What are the Best Lower Abdominal Exercises?

Dan Cavallari

The lower abdominal muscles are a particularly difficult group of muscles to tone and strengthen through traditional ab exercises, but some simple exercises can improve the look and feel of the lower abs, thereby strengthening core muscles and contributing to overall health. Lower abdominal exercises are surprisingly simple to do, and they can often be done at home with little or no specialized equipment. The key to lower abdominal exercises is executing them consistently and often, so coming up with a consistent workout routine will help immensely.

Regular ab workouts and a healthy diet can lead to a toned core.
Regular ab workouts and a healthy diet can lead to a toned core.

A good starting point for a routine of lower abdominal exercises is the leg crunch. One should begin by lying on his or her back and placing the hands beneath the buttocks to prevent undue stress on the lower back. Once comfortable, one should lift his or her legs so the thighs are vertical and the lower legs below the knee are horizontal to the ground. Then, he or she should slowly lower the legs until the soles of the feet are flat on the ground. Repeat several times slowly. This, like other lower abdominal exercises, should be executed slowly so that momentum does not render the exercise ineffective.

Leg lifts can round out a good routine of lower abdominal exercises.
Leg lifts can round out a good routine of lower abdominal exercises.

Other lower abdominal exercises begin in the same position as the one mentioned above. Leg walks begin in the same position: lying on one's back, a person should raise one leg until it is vertical or close to vertical. Then, one should slowly lower that leg to the ground while lifting the other leg to the same position. Again, it is important to execute this exercise slowly so the lower abdominal muscle remains engaged and does not succumb to momentum.

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To work the lower oblique muscles in the abs, try lower leg scissors. Starting from the lying down position, raise both legs until they are about two feet (0.6 meters) off the ground. Then, cross one leg over the other slowly, while maintaining the leg height off the ground. Retreat back to the original position and repeat with the other leg. One should be sure to keep the knee from bending while executing this exercise. Repeat several times and then rest.

Leg lifts can round out a good routine of lower abdominal exercises. Start lying on the ground with the hands beneath the buttocks. Then raise both legs up to as close to a vertical position as possible. Next, slowly lower the legs until they are just a few inches (centimeters) off the ground. Hold them there for a few seconds, then rest. Repeat this exercise several times.

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