Have you attended many fitness classes and done many ab exercises in them but still wondered why your lower ab muscles are not showing? Well, apart from dieting, there may be a few exercises that specifically target the lower ab that you don’t do.
Benefits Of Having A Strong Core
The core is composed of major muscles such as the internal and external obliques, erector spinae, rectus abdominis (normally known as the six-pack), transverse abdominis, and the diaphragm. When these muscles worked together effectively, they allow you to maintain the internal pressure generated, thus stabilize your spine and keep it in a strong and healthy position when performing dynamic exercises.
Having a strong core is no doubt beneficial to all of us. It doesn’t matter if it’s for martial arts, sports such as baseball, golf, and tennis, or doing labor. A strong core will protect and help stabilize the body and the spine; it allows us to move in whatever direction our body needs. A strong core is necessary for athletes to prevent injuries, but aside from sports, a strong core can prevent people from having back pains later in life.
Best Lower Ab Exercises
Now, let’s talk about the lower ab. Most of the time, people wonder why their abs are not showing even though they already finished doing a lot of sit-ups, some may answer back by saying that the abs are made in the kitchen. While there is truth in this, sometimes, working and targeting the specific muscles of the ab may be the one we need to perform. Below are the 10 best lower ab exercises you can perform to reveal your v-taper abs.
1) Mountain Climber
The mountain climber is usually a bodyweight exercise that mimics the action of mountain climbing. To perform the mountain climber, lay down in a push-up position with arms fully extended. Alternatingly lift one knee up to the chest area as explosively as you can. This can be done for 3 sets of 30-60 seconds, depending on the intensity.
2) Bird Dog
One of Dr. Stuart McGill’s big three, the bird dog is an exercise performed on the floor that targets the lower ab, butt, and lower back muscles. To do the bird dog, start in the push-up position. Drop both knees to the floor, slowly straighten your left leg back in the air, and the right hand forward. Alternating your hands and legs, do this about 10 times in 3 sets. Make sure that the torso and hips are aligned throughout the movement.
3) Flutter Kick
As the name suggests, the flutter kick copies the kicking movement in swimming but is performed on dry land. To perform the flutter kick, lay on the floor facing the ceiling with your hands on your lower back or simply to the side of your body. Raise your head at about 4 inches up to contract the core. Once set, straighten your legs and then do kick alternatively continuously. Do this for about 3 sets and 30-60 seconds.
4) Hanging Leg Raise
The hanging leg raise is a difficult, but effective and rewarding exercise when done correctly. To do the hanging leg raises, hang on a bar above the head with an underhand grip for better control. Retract your scapula for better stability and then slowly extend your feet and legs, resulting in a 90-degree bend of your body. It can also be performed higher. Do this for about 3-5 sets of 5-10 rep range depending on your preferred difficulty.
5) Seated Ab Circle
The seated ab circle is a rotational ab exercise. To perform the seated ab circle, sit on the floor, and your glutes must be in contact with the floor. Place your arms at the side of your body, keep your feet and legs together throughout the whole movement. Straighten your legs in front of your body and make a circular motion. Do the circles clockwise and counter-clockwise for about 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.
6) Pike Plank
The pike plank is a more challenging version of the plank exercise. To do the pike plank, start with the normal planking position. Make sure your elbows and feet are in contact with the floor. Slowly raise your hips as high as possible with your glutes facing the ceiling, resulting in a 90-degree bend of the body, and then slowly lower your hips back to the planking position. Do the movement repeatedly for about 3 sets of 30-60 seconds.
7) Reverse Crunch
The reverse crunch is known as one of the most effective ab exercises. To perform the reverse crunch, lay on the floor facing upward with your hands at the side. Bend your knees at about 90-degrees and slowly lift it and your feet and hips off the ground until they reach the chest area, leaving your mid-back in contact with the floor. Do this repeatedly for about 10-15 times for a set of 3.
The jackknife, also known as the v-up, focuses on the lower and upper abdominal muscles. To do the jackknife, lay on the floor with your arms extended above your head and feet slightly lifted off the ground. Straighten and slowly bring your arms from overhead to your knees as you lift your hips and legs, resulting in a 90-degree bend. It can also be done with a straightened leg which will make reaching for the knees more difficult. Do this for about 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
9) Boat Pose
Originally a yoga move, the boat pose is a good exercise in strengthening your lower abs and core muscles. To perform the boat pose, start by laying flat on the floor, and then slowly raise your upper body and legs both to about 45-degrees while your legs are strengthened out. Hold this position for 20 seconds for 3 sets, and gradually increase over time.
10) Bicycle Crunch
The bicycle crunch is a bodyweight exercise that can easily be done by beginners. To do the bicycle crunch, lay on the floor and with your hands interlocked behind the head. Slowly raise your left knee to a 90-degree angle reaching it with your right elbow, and then do it alternately. Do this exercise for 3 sets of 10-20 reps.
Generally, having a strong set of abdominal muscles is definitely a must-have because of the benefits it can offer to our body that can improve our daily life, overall athleticism and prevent injury and discomfort down the road.
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