering at about an inch over. This is your starting position.

Lift the legs straight up until they are pointing vertically. Next, lift the hips to contract the abs. Slowly lower the hips back down, then lower your legs back to the starting position under control. Pause and repeat.

Beginner Lower Ab Workout

This lower ab workout can be used on its own or as part of an overall ab training plan. Perform it twice a week with at least three days in between each workout to give your ab muscles time to recover. Once your abs grow stronger, feel free to perform this workout as much as you like.

  • Reverse Crunch: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Lying Leg Raise: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Note: Rest for 60 seconds between sets.

Intermediate Exercises

If you're no stranger to working your abs, but your core still isn't rock-solid, try out some of these intermediate exercises.

Heel Tap

heel tap

If you like multitasking in training, then this is a must. This exercise is going to do more than challenge your lower abs—your obliques are going to get some work in as well. Once you feel like you have a rhythm with this lower ab workout, you're going to want to go faster. Resist this temptation: Moving slow and controlled matters here.

Lie flat on your back on the floor or on a mat. Bend your knees and lift your feet about an inch off the floor so your lower abs are engaged. Keep your arms straight to your sides. Lift your shoulders up so your upper abs are engaged. Keep a neutral neck and spine. This is your starting position.

Take your right hand and move it toward your foot until you touch the heel. Return to the starting position and repeat with your left side. This is one rep. Try to complete at least 12 reps each side, or 20 if you're more advanced.

Scissor Kicks

scissor kicks

This lower ab workout will help you burn some calories as well as target the core. Be sure to stay controlled and concentrated in order to maximum effectiveness. In other words, it's best to focus on quality over quantity with this one.

Assume the same position as you did with the lying leg raise. Lift both of your legs so that the feet are an inch or two off the floor. Next, lift one leg up until it's close to vertical while keeping the other stationary. As the first leg is coming down, lift the other leg up until it reaches the same height the other one was in. Repeat until you've performed the desired reps for each side: We recommend starting off with 12 reps and increasing to 20 as you grow stronger.

Here's a more challenging variation: Take your legs and alternate going across instead of up and down. You should try to make "X's" with your legs by alternating which leg is higher.

Cross-body Climber

cross-body mountain climber

This is another calorie burner that will also torch the obliques. If you're new to this movement, really try to focus on the mind to muscle connection and remember that speed isn't the focal point here. Once you get good at this exercise, you can add it into a circuit and up the intensity.

Assume the top of a pushup position. Keep your back straight and tighten your core. Don't let your stomach hang. Take your right knee and bring it up and over toward your left shoulder. When your right foot touches the floor, bring the left knee up toward the right shoulder.

Once the left foot goes back to the starting position, you've done one rep. Keep going until you've finished at least 10 reps on each leg. For a more advanced workout, complete 20 reps per leg.

Intermediate Lower Ab Workout

If you'd like to completely torch your lower abs, perform all three of these exercises in a row as a triset before taking a break. Four rounds of this, and your lower abs will feel it. Four to six weeks of doing this twice a week, and you'll be more likely to see them (as long as you're pairing this workout with proper nutrition—after all, abs are made in the kitchen).

Triset: Perform 4 rounds with no rest between exercises and 60 seconds of rest between rounds.

  • Heel Tap: 4 sets of 15 reps, per side.
  • Scissor Kicks: 4 sets of 60 sec.
  • Cross-Body Climber: 4 sets of 60 sec.

Advanced Exercises

Looking for more of a challenge? These advanced exercises are sure to help you work up a sweat by torching your core.

Knee Tuck with Exercise Ball

Knee Tuck with Exercise Ball

This exercise may not look that hard, but the way you perform it is the challenge. Make sure that the exercise ball you use isn't too large: If your feet are elevated too high, it may place a strain on your lower back.

Assume the top of a pushup position with your feet up on an exercise ball behind you. The legs should be straight, and your feet should be connected with the ball. Keep your back straight and your abs tight.

Place force down on the ball with your legs and draw your knees in towards your chest. Once you've pulled your knees in as far as you can, slowly straighten your legs back out and return to the starting position.

Here's our challenge: Straighten your legs to a count of five. Count out "one-thousand one, one-thousand two," and so on until you reach five. This makes the exercise harder and the burn more intense.

Jackknife Sit-up

Jackknife Sit-up

There are two ways you can do this one. The first method is great for learning how to coordinate your body, but the goal should be to master the second way, which is far more challenging.

Method 1: Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms over your head. Bend your legs and bring your knees in towards your chest. At the same time, lift your arms and upper body up until your arms are beside your legs. Slowly return to the starting position, and repeat for the desired reps.

Method 2: Instead of bending the knees, keep the legs straight while lifting them up. Lift the arms simultaneously until they are beside the legs. Pause for a count of two, and then return to the starting position.

Advanced Lower Ab Workout

Try this workout on its own or at the end of an endurance workout such as a run or cycling session. This workout forces you to concentrate on the core as well as maintain stability.

  • Knee Tuck with Exercise Ball: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Jackknife sit-up: 3 sets of 20 reps

Note: Rest for 45 seconds between sets, or perform both exercises as a superset and rest for 60 seconds between supersets.

Final Takeaway

Lower ab workouts can be performed as part of a larger routine or on their own. Remember: The main keys to success are staying consistent and continuously challenging yourself. As these exercises become easier, be sure to incorporate more advanced movements into your regimen. Another way to up the burn is to add more reps or complete the reps you are doing more slowly, which increases your time under tension. If you're following a sound nutrition plan, burning calories while training, and including these workouts, then your chances of finally seeing those lower abs are much greater.

Best Ab Exercises | How to Get a Six-Pack | Lower-Ab Workouts | Workouts for Women | Workouts for Men | Plank Exercises | Best Ab Machines | 30-Day Ab Challenge | Best Ab Rollers