The term “lower abs” is actually a misnomer—your rectus abdominis muscle, or abdominal wall, actually covers your entire midsection and connects at your pelvis. Still, women (and men!) are constantly searching for exercises that will help eliminate that dreaded lower-belly pooch. (We got your attention, right?) And now the search is over! Most of these effective exercises target multiple abdominal muscles, so you’ll maximize your belly-burn with every rep.
Traditional core exercises, like crunches or bicycle, are great for sculpting your upper abdominals and obliques. But they barely touch those pesky lower abs, making toning this trouble spot quite a challenge for most of us.
If you want to really flatten and sculpt your belly, you have to make sure you’re hitting every last inch of those hidden muscles. We asked fitness expert and certified personal trainer (who has a six-pack most can only dream of) to show us some of her favorite moves for chiseling the lower abs.
The key? Put your legs and your brain into it. “Anytime you move your legs, you’re working your lower abdomen,” Trainer says, since they’re connected to the hip flexors. Unfortunately, most of us feel these exercises mainly in the hip flexor, which can take away from working the abs, not to mention be pretty uncomfortable. “The low abdomen takes so much mental focus,” she says. Putting your brain into the muscle group is key, by constantly focusing on your lower abs and making sure you feel them engaged in every move.
Before you go any further, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a classic plank position down pat, since many of these moves are based off it. To plank perfectly, Stokes instructs: prop yourself up on your feet and forearms, shoulders rolling down your back, squeezing the butt cheeks, drawing the navel in strongly. Be careful not to arch your back—your whole torso should stay in a straight line. Got it? Time to whip your tummy into bikini-body shape.