We all want to have strong lower abs.
But, what is the best lower ab workout? What exercises target the lower abs?
In this lower ab workout guide, we will discuss how to structure the best lower ab workout and provide step-by-step instructions for the following best lower ab exercises:
- Alternating Toe Touches
- Dumbbell V Ups
- Russian Twists
- Reverse Crunches
- Hanging Leg Raises
- Mountain Climbers With Ankle Weights
- Dead Bugs
Let’s dive in!
What Are the Best Lower Ab Exercises?
The lower abs are part of the larger rectus abdominis muscle.
Therefore, exercises for lower abs muscles will also inherently work the upper and middle portions of the rectus abdominis and other ab muscles, such as the internal and external obliques on the sides of your abs and the deep transversus abdominis.
In other words, you can’t isolate just your lower abs with a lower abs exercise (since there is no separate “lower abs muscle”), but you can target the lower abs or lower portion of the abs muscles with the best lower abs exercises.
To that end, the best lower ab workouts should deliberately work other portions of the abdominal muscles and core muscles.
These include the pelvic floor muscles, hip flexors, deep iliopsoas muscle, and deep spinal stabilizers such as the multifidus muscle group and even the superficial erector spinae group along the lumbar spine.
This is because in order to have functionally strong lower abs, your entire core needs to be strong and work as a cohesive unit.The transversus abdominis is particularly important in providing core stability and helping you engage your lower abs muscles during exercises and functional activities of everyday living.
As such, our lower abs workout will include the best lower abs exercises as well as some of the best core exercises to support your gains in lower ab definition and strength.
7 Lower Ab Exercises: Try These Stomach-Busting Lower Ab Workouts
Try to complete 2-3 sets of these lower ab workouts exercises in your workouts. As you get stronger, add more reps or add weights to increase the resistance.
Beginners should aim to do this lower ab workout twice a week, and as you get stronger, try to work up to 3-4 times per week if possible.
Here are some of the best lower ab exercises for a well-rounded, challenging lower ab workout routine:
#1: Alternating Toe Touches
This is one of the best lower ab exercises for beginners. As you get stronger, you can reach up towards both legs at once.
Here are the steps:
- Lie on your back with your arms extended straight above your head flat on the floor and your legs straight.
- Crunch up by engaging your abs, simultaneously lifting your right arm up towards your left foot as you bring the left leg straight up into the air until it’s perpendicular to the floor.
- Squeeze your abs as your hand and foot make contact, and then return to the starting position.
- Alternate sides between reps.
- To make the exercise more challenging, do not allow your limbs to rest completely on the floor in between each rep. Hover them above the ground.
#2: Dumbbell V Ups
This is an advanced exercise for the lower abs. Beginners can start without the dumbbell.
Here are the steps to perform this lower ab exercise:
- Lie on your back with your arms extended over your head, holding a single dumbbell between your two hands (one cupping either end).
- Use your core to simultaneously lift your legs and upper body off the floor, folding your body at your hips into a V.
- Pause and then slowly lower your body back towards the floor without fully touching it.
- Then, squeeze your abs to lift back up.
#3: Russian Twists
The Russian twist is one of the best lower ab exercises because you have to hold a V-sit position. You’ll also work your deep core muscles and obliques.
Make sure to keep your core tight the entire time so that your back stays straight. You do not want to round your lower back.
Here are the steps:
- Sit on the floor and lean your torso back as you lift your feet off the ground, keeping your knees bent in a tuck position. Hold a medicine ball, kettlebell, or dumbbell between both hands.
- Keeping your core tight, twist your upper body towards one side, bringing the weight to hover above the floor on that side of your hips.
- Engage your obliques to rotate the other way. Make sure to squeeze your lower abs to keep your legs drawn up and your body in a stable V-sit position.
- Keep slowly rotating back and forth for 30-60 seconds.
#4: Reverse Crunches
Reverse crunches are one of the most effective lower ab exercises. The key is to squeeze your lower abs and keep your lower back in full contact with the ground (do not arch up).
- Lie on your back with your hips flexed so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor, your knees are up in the air bent to 90 degrees, and your shins are parallel to the ground up in the air. Rest your arms at your sides.
- Draw your belly button in towards your spine and engage your abs while you slowly lower both legs in tandem towards the ground, maintaining the bend in your knees and a tight abdomen.
- Gently tap your heels on the floor and then lift your leg back up to the starting position using only your core muscles.
#5: Hanging Leg Raises
This is one of the best lower abs workouts exercises because you have to lift your legs against the force of gravity.
Additionally, you will strengthen your upper body and grip strength muscles.
An easier alternative for beginner lower ab workouts is the captain’s chair exercise, which still targets the lower abs but doesn’t require hanging and holding up your body weight with your hands or stabilizing your body in space.
Here is how to do this challenging lower ab exercise:
- Jump up and grab onto a pull-up bar or the bar at the top of a squat rack with your palms facing forward.
- Hang fully extended, holding your upper body and torso as still as possible.
- Engage your abs to draw your legs up towards your chest, keeping your knees as straight as possible (pike position). You can bend your knees so that you’re in a tuck position if you are not strong enough.
- If you do the tuck position, bring your knees all the way to your chest, and if you do a pike hanging leg raise, bring your legs up as high as you can, ideally at least until your body forms a 90-degree angle.
- Hold the top position for 2–3 seconds, and then slowly lower your legs.
- Complete 12-15 reps.
#6: Mountain Climbers With Ankle Weights
Mountain climbers are one of the best lower ab exercises.
Adding the ankle weights increases the resistance at the end of the long lever of your legs to help strengthen the lower abs and hip flexors.
Here are the steps:
- Get into a push-up position with your core and glutes engaged and your hands stacked under your shoulders wearing ankle weights (if you are strong enough).
- Pressing your weight into your hands, alternate bending each knee and bringing the leg up under your chest between your arms and then returning it to the starting position. Be sure to maintain good form with your hips in line with your body. Do not lift your butt up into the air or allow your hips to sag.
- Move as fast and hard as you can for 60 seconds.
#7: Dead Bugs
This lower ab workout exercise is a good beginner alternative to reverse crunches.
Here are the steps:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent to 90 degrees, shins parallel to the floor, and arms pointing straight up towards the ceiling.
- Inhale, engaging your abs, then slowly lower one foot towards the floor until your toe nearly taps down while simultaneously extending the opposite arm straight back behind you towards the floor without touching it.
- Keep the other leg and arm steady at the starting position.
- Raise the leg and arm back to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg and arm.
- Alternate sides with each rep, moving slowly and with control.
For more core workout ideas, check out our guide here.