It’s that area of the lower belly that puffs out and looks like a fanny pack.
No woman (or man) wants to wear a permanent fanny pack of belly flab! We all want those sleek and tight sexy smooth lower abs.
This workout is for the advanced exerciser who’s looking to target the lower belly pooch area and firm up this trouble zone.
One of the main issues of the lower belly pooch can be stored body fat, but a lot of the times weak lower ab muscles also contribute to the forward hanging shape.
By working these exercises into your routine as part of a total body fat loss plan, you will see significant change in the shape and tone of your abs.
I recommend working directly one-on-one with a hands on trainer if you are unsure of your form on these movements. Good form is a requirement to get the most benefit from these exercises.
Here I will explain each exercise in detail as well as provide photos of me performing them so that you can learn the most correct and effective form.
NOTE: As a warning, I do not recommend these ab exercises for Mothers who have had diastasis recti (abdominal separation) during pregnancy. I myself am eight months postpartum but did not experience any ab muscle tears. If you do have abdominal separation please seek help from a professional before attempting advanced ab exercises like these.
To do the workout: complete 3 sets of each exercise for the given number of reps. Take about 15-20 seconds of rest between sets and about 60 seconds rest between exercises.
1) Angled Hanging Knee Tucks
This exercise is a slightly easier modification of a hanging leg raise. By supporting your hips with a swiss ball you can get a more focused contraction in your lower abs with less tension in your hip flexors.
Start by positioning the bar of a smith machine to about your chest height. Ensure that it’s locked into place and won’t move.
Place the swiss ball about two feet in front of the bar and sit towards the front of the ball.
Lean back and grab onto the bar with both hands. You should be leaning back at an approximate 45 degree angle.
Keep your elbows and shoulders as stiff and straight as possible throughout the movement.
Keeping your knees bent, contract your abs and tuck your knees all the way up so that your knees are almost touching your chest.
Slowly lower your feet back towards the ground focusing on stretching your lower abs. You should feel a stretch on the release of each rep, and contract as hard as you can during the shortening phase of the movement. I recommend exhaling during the contraction to blow all the air out of your belly and help you tighten your lower abs as much as possible.
DO: 3 sets of 15 reps each, resting 15-20 seconds between sets. Exhale as you contract and pull your knees towards your chest, inhale as you lower your feet towards the ground and feel a stretch in your lower abs.
2) Lying Leg Raises
Lying leg raises are a similar “bottom up” type contraction to train the lower abs, but by being on solid ground with this one you can really focus on the curve of your lower spine and get even more stretch on the way down with your legs fully extended.
To start, set up the smith machine bar so that it’s about the height of your thighs. Ensure that it’s locked into place and won’t move.
Place a cushioned mat on the ground to protect and comfort your spine. Lie down and grab the bar with your hands, making sure that your arms are going back at a roughly 45-degree angle.
Extend your legs straight, lift them about 2 inches off the ground and point your toes.
Lift your legs and roll your hips up until your shoelaces are aligned with the bar.
Your goal is to round your lower back and tighten your lower abs as much as possible.
Take it slow on the way down, laying your spine back to the ground one vertebrae at a time.
Extend your legs and lower until they are 2 inches above the ground and repeat without resting between reps.
DO: 3 sets of 15 reps each, resting 15-20 seconds between sets. Exhale as you contract and lift your hips, inhale as you lower your legs and stretch.
3) Suspended Running Man
You’ll need parallel bars and some good arm and shoulder strength to complete this exercise. This is a more intense version of the popular “bicycle abs” floor exercise.
To start, lift yourself up on parallel bars as if you were going to do a tricep dip.
Keep your arms completely straight and press down into the bars thinking of lifting your head towards the ceiling.
You should have a slight forward lean with your torso but remain mostly upright.
Keeping your right leg straight and pointed towards the ground bend your left knee and crunch towards your chest by contracting your abs.
As you lower your left leg, bend, and contract with the right side.
Continue like this alternating sides, inhaling on the switch and exhaling on the contraction.
DO: 3 sets of 20 reps each, counting each side as 1, taking it slow enough to focus on the muscle contractions. Rest 15-20 seconds between sets. Exhale as you contract, and inhale as you switch sides.
4) Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging Leg Raises are a classic lower ab strengthener, but these are not easy and definitely require some advanced strength.
To start, grab onto a pull up bar with your grip about shoulder-width apart.
Make sure the height of the bar is enough so that your feet do not touch the ground when you hang straight.
Contract your shoulders, lifting your head towards the ceiling, so that you are in a stronghold instead of a loose hang (it’s important for your shoulder health that you do not hang with your shoulders out of the sockets)
Lift your legs out in front of you, keeping your knees mostly straight (a slight bend is okay if you have tight hamstrings).
Your goal is to get your toes up to at least hip height and up to your eye level if possible.
The main focus should be on rounding your lower back as you lift your legs up.
Control the descent of your legs on the way down and repeat.
Do your best to use muscular strength instead of momentum.
DO: 3 sets of 8 reps each, resting 15-20 seconds between sets. Exhale as you lift and contract, inhale as you lower and lengthen.
5) Vertical Ab Pikes
This parallel bar exercise is excellent for slimming your waist and cinching up those lower abs. I always think of a slinky or an accordion to describe this motion of folding up to contract and spreading out to lengthen.
To start, lift up into that strong and supported dip position again. Ensure that your elbows are locked into place and will not bend as you move.
Lift your hips and bring your knees towards your chest at the same time so that your thighs and chest will be parallel to the ground.
Look down and round your shoulders and abs making space for your legs to fill.
Exhale all the air out and pause for just a second at the top before slowly lowering your legs back towards the ground and straightening out to the starting position again. Repeat without resting between reps.
DO: 3 sets of 6 reps each, resting 15-20 seconds between sets. Exhale as you contract and pull your knees towards your chest, inhale as you lower your feet towards the ground and feel a stretch in your lower abs.
This intense lower ab workout can used 2-3 times per week for advanced exercisers who wish to tighten up and strengthen their lower abs. If you find any of these moves too challenging then please stick to beginner modifications to avoid injuries and build up the primary strength needed to perform these moves.
Don’t forget that fat loss is achieved through proper nutrition and following a full body fat loss training program.
As much as these lower ab exercises can help strengthen the muscles of the abdomen, in order to achieve that sleek and flat tummy look fat loss is also necessary in most cases.