The Best Lower Ab Exercises!

If there was just one area on your body that you could change, what would it be? If you are like the majority of clients I have worked with over the years, it would be the lower portion of your abs (around your belly button level).

Droves of “lower ab bulge” sufferers have come in to see me, begging me to help them lose that extra bit of fat that sits stubbornly on their lower abs. Before I show them actual exercises to help them, I clarify a couple of points first.

Anatomically speaking, there is actually no such thing as “upper abs” and “lower abs”. In fact, the entire region that we consider the “six pack” is made up of one muscle, called the rectus abdominis.

The rectus extends the whole length of the front of the abdomen. Whether or not it is possible for a particular exercise to train just one region of the rectus is a highly controversial issue amongst fitness experts.

I will now put an end to that heated controversy once and for all! The truth is that no ab exercise can isolate and train just one section of the rectus muscle. However, some recent research shows that you can put greater emphasis on a particular area of the rectus, based on your exercise selection.

The researchers who discovered this fact used EMG studies to measure muscle fiber activity during different abdominal exercises. Their findings were interesting. They discovered that abdominal exercises involving more hip flexion (i.e. reverse crunches) activated the lower portion of the rectus more than ab exercises that involved more trunk flexion (i.e. crunches).

Before we go any further, let me give you a brief definition of what a "hip flexion dominant" exercise is:

Hip Flexion “Lower Ab” Exercises -
Hip flexion dominant movements involve bringing your thighs towards your trunk. These movements primarily work your rectus abdominis (and more specifically target the lower portion of it).

For years now, bodybuilders have claimed to get more sore in the lower portion of the abs when performing hip flexion dominant exercises. The scientific studies I just mentioned support this claim.

Alright, now for the good stuff! I’m going to share with you some of the best lower ab exercises around. I’ll also include a detailed description so you can perform each technique properly. Here they are, from easiest to most difficult:

Low Ball Pull In-
Start in a push-up position with your feet on a Swiss Ball. Do not let your hips sag. Pull your knees in directly towards your chest while maintaining a neutral spine. Contract your abs. Extend your legs until they are straight and in the starting position. Repeat.

Hanging Knee Raise- Grasp a chin up bar with an overhand grip. Initiating movement with your abs, raise your knees up until they are almost touching your chest. Return until your waist, hips, and knees are extended and vertical. Repeat for the prescribed number of reps.

Rocky Abs- Lie on your back on a bench. Reach above your head and grab onto the underside of the bench to brace yourself. Lift your legs up until your hips (and legs) are at a 90 degree angle with your torso. Now lift your hips straight up, bringing your feet towards the ceiling.

At this point, the only parts of your body that should be on the bench are your head, shoulders and UPPER back. This is the starting position. Now lower your legs until they are parallel to the floor, while keeping your hips up and off the bench. Return them to starting position and repeat.

There you have it! These three “lower ab exercises” are some of my favorites. I must warn you that they are not easy movements. They require hard work. But I promise that the hard work will pay off and you’ll soon be on your way to a great six pack!

Related article: Best Abdominal Exercises You've Never Tried.

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