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The Best Lower Ab Exercises You Can Do At Home

the-best-lower-ab-exercises-you-can-do-at-home
It’s no exaggeration to call the lower abs the most sought after group of muscles on the human body. Man or woman, old or young-a flat belly is something most people desire. And having strong abs and a flat midsection is not only nice to look at, but good for us, too. Strong lower abs help improve our posture and keep other joints healthy. But building a nice set of lower abs requires hard work and discipline, during workouts *and* in the kitchen. If you’re looking to improve your lower abs, it would help to start with some effective <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZjFDJI4B4l16uujibduMFA/videos"><strong>at-home workouts</strong></a>. In this complete guide, we’ll talk about everything related to your lower abdominals. You’ll learn the the seven best lower ab exercises, how to do them, and why toning your abs is challenging (and what to do about it). <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/lower-abs-diagram-arrow-pointing.jpg" alt="lower-abs-diagram-arrow-pointing"> </div> <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">What Are Your Lower Ab Muscles Called?</p></h4> The name for your lower abdominal muscles-that part we’re all striving to develop-is the *transverse abdominis*. Notice how there are six abs above the transverse abdominis. Those are what we call a ‘six pack’. But actually, your abs have eight muscles. To the sides, you also have your lower oblique muscles. These help you stabilize your core and perform movements that require rotation. Exercises like side planks make them stronger. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Why Is Toning My Lower Abs So Hard?</p></h4> Toning your lower ab muscles is difficult for three reasons. <h5><p style="color: #000000">1. Genetics</p></h5> Depending on your genetics, your body may be wired (or prone to) storing fat near your lower abs. In fact, depending on if you’re a man or woman, you are more genetically predisposed to storing fat in your lower abdominal section (see below). <h5><p style="color: #000000">Fat Patterning: Gynoid vs. Android</p></h5> Did you know men and women store their fat in different places? In fact, your gender helps determine where you store your excess fat<sup>1</sup>. Men have what’s called *android fat patterning*. This means body fat tends to store in the midsection, covering the abs, lower back, obliques. Women have *gynoid fat patterning*. Their body fat tends to store in their hips, thighs, and sometimes, lower abdominals. You can almost guarantee when you tell a woman about gynoid fat patterning that her reply will be, “*Oh, well lucky us*!” <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/vegetables-in-circle-on-table-lower-abs.jpg" alt="vegetables-in-circle-on-table-lower-abs"> </div> <h5><p style="color: #000000">2. Diet</p></h5> Because genetics are at play, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/"><strong>healthy eating</strong></a> significantly factors in when talking about creating a flat midsection. If you can’t see your abs, it’s often due to a higher body fat percentage. The lower abs are typically the last ones to appear and only do so when you decrease body fat. The actual amount varies by person. By the way, we can’t think of a better tool than a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101-a-beginners-guide/"><strong>cyclical ketogenic diet</strong></a> for dropping body-fat.. <h5><p style="color: #000000">3. Exercise (Activating Your Core)</p></h5> So you get your nutrition under control and slim down. But you still can’t see your abs. *What gives*? We’ve talked about how exercising and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/top-7-post-workout-foods-for-lean-muscle/"><strong>adding lean muscle</strong></a> has a snowball effect. When you add lean muscle, you <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/"><strong>burn more calories doing nothing</strong></a>. It’s clear that this is beneficial for fat-loss. But there’s more to it than that. Many people don’t activate their core when they exercise. Instead of using their abs, obliques, and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/top-5-exercises-to-strengthen-your-lower-back/"><strong>lower back</strong></a>, they put a lot of pressure on their <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/3-low-impact-exercises-for-bad-knees/"><strong>knees</strong></a>, shoulders, and hips. Activating your core is essential for creating a nice-looking midsection, as well as having good posture and core strength. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Activating Your Core: What You Need To Know</p></h4> A disengaged core might be the result of you slouching over a desk, not exercising, or having pre-existing injuries. And if you’re core isn’t doing its job, the rest of your body suffers. The core muscles-your abs, lower back, hips, and obliques—serve as the foundation for all human movement. When we walk, stretch, and pick things up, we’re supposed to use our core. If we don’t we create muscle imbalances in our shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles that result in pain and injuries later. *Core activation* means using your abdominal muscles to perform movements. Seems simple, but it’s very important. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">What Is the Most Effective Ab Workout?</p></h4> The most effective ab workouts force all the muscles in your midsection to work together. Whether working together means moving (like with the reverse crunch) or stabilizing (like with <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/plank-exercises-to-activate-your-core/"><strong>planks</strong></a>), your abs should be firing as a unit. This will help develop strong and even core muscles. Still, you don’t have to do ab-only exercises to get strong abs. While they work great for developing your core-especially the exercise progressions we’ll go over in the next section-<a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/the-best-full-body-workout-for-weight-loss/"><strong>full-body movements</strong></a> (e.g. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUT0f9P7GpQ&t=208s"><strong>squats and push-ups</strong></a>) also train your abs. If your goal is strong lower abs and a flat midsection, it might help to work them on their own. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Best Lower Ab Exercises You Can Do At Home</p></h4> Here are the best lower ab exercises you can do right in your living room. There are two beginner, two intermediate, and three advanced exercises in the progression. Each exercise also comes with a workout challenge you can try today! <h4><p style="color: #000000">Beginner</p></h4> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> <h5><p style="color: #000000">1. Elevators</p></h5> Starting position is on your back with your index fingers placed on your lower abs, pointing at your belly. Placement is important for this exercise. Taking a breath in, then make your lower abs rise, pushing your fingers up as you go. The goal is to create pressure by making your abs flex. Exhale then repeat. Think of your finger as a person on an elevator. You will notice this exercise does a nice job of engaging your lower abs. You’ll use the same cues in more advanced ab exercises in this progression to create tension in those muscles. </div> </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> <b>Ab Workout Challenge</b>: Do ten elevators during every commercial break of your favorite TV show this evening. </div> <img style="width:50%; margin-left:25%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/KNEELING_PLANK.gif" alt="KNEELING_PLANK"> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> <h5><p style="color: #000000">2. Kneeling Planks</p></h5> Kneeling planks give you all the benefits of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/plank-exercises-to-activate-your-core/"><strong>full planks</strong></a> but allow you to ease into the movement. The starting position is the “hollow” position. Above, you’ll notice Coach Tyler is squeezing his glutes and has his pelvis forward. It looks almost as if he is slouching, but he isn’t. He’s flexing his abs and squeezing his glutes. Your elbows should set up under your shoulders. All good planks have one thing in common: your body is in a straight line. From your knees to your neck, fight to stay in one line. Avoid sagging hips to the ground (like you’re stretching your back) or piking your butt up toward the sky when you get tired. </div> </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> <b>Ab Workout Challenge</b>: Work up to three sets of thirty seconds holding a kneeling plank. Rest one minute, then do two more sets. And once you can do this, move onto full planks! </div> <h4><p style="color: #000000">Intermediate</p></h4> <img style="width:50%; margin-left:25%;" class="img-fluid" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/REVERSE_CRUNCHES.gif" alt="REVERSE_CRUNCHES"> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> <h5><p style="color: #000000">4. Reverse Crunches</p></h5> The starting position for reverse crunches is on your back, feet flat on the floor. Think about ‘gluing’ your lower back to the ground. When you do this, your abs should flex. This helps you to activate your core and not overwork your lower back. Place your hands under your butt and bring your heels off the floor towards your face (see GIF above). Keep your feet off the floor as you return to the starting position to finish a rep. </div> </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> <b>Ab Workout Challenge</b>: Do 20 reverse crunches, then rest for sixty seconds. Repeat two more times. </div> <h4><p style="color: #000000">Advanced</p></h4> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> <h5><p style="color: #000000">5. Slightly Bent Leg Raises</p></h5> Lying on the floor with your legs extended, glue your lower back to the floor. This activates your core. Now, think about (or review) the same cues as the elevator exercise to engage your lower abs. </div> <div class="text-left my-5" style="width: 80%; margin-left:10%;"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/slightly-bent-1.jpg" alt="slightly-bent-1"> </div> </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> In this starting position, you can place your hands underneath your butt or to the side during this exercise. Sometimes people find placing their hands under their butt helps ease back pain. </div> <div class="text-left my-5" style="width: 70%; margin-left:15%;"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/slightly-bent-2.png" alt="slightly-bent-2"> </div> </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> Begin by raising your heels off the ground. In this variation of leg raises, allow a slight bend in your knees. This makes it a little easier to raise your legs off the floor. Come up six to twelve inches off the floor then go back down. To make these more challenging, don’t rest your heels on the floor between reps. Instead, hover just above the ground or gently “kiss” the ground. </div> </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> <b>Ab Workout Challenge</b>: Do three sets of ten slightly bent leg raises. Rest 1 to 2 minutes between sets. </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> <h5><p style="color: #000000">6. Straight Leg Raises</p></h5> Use all the same cues for straight leg raises as with slightly bent leg raises. The only difference is that when your legs come off the floor, you’ll lock your knees. From feet to hips, your legs should be all be in one line. This makes your lower abs work very hard. </div> <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/slightly-bent-3.png" alt="slightly-bent-3"> </div> </div> <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/straight-leg-raise-2.jpg" alt="straight-leg-raise-2"> </div> </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> If these feel uncomfortable, do more sets of slightly bent leg raises or mix them into your sets as you fatigue. </div> </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> <b>Ab Workout Challenge</b>: Do three sets of ten straight leg raises. Rest 1 to 2 minutes between sets. </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> <h5><p style="color: #000000">7. Ceiling Stomps</p></h5> Ceiling stomps are the final exercise we have for your lower abs. They are seriously challenging, so don’t sweat it if you can’t do them yet! </div> </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> Ceiling stomps progress off the slightly bent leg raises, too. In the starting position, your back is flat on the floor and your lower abs are tight. Bring your bent legs off the floor. This time, instead of stopping a foot or so off the floor, your goal is to bring your feet up towards the sky and “stomp the ceiling”. </div> </div> <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/tyler-ceiling-stomp-down.jpg" alt="tyler-ceiling-stomp-down"> </div> </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> In the top position you will look like an ‘L’. Bring your feet back to the starting position and repeat. The final step in the progression is to straighten your bent legs as you move into the ‘L’ shape. But again, don’t worry if you aren’t there yet. </div> <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/tyler-ceiling-stomp-up.jpg" alt="tyler-ceiling-stomp-up"> </div> </div> <div style="padding-left:30px;"> <b>Ab Workout Challenge</b>: Do three sets of ten ceiling stomps. Rest 1 to 2 minutes between sets. </div> <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Wrapping Up</p></h4> Of all the muscle groups, our lower abs are the ones most sought after. And as you now know, the trick to getting lower abs is to eat clean and exercise. Not only do abs look good, they help improve your posture and keep the rest of your body’s joints-like your knees and shoulders-healthy and functioning. The seven lower ab exercises in this article will strengthen your transverse abdominis; giving you something to show off after you’ve completed your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/"><strong>total body transformation</strong></a>. For more at-home workouts, check out <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/"><strong>Warrior Made</strong></a>’s <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZjFDJI4B4l16uujibduMFA/videos"><strong>YouTube Channel</strong></a> and the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/"><strong>exercise section</strong></a> of our blog. From daily workouts to full guides on training major muscle groups, we’ve got all the information you need to start your body transformation journey today! <h5><p style="color: #000000">Resources</p></h5> 1. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fat-distribution">Everything Body Fat Distribution Tells You About You</a>

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