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To tone your lower abs, you’ll need to target that area specifically. But situps aren’t your only option. Mountain climbers, leg drops, hip lifts, find what works best for you.

If you’re like many people, you may find that even when you work out regularly and eat a balanced diet, your lower abs could be more strengthened and toned.

You can strengthen your lower abs by doing exercises to target this area.

Working out your core with exercises such as planks, crunches, scissor kicks, and butterfly kicks can help build strength, making it easier to perform other activities.

According to a 2019 study, a strong core can also help improve posture, prevent injuries, and relieve back pain.

Here are some exercises you can incorporate into your workout routine.

Aim to do a lower ab workout a few times per week, if you can. Give yourself 1 day of rest between each workout day. Feel free to increase the number of repetitions and sets as you progress.

If you have any chronic conditions, speak with your doctor first before starting any new exercise program.

While performing the exercises, focus on engaging your lower abs and challenging yourself without overdoing it.

Practice these exercises safely by using smooth, controlled movements. Always use proper form.

You may want to do a few gentle stretches between the exercises.

How to perform

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Squeeze your back into the ground, and draw your navel into your spine using a tiny movement, tightening your core.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles like this for 30 seconds, and then relax.
  4. Rest for a few moments and repeat 1–3 times.

Tips: Take slow, deep breaths during the exercise. If 30 seconds is too long, start with 10–15 and slowly increase your time.

How to perform

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight up and your arms alongside your body.
  2. Slowly lower your legs down, raising them back up again just before they touch the floor.
  3. Make sure your lower back stays pressed into the floor.
  4. Do 1–3 sets of 10–16 repetitions.

Tips: If your lower back starts to lift up from the floor, stop there and raise your legs back to the starting position. Try making a triangle with your hands and placing them under your hip bones for extra support.

For variations, try leg half-drops (lower your legs to a 45-degree angle, and then raise them again) or single-leg drops (lower one leg, bring it back up, and then switch legs).

How to perform

  1. Lie on your back with your arms extended alongside your body.
  2. Lift your legs up into a vertical position.
  3. Press your feet up toward the ceiling to raise your hips off the ground.
  4. Lower your hips back to the floor and repeat.
  5. Do 1–3 sets of 10–15 repetitions.

Tips: Control your hips lowering to the floor. Exhale with each lift.

How to perform

  1. Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Roll back onto your sitting bones and extend your legs to 45 degrees, creating a “V” shape.
  3. Extend your arms parallel to the floor with palms facing up.
  4. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
  5. Rest and repeat 1–2 times.

Tips: Draw your lower belly into your spine. Lift your chest. For variation, only raise your feet to knee height.

How to perform

  1. Come into a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Bend your right knee and bring it forward toward your chest.
  3. Bring your right knee back to the starting position, and bring your left leg forward.
  4. Continue this movement for up to 1 minute.
  5. Rest and repeat 1–2 times.

Tips: It’s not a race! Do these movements slow and controlled. Keep your hips and shoulders level by bracing your core.

How to perform

  1. Come into a low (forearm) plank position with your elbows under your shoulders.
  2. Shift your body forward and backward.
  3. Continue this movement for 1 minute.
  4. Rest and repeat 1–2 times.

Tips: Keep your neck, spine, and hips in one line. Focus on engaging your lower abs.

How to perform

  1. Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body and your legs lifted up to 90 degrees.
  2. Slowly lower your right leg down, keeping your left leg raised.
  3. As you raise your right leg back up, slowly lower your left leg.
  4. Continue alternating lowering and raising your legs.
  5. Do 1–3 sets of 10–16 repetitions.

Tips: If your lower back starts to lift, don’t lower your leg so far down (aim for 45 degrees). For variation, try open scissor kicks (extend your legs straight up toward the ceiling, slowly lower your right leg, bring it back up, and then alternate to your left leg).

How to perform

  1. Lie on your back with your knees up toward your chest.
  2. Curl up your head, neck, and shoulders.
  3. Hover your arms alongside your body.
  4. Extend your legs straight out to 45 degrees.
  5. Pump your arms up and down, inhaling for 5 pumps and exhaling for 5 pumps.
  6. Do 10 sets of 10 repetitions of breath (100 pumps).

Tips: Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. For variation, bend your knees to 90 degrees and bring them closer to your chest.

How to perform

  1. Lie on your back with your fingers interlaced to support the base of your skull.
  2. Bend your knees in 90 degrees.
  3. Extend your right leg straight out, and twist the right shoulder and elbow toward your left knee.
  4. As you bring your right leg back into 90 degrees, extend out your left leg, and twist your leg shoulder and elbow toward your right knee.
  5. Continue this movement, alternating sides.
  6. Do 1–3 sets of 12–18 repetitions.

Tips: Keep your core braced by drawing your navel into your spine. If you need a quick break, hold both knees at 90 degrees for a few seconds.

How to perform

  1. Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body.
  2. Lift your legs so that your feet are about 6 inches off the floor.
  3. Slowly lower your right leg a few inches while simultaneously lifting your left leg a few inches.
  4. Slowly reverse course, lifting your right leg a few inches while also lowering your left leg a few inches.
  5. Continue this movement for up to 1 minute.
  6. Rest and repeat 1–2 times.

Tips: Keep your lower back against the floor.

When performing any workout program, there are always safety tips to keep in mind. Lower ab exercises are no different. Before starting a lower abdominal workout, you may want to consider these safety tips:

  1. Speak with your doctor before starting a new workout program if you’re managing any health conditions.
  2. Warm up before starting a workout.
  3. Focus on form.
  4. Only do as many reps as you can while maintaining proper form.
  5. Stop if it hurts.

You should begin to see improvements to the strength and appearance of your lower abs by consistently practicing these exercises. Make sure your exercise plan includes aerobic activity and strength training.

Eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet can go a long way toward a strong and toned core, too.

Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and try to do some type of physical activity each day, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

Talk with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. This is especially important if you have any medical conditions or take any medications.

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