There’s always been a never-ending controversy when it comes to targeting your lower abs. That’s why we’re going into how this best lower ab workout can prove these non-believers wrong.
There’s no denying that it’s likely to be the bottom of a six-pack that many fitness enthusiasts struggle with.
Before we go into a brief physiology lesson, let’s take a look at what these lower ab skeptics are advocating.
Firstly, they argue that your lower abs are merely a part of your rectus abdominis or your “abdominal muscles.” Depending on the tension applied, your rectus abdominis will either contract or not because it is deemed as one muscle and functions as a single unit.
Well, it is true that your rectus abdominis is one long muscle comprised of your upper and lower abs. So, there aren’t movements that totally separate each set of abs individually, although you may feel the pressure more so in one part than another.
However, there really are exercises you can master to help make your lower abs pop (more on these in a bit).
Secondly, these lower ab non-believers may also argue that when you’re doing lower ab workouts, you’re actually feeling just your hip flexors. Therefore, they believe that lower ab exercises aren’t that effective for your core at all.
Why You CAN Target Your Lower Abs
Now here’s where they’re wrong.
When you’re attempting to target your lower abs, one determining factor in muscle building is the angle of the tension or pressure. This will greatly affect which muscle fibers you’re working during the movement.
Your entire abs may be strongly engaged but your movement and resistance will influence the different fibers and segments of a particular muscle group separately.
This is simply the concept behind bodybuilding. It also explains why switching things up in your choice of exercises is crucial to keep moving forward and crush your physique-related goals.
What exactly is the effect of the angle of the tension or load? Notice the effects of the decline, flat, and incline bench press movements. The pec major should contract when you perform these exercises. However, the muscle fibers affected most vary for each of these movements.
For instance, the decline bench is set to target the lower fibers whereas the incline bench will work the upper fibers. The middle fibers will be actively engaged by the flat bench.
When targeting your abs, you’re basically applying a similar idea. Although the upper fibers of your abs plus your hip flexors are effectively engaged as you work your lower abs, this doesn’t mean that the lower fibers of your rectus abdominis are not being stimulated for growth.
Targeting the Lower Abs
As I’ve mentioned, the rectus abdominis is one large muscle that’s most visible in your middle. It runs from your sternum down to your pelvis. A wide tendon known as the linea alba runs down in the middle of this muscle. Several tendons are also spread out from side to side.
Switch things up in your routine. Bring a shock to your core with new movements that will certainly help target your lower abs.
Exercises that emphasize posterior rotation of the hips and spinal flexion are the movements that directly target your lower abs. It’s important to keep in mind that posterior rotation of the hips is crucial when working the lower abs.
These crucial moves can be done as you bend your knees bringing them up towards your sternum allowing you to lift your hips. Basically, you are drawing your ribs closer to your pelvis. You also want to make sure you are resisting spinal extension (arching of the lower back) as you lower your knees back down to the starting position.
In addition, incorporate exercises that simultaneously work your rectus abdominis and obliques (the sides of your core) for proper measure.
As you train your lower abs, make sure you keep your transverse abdominis stimulated. Think of this muscle group as a weight belt that pulls your abdomen inward.
As a result, it enables the lower fibers on your rectus abdominis to be greatly engaged to a large extent especially when going into spinal flexion.
To prepare yourself for the best lower ab workout, you can perform daily exercises that hit both the upper and lower abs.
The majority of these muscle fibers are aerobic-based, often referred to as endurance muscles. You can work them out daily and frequently without necessarily overtraining them.
As you perform these movements, you must focus on quality rather than quantity. This is particularly helpful when it comes to engaging the hard-to-reach lower abs.
If you have always aimed at keeping a straight back when lifting the knees during leg raises, you’re just reducing the tension throughout your rectus abdominis, especially in the lower abs and mainly targeting the hip flexors. In order to hit those lower abs properly, you must have spinal flexion in the upper portion of the movement.
Proper Knee Raise to Target Your Lower Abs
One of the most basic moves you can ever master is the knee raise.
The knee raise effectively works your rectus abdominis and your hip flexors. Your rectus abdominis stabilizes your core during the knee raise. Your hip flexors are responsible for bringing up your knees.
Check out this video below that shows the proper form in a knee raise in order to target your lower abs properly and not just your hip flexors.
Remember, do NOT simply let your legs drop or else you will lose much of this movement’s benefit. Gradually return your legs to the initial position. Never do this exercise as fast as possible or even swing your legs up and down. This will utilize momentum instead of muscle to carry out the move.
Best Lower Ab Workouts
Finally, to begin working your abs and fixing your form, here’s a lower ab workout that you can easily perform even with no equipment at all. It’s comprised of mountain climbers, reverse crunches, flutter kicks, seated side to sides, raised knee to elbow, and plank jumping in and out.
If you have access to a pull-up bar and want to incorporate leg lift exercises into your routine, you can also have a go at these powerful lower ab moves. These include reverse crunches, leg lift extensions, mountain climbers, air sprints, and ankle to bars.
Of course, although you’re focusing on your lower abs with training, if you’re not lean enough, then no number of reps and sets work will place your abs in good form. You should definitely monitor and keep your body fat in check.
Related: The Complete Guide To 6 Pack Abs
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Hi, I’m David and I believe absolutely anyone can achieve the body of their dreams. I’m a qualified health and fitness coach and have been helping clients achieve their dream bodies for 15 years. Whether you are looking to get beach body ready, compete in a bodybuilding show or simply to improve your confidence and wellbeing, I can help.