5 Core-Strengthening Exercises that Target Your Lower Abs

Use these lower-ab-specific exercises to build overall strength in your core

Catarina Cowden

We aren’t often reminded, but a strong core is actually essential to good overall health.

So while many of us work hard in the gym, including plenty of core training to build abdominal definition, or at least lessen our waistlines, we’re also gaining other benefits, like improved back health, improved balance and stability, improved posture, and increased ease in everyday movement.

You might be thinking, ‘That’s all well and good, but I’m really having trouble losing fat specifically in my lower abs.’

Well, you’re not alone. Many people find that the lower abdominals are what some might call a “trouble spot,” or an area where it’s more difficult to lose fat compared to other parts of the body.

The good news is there are exercises you can do to specifically target the muscles of the lower abdominals. The bad news is that you cannot “spot-reduce” fat. In other words, no mantter how many ab exercises you do, you can't reduce the fat stored in that specific area.

Ab exercises will help to strengthen your abdominal muscles, but alone they will not result in belly fat reduction.

"In order to flatten your stomach, you need to decrease your overall body fat percentage along with the fat layer," says Bowflex Fitness Advisor, Tom Holland. "This comes from a combination of healthy eating and doing regular cardiovascular exercise."

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In the meantime, though, you can target your lower abs and build total core strength by adding these five exercises to your regular workout routine.

1. Captain’s Chair Leg Lift

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With your back flat against the chair, raise your knees up towards your chest, hold for a beat and the lower them all the way down. Make sure to extend your legs fully when you lower them to ensure you reach a full range of motion.

2. V-Up

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Begin lying on your back with your arms extended over your head. Keep your core tight and engage your abdominal muscles to lift your upper body off the ground while also lifting your legs, reaching your fingers towards your toes. Pause for a beat and then slowly return to the starting position.

3. Boat Pose Knee Extension

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Begin in boat pose (pictured above). Keep your arms extended as your slowly lower your feet towards the ground, tapping the floor lightly with the tips of your toes before re-extending your knees to return to the starting position.

4. Stability Ball Knee-Tuck

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Assume a high-plank position with your shins resting on an exercise ball (pictured above). Keep your core tight and a neutral spine as you slowly roll the ball forward by tucking your knees in towards your chest. Pause for a beat and then re-extend your legs to return to the starting position.

5. Boat Pose Crunch

Photo Credit: Catarina Cowden

Begin in boat pose. Keep your core tight and a neutral spine as you slowly extend your legs and lower your torso towards the floor simultaneously. Pause for a beat before returning to the starting position. 


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