If you want to have a truly impressive midsection, you need a to develop a solid six-pack set of abs on top set off by a lean, tapering “V” in your lower abs. Assuming you keep your bodyfat levels in check, most guys don’t have much trouble bulging out those upper ab muscles, but are there specific exercises that can help you sculpt your lower midsection?
While some trainers debate whether you can even target one area of abs over another, the fact is that there are movements that guys have used for years to carve in details from their belly buttons on down.
With that in mind, here are the 3 best lower abs exercises at home.
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Lie on your back on a bench (or the floor) and reach your arms over your head to grab the padded sides (or just place your hands on the floor). Bring your knees directly over your hips and let your knees bend to a natural degree — generally, there is no need to hold them at a 90-degree angle, but you can adjust the resistance on your abs by changing this angle.
Slowly contract your lower abs to lift your bottom off the bench or floor and then continue the curl until your knees are near your head. Contract hard in this finishing position, then smoothly turn the movement around and return to the starting position. Repeat for as many reps as possible in good form.
You can add resistance by changing the angle of the bench or using ankle weights.
Hanging Leg Raises
Grab an overhead bar with a shoulder-width — or slightly wider — overhand grip and and hang from the bar so that your feet are just off the floor. Using the power of your lower abs, begin to raise your feet in an arc toward your head, keeping your legs straight and bending only at the hips and through the curling of your spine. You may need to “kip” just a bit to get your legs past the sticking point around the time when they are parallel to the floor, but try to keep the movement smooth. Bring your feet up as high as possible, pause for a moment, then lower slowly to the starting position.
This is a fairly difficult and advanced move that you can make easier through any one of several possible modifications:
- Bend your knees and curl them into your chest rather than trying to lift your feet all the way up.
- Use a lower-abs stand instead of a hanging bar, so that you support your body on your elbows while performing the exercise.
- Perform leg raises on an incline bench rather than hanging from a bar.
Most lower-abs exercises are compound movements because they involve your powerful hip flexors. One way to isolate those lowers is to make them do what they’re really meant to do: tip your hips forward to flatten the curve in your lower back.
To perform hip tips, lie flat on your back and extend your legs straight overhead OR extend your thighs and bend your knees at a natural angle. The important point is that your thighs should be perpendicular to your torso.
You should feel a small hollow in your lower back, the place where it rises off the floor due to your back and buttocks muscles. Now, attempt to flatten out that curve and make your lower back touch the floor or bench by focusing on slowly contracting your lower abs. It will be a very small movement, but you should feel a powerful contraction in your in your abs down near your groin. Squeeze hard in this position, then release and let your lower back round again.
It’s important to note that this is NOT a reverse crunch or trunk curl, so your hips need to stay in contact with the floor the whole time.
If you’ve had trouble getting your lower abs to engage and stand out like you want them to, give these exercises a shot and see if you can’t build your own sexy “V” below your belly button!