Best lower abs workout for a six-pack

The best home and gym lower abs workout

Do this 10-minute lower abs workout at home or in the gym to start to sculpt a rock hard six-pack, says New Body Plan creator and Men’s Fitness cover model Jon Lipsey

When you start to get lean, you upper abs are the first ones that become visible. But the lower down your mid-section you go, the harder it is to make your abs pop. That’s why this lower abs workout is so useful. It’s a dedicated circuit that you can add to the end of your session that will target those elusive muscles. 

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When should you do a lower abs workout?

You wouldn’t do an entire session of lower abs exercises. You’d pick two or three to do at the end of a session. You can choose exercises that target different parts of the abs. You could pick one upper abs move, one side abs exercise and one lower abs lift, such as the reverse curl. In the examples below, we’ve picked three moves that all hit the lower abs. That gives them the time and attention they need to complete your six pack.

How often should you do it?

You can do the lower abs workouts below once or twice a week. More isn’t always better because your muscles need time to recover in order to get bigger and stronger. You should also do moves that work the other parts of your abs and core to get a balanced physique. 

What’s the key to a good lower abs workout?

The secret is to select the best lower abs exercises to work these muscles through a wide range of different positions. So you’ll want a mix of moves with either your legs straight or your knees bent. You could also add in hanging moves, such as the hanging leg raise, or unilateral moves. A mix of exercises is key to activating the maximum humber of muscle fibres, which helps to maximise muscle size and definition. 

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The best gym lower abs workout

This lower abs workout involves a range of exercise gear so it’s suitable for a gym or a well-equipped home gym set-up. 

1. Garhammer raise

• Hang from a bar with your arms straight.
• Bend your knees at 90 degrees and raise your thighs so they are parallel to the floor. This is your starting position.
• Contract your abs to raise your knees towards your chest.
• Lower under control to the start position and repeat the exercise. 

2. Flat bench lying leg raise

• Lie on your back on a bench
Grab the end of the bench with both hands behind your head for support.
Start with your legs straight and hanging down slightly off the end of the bench.
• Contract your abs to raise your legs into the air until they are vertical.
• Lower your legs to the start position, keeping them straight throughout the rep. 

3. Medicine ball reverse crunch

Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor.
• Position a light medicine ball between your knees.
• Contract your abs to raise your feet and hips off the floor.
• Lower under control and repeat the movement. 

How to do it: Do each exercise in order without resting to complete one round.

Experience level: Beginners
• 20 seconds per exercise
• 60 seconds rest between rounds
• 3 rounds in total

Experience level: Intermediate
• 20 seconds per exercise
• 30 seconds between rounds
• 4 rounds in total

Experience level: Advanced
• 30 seconds per exercise
• 30 seconds rest between rounds
4 rounds in total


The best home lower abs workout

This lower abs workout doesn’t require any kit so you can do it any time, anywhere. 

1. Reverse crunch

• Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your hands by your sides for balance.
• Contract your abdominal muscles to curl your hips off the floor a couple of inches.
• Lower back to the start, keeping tension on the abs throughout the rep. 

2. Lying leg raise

• Start by lying on your back with your legs straight.
• Contract the abs to raise your legs into the air until they are vertical.
• Lower your legs to the floor, keeping them straight throughout the rep.
• To make the move more challenging, don’t let your heels touch the floor between reps. 

3. Scissor kicks

• Start in the same position as the lying leg raise.
• Raise one leg off the floor.
• As you lower your raised leg, raise the other leg and move them in alternate directions.
• Avoid your heels hitting the floor while you’re doing the move. 

How to do it: Do each exercise in order without resting to complete one round.

Experience level: Beginners
• 20 seconds per exercise
• 60 seconds rest between rounds
• 3 rounds in total

Experience level: Intermediate
• 20 seconds per exercise
• 30 seconds between rounds
• 4 rounds in total

Experience level: Advanced
• 30 seconds per exercise
• 30 seconds rest between rounds
• 4 rounds in total


Lower abs workout tips

Focus on the quality of contraction

Abdominal exercises are all about the quality of contraction rather than the number of reps. Your aim should be to remain in complete control of the exercise. Don’t just bang out as many reps as you can do in the allotted time. 

Lower slowly for maximum effect

It’s easy to just focus on the contraction phase of a rep and forget about the extension. But the extension (lowering) phase is half of the rep, which makes it a big opportunity for muscle growth. To make the most of your lower abs workout, make sure that on exercises such as leg raises you don’t let gravity take over. Lower slowly under control to keep tension on the muscle. 

Breathe out before each rep

Breathing out before you start each rep will help you to fully contract the abs. The action of exhaling sharply through the mouth will encourage the activation of the abdominal muscles. 

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