The lower abs are the hardest part of the ab muscles to develop. In this article, I will show you the best lower ab exercises you can do for great results.
So you’ve been working hard at getting that six pack, you’re making progress, you’re seeing some nice definition but there is one problem. Your lower are abs are not defined, they are in fact showing a bit of fat. It ruins your entire abdominal area.
It makes you look weird and totally overshadows the nice progress you’re seeing on your upper 4 abs. I feel your pain. This is a common issue in the gym and I’ve got the solutions for you right here in this article so don’t stress.
Why the lower abs are harder to build than the rest
The location of these little guys is the main culprit. Hidden between the hips and stomach, they are not easy to reach directly and isolate. Even when you think that you’re training then, you most likely are not. Your hips and the upper abs usually take over on most ab exercises, even those aimed at the lower abs.
But there are ways to circumvent this issue and reach these evasive little pieces of muscle. It is not as simple as you may think. It’s not simply about doing exercises aimed at isolating them but more about using the correct form and techniques when you do these exercises. If you just do the exercises like everyone else. you will end up with results like everyone else, which is not much.
So how do you make sure you’re exercising the lower abs properly?
Techniques and form. You cannot ignore these two aspects. You may be able to get away with subpar or even borderline reckless form on exercises you do for your chest and arms and still get results. Not so with the lower abdominal muscles. They require the right techniques otherwise you might as well be jumping up and down and hoping for the best.
When you do any exercise, you should be contracting the target muscles, i.e. flexing hard. This helps isolate the movement much more to the targeted muscles and it increases the effectiveness of the movement.
So when you’re doing ab crunches for example, you need to keep your abs in a contracted state, meaning they’re constantly flexed throughout the whole movement. Don’t hold your breath. When people flex, there is a tendency to breathe shallow or even hold the breath, this is bad. Practice correct breathing while your core is flexed.
The importance of doing this should not be overlooked. If you have doubt, next time you’re doing ab exercises, do them with your core relaxed or make no deliberate effort to contract them besides the natural reflex and then do some sets while you’re making a good effort of contracting your abs hard. You will become a new convert without a doubt.
Range of motion
Another important aspect to making sure you’re getting the most out of exercises for the lower abs is the the range of motion. Now when one hears range of motion mentioned in a fitness article, it’s usually telling them to use full range of motion. While full range of motion is usually better and should be used more often, there are many cases where you need a shorter range.
When a shorter range is used, you keep the target muscles’ time under tension for a longer period. There are many benefits to that. One of them is that the longer time under tension usually results in greater muscle stimulation. And since more stimulation means better growth, increasing the the time you keep your muscles under resistance and tension will usually mean better results.
But that’s not always the case. A longer range of motion has its advantages as well. One is that since you’re pushing the weight over a longer distance, you’re exerting more energy and the muscles are being worked more. And the more work, as long as it doesn’t go to overtraining, the better the results, usually.
So depending on your body type, your genes, your goals, one way will work better for you than the other. But to make sure you put yourself in the best position for the best results, use both types of ranges, long and short. So when you’re doing ab exercises in general, use both, longer time under tension and longer range of movement.
Ok so we’ve gone over some important things about lower ab training. Now it’s time to show you the best exercises you will want to do for your lower abs.
The Best Exercises For Cut Lower Abs
- Hanging leg raises. This is my favorite exercise for the lower abs. Done with the right form and techniques as discussed
above, they will yield the best results on a bang for your buck aspect. Now be careful with those because you can easily end up training the hips more than your lower abs. If you feel the soreness more in your front hips or upper thighs then you need to fix your form.
- Machine Leg Raises with dumbbell. This is similar to the hanging leg raise but you do these on a machine with a light dumbbell tucked between your legs for added resistance. This isolates the lower abs even more because you don’t don’t have to stabilize your back like the free hanging version
- Standing Leg Raises. This is the easiest one to do on this list, but easy doesn’t mean less result. What you do is stand with your feet closely together and raises one straightened leg until it’s parallel to the floor and return it down slowly and do the other leg.
- Hanging Bicycle Kicks. This is probably the hardest on this list. The way you perform this exercise is to start out as if you were going to a regular hanging leg raise , bring both of your legs up until your thighs form a 90 degree angle with your torso, bend your knees slightly and then start pedaling as if you were swimming or riding a bike
- Last but not least on this list the Floor Leg Raises. These are another favorite of yours truly. Basically, you just lie down on your back on a flat surface like a floor, arms by your side with palms facing down, raise both legs at the same time until the bottom of your feet are pointing straight up, then return slowly and repeat.
These five exercises will sculpt your lower abs like no other exercises can. Remember to apply all the techniques discussed above when you do these movements. If you don’t, the results will be subpar at best. Good luck.