When developing your own workout plan or working out at home, you have likely investigated different movements to activate different muscle groups. Though many people focus on cardio, upper body, and lower body workouts, it is also important to ensure that you are incorporating regular abdominal movements.
Why is working out your abdominal muscles important? Your abdominals, commonly referred to as your core, is responsible for essentially holding everything else together. With a weak core, you are more likely to have poor balance and it may make completing upper body, lower body, and functional movements more difficult.
In this article, we will provide you with some of our favourite movements for targeting and engaging your lower abdominal muscles. Incorporate these exercises into your regular workout schedule or consider slotting them into your at-home workout plan. For more tips on building the perfect home workout plan for you see our previous article “How to Make a Home Workout Plan.”
Lower Abdominal Exercises – Our Picks
Mountain Climber – This exercise starts in a push-up position with your arms straight and extended. From there bring your knee to your chest. Repeat this movement alternating legs each time. You can vary this movement by doing it faster or slower.
Plank – a plank is a simple but highly effective exercise. To complete it put yourself into a push-up position but lower yourself to your forearms. Hold this position for as long as you can. Consider doing repetitions of holding for 30 seconds or more if you can.
Plank Hop – to complete a plan hop, go into a push-up or plank position with your arms extended. From there bring your feet together and hop moving your knees towards your chest then, hop your feet back. Repeat this movement multiple times, consider starting with 10 reps and work your way up.
Plank Jacks – to complete this movement, start in the same arm extended plank position as you would for a plank hop. Instead of hopping your legs in, jump your feet out as you would for a standing jumping jack.
Reverse Crunches – unlike crunches that require you to lift your shoulders off the ground, reverse crunches target your lower abs by lifting your legs. With your legs in a 90 degrees position, move them towards your chin and then back to being aligned with your hips. You should not be lowering your legs completely to the floor between reps.
Leg Lifts – leg lifts involve lying on your back with your arms straight on the floor. From there, lift your legs up while keeping them straight and together. Slowly lower your legs back down. You can vary this exercise by doing the movement slower or incorporating holding your legs closer to the ground for a few seconds at a time.
Scissor Kicks – scissor kicks are like leg lifts. Lie on your back with your arms straight to the floor. Then alternate moving one leg up at a time then slowing lowering it down. Alternate legs to make this motion fluid. Try not to lower your legs completely to the ground for a more intense exercise.
Flutter Kicks – flutter kicks follow the same premise as scissor kicks but are a much smaller movement. To complete this exercise, lie on your back with your arms to the ground and legs straight. Slightly lift your legs off the ground and quickly kick your feet up and down. You should not lift your legs straight up with this movement.
Does Form Really Matter?
You have likely heard it before that form is important with any exercise you complete. This is just as true for lower abdominal workouts as it is for other forms of exercise such as heavy lifting. Always have form in mind when completing any lower body workout. If you are not sure what to do, consider reaching out to a personal trainer such as one of the expert trainers at Grants MMA & Boxing Gym.
Even when you are working out at home on your own you should be careful that you are using proper form. If you are not able to speak with a personal trainer look up workout videos and watch carefully. You should always be ensuring that you use proper form not only to ensure you make the most of your workout but also to prevent injury too. See our “Ultimate Guide to Injury Prevention” for tips on how to keep safe and healthy while working out.
Remember that your abdominal muscles are important for everyday life as well as for proper form when doing any exercise. Always remember to engage your core muscles as you do other movements unrelated to core or abdominal strength. Engaging your core will help you get the most out of every movement you do and help keep you free from injury.
Can I Workout My Lower Abs to Tone Them?
The lower abs are one of the most desired workout areas for those wishing to achieve a slim and toned aesthetic. Many people feel that if they work out their lower abdominal muscles they will be able to effectively target that area for weight loss and toning. Though working out this area can help to keep the area toned, simply workout out this area without implementing other changes is not likely to help you reach esthetic based goals.
Having and maintaining defined and visible abs has a lot to do with your diet, overall fitness level and even genetics too. It is a common misconception that simply working out one area of your body will help you to decrease the amount of fat or tone up that specific area. If you are looking to work out your lower abs to lose weight or change your body, your efforts may be better suited towards overall weight loss and fitness.
Tips for How To Achieve Visible Abs
If your personal fitness goals include having visible abs or a slim toned waistline it is likely a great idea to speak with a personal trainer. They can help set realistic goals for yourself while also giving you the tools you need to achieve your desired goal. Always remember that there is more to it than just working out your abdominal muscles. See our tips below to help you learn how to make abs visible.
- Focus on your diet
Uou may have heard the saying that “abs are made in the kitchen” and really, it is true. Everyone has abs, even if you cannot see them. Not having visible abs does not mean you do not have a strong core, instead it just means you have body fat in front of them. You cannot lose weight in one specific area just by working out, so instead, you should focus your efforts on eating well.
- Stay physically fit
Being physically fit goes hand in hand with weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. It can also help to develop definition in a specific area that you wish to change. If you are already at your ideal weight, now is the time to consider using more targeted exercise to meet your goals. Staying physically fit will help you in achieving your abdominal goals as nearly every exercise you do will engage your core and work your abdominal muscles in some way.
- Consider the role of hormones
If you feel that you are doing everything “right” but still aren’t seeing the results you were hoping for, consider the role that both genetics and hormones may be playing. Some people find that a hormone imbalance, or simply their natural body composition makes it harder for them to achieve the physical fitness goals that they are hoping for. Be realistic about your personal body composition when setting aesthetic goals.
Focus on Function
Many athletes and fitness beginners feel that having defined abdominal muscles is a great fitness goal to have. Though it can be a great goal, and no one should squash it for you, you might find that focusing on function serves as a more sustainable and worthwhile goal.
Working out your lower abdominal muscles is important and should not be looked over. Always add upper and lower abdominal exercises to your workout routine to develop a strong core that helps you move through life feeling strong. Incorporate our favourite lower abdominal exercise into your workout routine regularly for continued strengthening and support for your abdominal muscles.