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The 8 Best Lower Ab Exercises For a Stronger Core

Even if you spend a decent amount of time working out, strengthening your core, and eating a healthy diet, a lot of guys struggle to get definition in their lower abs. If you’re trying to get an even, chiseled, six-pack look but find that your abs fade the lower down you look on your torso, you might need to focus on some specific lower ab exercises.

The benefits of lower ab exercises go well beyond aesthetics and the potential to give you the muscle tone and definition 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, injury prevention, and functional strength. Below, we share some of the best lower ab exercises for men to help you get a strong, sculpted core.

Shot of a man with sculpted abs sweating at the gym.
Cristian Baron/Unsplash

Low Plank With Alternating Leg Lifts

Man doing plank exercise.

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

Equipment: None
Reps: 25
Sets: 3

Execution:

  1. Get in a push-up 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.

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

  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

Woman doing 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.

Alternating Toe Touch

Women doing alternating toe touches for lower abs.

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.

Stability Ball Push-Ups 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 push-up 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 push-ups 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 push-up position with your arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet behind you on a stability ball with the laces part of the shoe in contact with the ball.
  2. Keeping your glutes and abs engaged, perform a push-up, 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 push-up.
  6. Alternate between push-ups and tucks. Progress to pikes (knees straight) as you get stronger.

Mountain Climbers on a Medicine Ball

man doing mountain climbers.
Pexels

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 push-up 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 push-up position with your core and glutes engaged and your hands placed on either side of top of the medicine ball, which should be centered under your chest, or you can 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.

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 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.

Boat Pose to Toe Touch

Man doing v sit exercise.

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 3-5 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.

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