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The best lower ab workouts to help you achieve V-cut abs

These lower ab workouts will have you looking (and feeling) great

Sport man doing abs crunches exercise, fitness workout at gym. Black male athlete exercising on yoga mat, doing abdomen muscle training indoors
Puhhha / Adobe Stock

Very few people can deny the aesthetic of a six-pack paired with a V-cut of chiseled and toned abs. Unfortunately, this look can be extremely hard to achieve, even if you spend a decent amount of time working out and eating healthily. This is where an effective lower ab workout comes in.

The benefits of lower ab exercises go well beyond aesthetics and have the potential to give you the muscle tone and definition that you’re looking for (and, let’s face it, a lot of this comes down to what you’re eating and your overall body fat percentage). More importantly, lower ab exercises help build a strong core, which is critical for overall athletic performance, balance, posture, functional strength, and injury prevention. Below, we share some of the best lower ab workouts for men to help you get a strong, sculpted core.

Kegel exercises for men strengthen the pelvic floor.
Christian Buehner / Unsplash

Ab contractions

This is one of the most basic exercises to lose belly fat, and it can be a good start to your workout.

Equipment needed: None required (though a yoga mat would be helpful)
Reps:
 1
Sets: 
1-3

Execution:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat.
  2. Push your back into the ground and bring your belly button to your spine by tightening your core.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds and then relax, remembering to take deep breaths while you are holding. You can start with shorter hold times if you find 30 seconds is too long.
  4. Repeat 1-3 times.
Man doiing a plank exercise.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Low plank with alternating leg lifts

Planks are a great core-strengthening move, and this modification targets the lower abs and obliques.

Equipment needed: None
Reps: 25
Sets: 3

Execution:

  1. Get in a pushup position, except place your forearms on the ground with your elbows under your shoulders instead of weight-bearing through your hands. Make sure your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  2. Breathe, drawing your abdomen in and pulling your belly button toward your spine.
  3. Lift one foot slightly off the ground, bend the knee, and draw your knee up and out to the side like a frog.
  4. Alternate legs, moving slowly.
Woman doingcrunches
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Crunches

Weighted reverse crunches

Reverse crunches are one of the most effective lower ab exercises. The key is to squeeze your lower abs and keep your lower back in full contact with the ground (do not arch up). Beginners can skip the weight, but as you get stronger, add ankle weights or a small medicine ball between your knees for added difficulty.

Equipment needed: Ankle weights or a small medicine ball
Reps: 25
Sets: 3

Execution:

  1. Lie on your back with your hips flexed so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor, your knees are up in the air bent to 90 degrees, and your shins are parallel to the ground up in the air.
  2. Place your arms by your sides and squeeze a small medicine ball between your knees.
  3. Draw your belly button in and engage your abs while you slowly lower both legs in tandem toward the ground, maintaining the bend in your knees and a tight abdomen.
  4. Gently tap your heels on the floor and then lift your leg back up to the starting position using only your core muscles and slightly upward beyond that toward your chest, keeping the medicine ball between your knees.
  5. Complete 25 slow reps.

Double crunches

Double crunches can be thought of as a hybrid between a regular crunch and a reverse crunch, making them one of the best lower ab exercises when it comes to efficiency and effectiveness.

Equipment needed: None
Reps: 15
Sets: 3

Execution:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees and hips flexed to 90 degrees so that your shins are parallel to the floor up in the air.
  2. Place your fingertips at your temples or just behind your ears with your elbows out to the sides.
  3. Inhale, drawing your belly button to your spine.
  4. Crunch up to raise your shoulder blades off the floor while simultaneously bringing your knees up to your elbows by squeezing your lower abs.
  5. Slowly return to the starting position.
Women doing alternating toe touches for lower abs.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Alternating toe touch

The alternating toe touch is an extension of the double crunch with even more benefits. It targets the entire abdominal wall (lower abs, transverse abdominals, external obliques, and internal obliques) in a single, dynamic motion. It’s a great core exercise because it trains the abs to work together across several planes of motion.

Equipment needed: None
Reps: 12 per leg
Sets: 3

Execution:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air and arms straight overhead on the floor above your head.
  2. Engage your core to crunch up and toward one side, reaching across your body to touch the opposite foot. Make sure you keep your shoulders pulled down away from your ears.
  3. Return to the starting position without fully touching your arms back down to the floor (just hover for added difficulty).
  4. Alternate sides with each rep.
Man doing pushups with a stability ball.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Stability ball pushups and tucks

This complex exercise works your entire body while targeting the lower abs. By placing your feet up on a stability ball in this particular pushup variation, you have to engage your abs to stabilize and balance your body to prevent yourself from falling off the ball. Adding a tuck between pushups further utilizes the core. As you get stronger, you can progress the tuck motion to a pike motion by keeping your knees straight.

Equipment needed: Stability ball
Reps: 15 per leg
Sets: 3

Execution:

  1. Get in a pushup position with your arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet behind you on a stability ball with the laces part of your shoe in contact with the ball.
  2. Keeping your glutes and abs engaged, perform a pushup, being sure to use good form and to bring your chest as low as you can go without touching the floor.
  3. When you’re back in the starting position, before moving into the second rep, engage your glutes, hip flexors, and abs to pull your knees forward toward your chest, rolling the ball forward toward your hands.
  4. Untuck your legs and straighten them back out to the starting position.
  5. Complete another pushup.
  6. Alternate between pushups and tucks. Progress to pikes (knees straight) as you get stronger.
Man doing mountain climbers at home.
Li Sun / Pexels

Mountain climbers on a medicine ball

Mountain climbers are a great lower ab exercise for men because you’ll get a quick cardio boost while simultaneously working your abs, glutes, legs, and shoulders and torching some calories. You can put your hands on the ground or increase the difficulty by changing the standard pushup position to a narrow grip on top of the medicine ball. By doing so, you reduce the base of support and increase your core and shoulder engagement. Be sure to maintain good form with your hips in line with your body.

Equipment needed: None
Reps: 60 seconds
Sets: 3

Execution:

  1. Get into a pushup position with your core and glutes engaged and your hands placed on either side of the top of the medicine ball, which should be centered under your chest. You can also put them on the floor if you are less confident in your core strength.
  2. Pressing your weight into your hands, alternate bending each knee and bringing the leg up under your chest between your arms and then returning it to the starting position.
  3. Move as fast and hard as you can for 60 seconds.
Sneaker on top of medicine ball.
Brendan Stephens / Unsplash

Medicine ball jackknife

This challenging move works your upper and lower abs, and by adding the medicine ball, you’ll also engage your shoulders and rhomboids.

Equipment needed: None
Reps: 25
Sets: 3

Execution: 

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended straight out in front of you and your arms extended straight back above your head while holding a moderately heavy medicine ball.
  2. Keeping your knees straight, engage your abs to simultaneously lift your entire lower body and your entire upper body to meet upright in a folded “V” position. Your knees should be straight, and your arms should remain straight, holding the medicine ball above your head.
  3. Lower your body back down, using control by engaging your abs and shoulders.
  4. Do not allow your feet or upper body to come to a full rest on the floor; rather, hover just above the floor in the extended position and then lift back up into a “V.”
  5. Complete 15 reps.
Man doing boat pose
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Boat pose to toe touch

This lower ab exercise looks deceptively easy, but after a few reps, you’ll be feeling the burn. Boat pose, which is a modified yoga move, builds core strength and balance while also encouraging good posture and synergistic support and control from the lower abs and lower back.

Equipment needed: None
Reps: 10
Sets: 3

Execution:

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent, resting on your tailbone. Extend your arms in front of your body.
  2. Gently lean back and lift your feet off of the ground, holding your body in a “V” position.
  3. Hold this position for three to five seconds, and then reach up towards your feet.
  4. Return to boat pose.
  5. Continue moving your upper body from the “V” position to the toe touch position.
Healthy foods on a cutting board
Katie Smith / Unsplash

Diet and exercise

Getting a well-toned and shredded midsection is one that takes time, effort, and discipline. Even if you utilize all of these exercises listed above, but still indulge yourself in constant fast food meals, processed foods, and junk food sugars, you are not going to see the results that you want to see. Make sure you’re getting plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and cut back on the carbs and sugar consumption. The old saying that abs have always been made in the kitchen is true, but adding these exercises with the right dieting will have you rocking that V-cut in no time.

Topics
Christine VanDoren
Christine is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with an undergraduate degree from Missouri State University. Her…
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