10 Lower Ab Workouts To Strengthen The Core In 2024

One of the most common fitness goals is to get a six-pack. But you must first lose lower belly fat to initiate the journey there, perhaps using a fat burner. Next, you must focus on your upper and lower ab muscles with intentional exercises to grow them. This piece will highlight the lower ab workout.

This workout allows you to conveniently incorporate them into your fitness routine within your lower body dumbbell workout. Get ready to engage your core with the best lower ab workouts for women and men. 

Lower Ab Workout To Try   

Now that you know how important exercise for abs is, here are the best lower ab exercises for men and women

Reverse Crunches

The reverse crunches exercise helps strengthen the entire core while minimizing neck and lower back strain.

Reverse Crunches
Reverse Crunches Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Lie on your back, and bend your knees.
  2. Lift your hips off the floor while bringing your knees towards your chest.
  3. Slowly lower your hips back down.

Tips: 

  • At the gym, use a decline bench or an ab crunch machine.
  • Exhale as you lift your hips off the ground, engaging your core muscles fully.
  • Perform the exercise with controlled and deliberate movements, avoiding any swinging or jerking motions.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 4 sets of 12-15 reps.

Mountain Climbers

The exercises are dynamic exercises targeting the lower abs.

Mountain Climbers
Mountain Climbers Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Get into a high plank position.
  2. Bring one knee toward your chest, then switch to the opposite foot in a running motion.
  3. Continue alternating quickly. 

Tips: 

  • At the gym, use a stability ball or sliders for added challenge.
  • Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels, engaging your core for stability.
  • Keep a brisk but controlled pace, avoiding excessively fast movements that can compromise form.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 4 sets of 20-30 seconds.

Hanging Leg Raises

It targets the lower abs and hip flexors.

Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging Leg Raises Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Find a sturdy overhead bar or use a pull-up bar.
  2. Hang from the bar and lift your legs as high as possible.
  3. Lower them back down with control. 

Tips: 

  • At the gym, use a captain’s chair or a hanging leg raise machine; lift your legs straight up, then lower them down.
  • Maintain control throughout the movement, avoiding swinging or using momentum.
  • Use proper grip strength and wrist support when hanging to prevent slipping or discomfort.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 4 sets of 10-15 reps.

Pike Position Holds

The isometric position helps improve core stability and enhance overall body control. An isometric exercise is a static exercise that involves muscle contraction without movement. This stability makes it suitable for muscle and injury rehabilitation.[1]

Pike Position Holds
Pike Position Holds Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Assume a push-up starting position.
  2. Lift your hips to form an inverted V shape.
  3. Hold this position, engaging your lower abs and maintaining a straight line from head to toe. 

Tips: 

  • Use an ab wheel or stability ball at the gym, roll the wheel, or move the ball towards your feet, lifting your hips.
  • Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and press firmly into the ground to support your upper body.
  • Avoid letting your hips sag or pike too high, aim for a straight and stable position.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 4 sets of eight to 10 reps.

Russian Twists

The Russian twist is a rotational movement[2] targeting the lower abs, obliques, and hip flexors.

Russian Twists
Russian Twists Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat.
  2. Lean back slightly and twist your torso from side to side, touching the floor on each side with your hands or a weighted object. 

Tips: 

  • Keep your back straight and your core engaged throughout the exercise to protect your lower back.
  • Twist from your torso while keeping your feet and hips stable on the ground.
  • Use a controlled and deliberate motion, avoiding jerking or rushing the movement.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 4 sets of 12-15 reps.

Bicycle Crunches

This lower ab exercise combines rotational movements and pedaling, activating the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors.

Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle Crunches Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Lie on your back, bring your knees up, and lift your shoulders.
  2. Rotate your torso, touching your left elbow to your right knee while extending your left leg.
  3. Switch legs, touching your right elbow to your left knee. 

Tips: 

  • Keep your elbows wide and avoid pulling on your neck to prevent strain.
  • Engage your core and maintain a steady pace, focusing on proper form and control.
  • Ensure your legs extend fully and elbows touch the opposite knee for a full range of motion.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 4 sets of 12-15 reps.

Plank Hip Dips

Plank hip dips involve controlled side-to-side movements, activating the entire core and improving core endurance.

Plank Hip Dips - lower ab workout
Plank Hip Dips Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Get into a forearm plank position with your elbows directly under your shoulders.
  2. Lower your hips to one side without touching the floor, then alternate to the other.
  3. Take a deep breath and keep your core engaged and your body straight. 

Tips: 

  • At the gym, place your forearms on the stability ball, and rotate your hips to one side and the other.
  • Keep your core engaged and avoid excessive twisting or sagging of your hips.
  • Keep your wrists aligned with your elbows to reduce wrist strain during the plank.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 4 sets of 12-15 reps.

Scissor Kicks

These exercises involve alternating leg movements while keeping the core tight, promoting lower ab strength and flexibility.

Scissor Kicks
Scissor Kicks Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended straight and palms facing down.
  2. Lift one leg just a few inches off the ground while the other toward the ceiling.
  3. Keep your back flat on the surface and hands down at the sides, palm down.

Tips: 

  • Alternate legs as you scissor them up and down while engaging your core
  • Keep your lower back pressed firmly against the mat to avoid arching and protect your spine.
  • Perform the exercise with controlled and deliberate leg movements, avoiding excessive kicking.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 4 sets of 12-15 reps.

Leg Raises

Straight leg raises engage the entire core and help activate the abs and hip flexors[3] by lifting the legs off the ground.

Leg Raises - lower ab workout
Leg Raises Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do:

  1. Lying flat, extend your right and left leg straight.
  2. Lift both legs together off the ground until perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Slowly lower them back down with control. Keep arms flat against sides, palm down.

Tips: 

  • Place your hands under your hips or beside your body to support your lower back and reduce strain.
  • Lower your legs slowly and with control, emphasizing the negative phase of the movement.
  • Focus on your breathing, exhaling as you raise your legs and inhaling as you lower them for better control and stability.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 4 sets of 12-15 reps.

Russian Twists With A Medicine Ball

Adding a medicine ball to Russian twists increases resistance and further engages the lower abs and obliques. This exercise challenges core strength, promotes rotational stability, and enhances overall abdominal definition.

Russian Twists With Medicine Ball Guide. Photo: Team Design

How to do:

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold a medicine ball or a weighted object in front of your chest.
  3. Twist your torso from side to side, tapping the floor on each side with the medicine ball.
  4. Maintain good posture while doing this, keeping your neck stretched and shoulders down, lifting with your abdominal muscles.

Tips: 

  • Maintain a straight and upright posture, engaging your core to avoid straining your lower back.
  • Twist from your torso, not just your arms, to engage your oblique muscles effectively.
  • Choose an appropriate weight for the medicine ball to maintain control throughout the exercise.

Optimal Sets and Reps: 4 sets of 12-15 reps.

Why Should We Practise Lower Ab Exercises?

Why Should We Practise Lower Ab Exercises
Strengthening your lower abs is crucial for core stability. Photo: fizkes/Shutterstock

The lower ab muscles primarily refer to the lower portion of the rectus abdominis.[4] This abdominal muscle runs vertically along the front of your abdomen, often called the “six-pack.” This single muscle extends from the ribcage to the pelvis.

So, lower abdominal muscles refer to the lower region of the muscle.

Here are the reasons you should work your lower abs:

  • Core Stability and Balance: Strengthening your lower abs enhances core stability, balance, and coordination during various physical activities.
  • Posture Improvement: Targeting the lower abs helps maintain proper alignment and stability of the spine. This alignment reduces the risk of upper-body postural issues and lower-back pain.
  • Functional Movement: A strong lower ab region supports everyday movements such as bending, twisting, and lifting.
  • Athletic Performance: If you are an athlete, engaging lower abs improves core endurance and balance.[5]
  • Injury Prevention: Strengthening the strong core, including the lower abs, aids in injury prevention[6] by supporting the lower back and improving hip stability. These movements also reduce the risk of back pain.[7]
  • Improved Breathing: Strengthening the lower abs can enhance diaphragmatic breathing and pulmonary function.[8] This enhancement promotes better lung function and oxygen uptake during exercise.

Safety Considerations For Lower Abs Exercises

Safety Considerations For Lower Abs Exercises - lower ab workout
You should warm up before lower ab exercises for muscle and joint readiness. Photo: Summer Paradive/Shutterstock

Despite most of these core exercises seeming elementary, here are some safety considerations to avoid poor performance and injury.

  • Always warm up[9] before engaging in lower ab movements to prepare your muscles and joints for the workout.
  • Maintain proper form and technique during each entire exercise to prevent injuries.
  • Allow your body time to rest and recover between workout sessions.
  • Stay hydrated before, during, and after workouts to support optimal performance. Also, ensure you are on a healthy diet.

The Bottom Line

Incorporating these ten best lower ab exercises into your fitness routine can bring remarkable core changes. The lower ab workout routines may strengthen your center by targeting the lower abdominal core muscles. They also help you achieve a toned and defined midsection.

Include cardio, resistance training, and nutrition for overall health and fitness. You can take dietary vitamins or protein supplements to help fasten your progress if you have a dietary need not being met by food alone.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should we do lower ab workouts?

You can do lower ab workouts as part of your fitness routine. Preferably do it on your upper body days on non-consecutive days to allow for proper muscle recovery.

What are the most effective lower ab exercises?

Effective lower ab exercises include reverse crunches, mountain climbers, hanging leg raises, pike position holds, Russian twists, bicycle crunches, plank hip dips, scissor kicks, leg raises, and Russian twists with a medicine ball.

Who should not do lower ab exercises?

Consult a professional trainer before attempting lower ab movements if you have any specific medical conditions or injuries. This ensures safety and suitability.

Should we do abs every day?

It is not necessary to do abs exercises every day. Like any other muscle group, the abs require rest and recovery. Aim for two to three sessions per week, allowing sufficient time for rest between workouts.

Resources

  1. Oranchuk, D.J., Storey, A.G., Nelson, A.R. and Cronin, J.B. (2019). Isometric training and long-term adaptations: Effects of muscle length, intensity, and intent: A systematic review. [online] 29(4), pp.484–503. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.13375.
  2. Zemková, E. (2022). Strength and Power-Related Measures in Assessing Core Muscle Performance in Sport and Rehabilitation. [online] 13. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2022.861582.
  3. Kim, K.-H. and Lee, T. (2016). Comparison of muscular activities in the abdomen and lower limbs while performing sit-up and leg-raise. [online] 28(2), pp.491–494. doi:https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.28.491.
  4. Health (2015). Abdominal muscles. [online] Vic.gov.au. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/abdominal-muscles
  5. Athanasios Mandroukas, Yiannis Michailidis, Ángelos Kyranoudis, Kosmas Christoulas and Metaxas, T. (2022). Surface Electromyographic Activity of the Rectus Abdominis and External Oblique during Isometric and Dynamic Exercises. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, [online] 7(3), pp.67–67. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk7030067.
  6. Dong, K., Yu, T. and Chun, B.-O. (2023). Effects of Core Training on Sport-Specific Performance of Athletes: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. [online] 13(2), pp.148–148. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13020148.
  7. Huxel, K.C. and Anderson, B.E. (2013). Core Stability Training for Injury Prevention. Sports Health, [online] 5(6), pp.514–522. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1941738113481200.
  8. Zemková, E. and Ludmila Zapletalová (2021). Back Problems: Pros and Cons of Core Strengthening Exercises as a Part of Athlete Training. [online] 18(10), pp.5400–5400. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105400.
  9. Luca Cavaggioni, Ongaro, L., Emanuela Zannin, F. Marcello Iaia and Alberti, G. (2015). Effects of different core exercises on respiratory parameters and abdominal strength. [online] 27(10), pp.3249–3253. doi:https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.27.3249.
  10. Park, H.-K., Min Whan Jung, Park, E.-K., Lee, C., Jee, Y.-S., Eun, D., Cha, J.-S. and Yoo, J. (2018). The effect of warm-ups with stretching on the isokinetic moments of collegiate men. [online] 14(1), pp.78–82. doi:https://doi.org/10.12965/jer.1835210.605.