How Can I Tone Up My Lower Abs?
am currently exercising at least four times a week on the elliptical
trainer and I'm also doing some strength training with weights.
My lower abs (from belly button down) have more fat and less muscle
tone than the rest of my stomach and it looks really bad. How can
I lose fat from my lower abs and what exercises can I do to tone
up that area?
with toning lower abdominals is one of the most common complaints
people have. To add to the problem, the lower abdominal region is
arguably the most difficult area to remove fat from. I see many
clients dropping their overall body fat levels way down only to
be disappointed by that little extra fold of fat on their lower
abs. It comes down to really focusing on three main areas:
1. Eat an extremely clean diet. You need to really focus
on eliminating all of the empty calories from your diet. Focus your
attention on lean protein (chicken, eggs, steak, turkey), clean
carbs like brown rice, yams, oatmeal and healthy fats. Really try
to watch your starchy carb intake after 5pm and replace those starchy
foods with veggies. Even though fruit has lots of vitamins and minerals,
it also contains a lot of sugars (fructose) which get stored in
the liver and can easily be converted to body fat. Limit fruit to
2-3 servings earlier in the day (before 3pm). Make sure to also
watch out for liquid calories and avoid all fruit juices, sugary
coffee drinks, sodas and alcohol. When in doubt, always look at
your diet first if you are not losing body fat at the rate you want
2. Switch up your cardio. Try cardio cross training to add
a shock to your body and start burning more fat. Make sure to mix
in low-intensity with high-intensity sessions. Here is a great article
to read for cardio cross training:
3. Specific abdominal exercises that really blast your lower
abs. The best way to tone your lower abdominals is to do exercises
that incorporate leg lifts and decline angles. Also, depending on
your physical capabilities, be sure to always use light to moderate
weights when performing these exercises, if possible. Last, but
not least, be sure to also train your lower back as this region
essentially mirrors the abdominals and is a vital component of the
trunk or "core" of the body.
The abdominal muscles are just like every other muscle
group in that they will respond (grow) better to training when weight
resistance is used. In addition, just like every other muscle group,
they can be overtrained. Therefore, be sure to give your abs time
to recover in between workouts. This will allow the muscles in this
area to grow and for your workouts to deliver optimal impact. Below
are some great exercises that target the lower abdominal region.
Decline Bench Reverse Crunches - Use an abdominal
bench or a regular decline bench to get the most out of this exercise.
What is a "decline" bench? This is a bench that when you
lay on it your head will be below the rest of your body. Most modern
abdominal and regular decline benches allow you to adjust the angle
of the decline according to your comfort level. Keep in mind that
you don't need to hang upside down to achieve the desired effects
of using a decline bench when training your lower abs. All you really
need is a little decline to hit the lower abs at the angle you need.
To perform decline bench reverse crunches, first secure yourself
on the bench with your feet at the bottom and your hands gripping
the top of the bench. Next, perform a reverse crunch motion just
as you normally would making sure to flex and hold your abs at the
top of the crunch. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 18-20 reps per set.
Lever Seated Leg Raise Crunch - This is a great
machine and great exercise for targeting the middle and lower abdominals.
It incorporates both leg raises and weight resistance and is easy
First, select the amount of weight you want to use for the exercise.
Next, seat yourself upright in the machine with your feet secured
by the padded bars and your hands grasping the handles above and
slightly behind your head. Finally, crunch your abs forward while
simultaneously lifting your feet to your chest (this will automatically
bring your hands down toward your knees). Try to only use your abdominal
muscles to perform this motion. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 18-20 reps
Hanging Leg Raises - This is one of the best
exercises you can do to target your lower abdominals. The best thing
about this exercise is that you can perform it any place where you
can find something to hang from. Make sure to avoid swinging too
much and really try to focus all your attention on crunching your
abs at the top.
Hang from any type of overhead bar with a shoulder width grip.
If you are in the gym, it will be very easy to find a bar to hang
from. At home, you can either use a chin-up bar attached over your
door or you can go outside to a local park and look for a kids play
area with bars. While hanging, slowly raise your knees up to your
waist and pause for a moment before lowering your legs down to the
starting position. Keep your body stable and make sure to avoid
swinging back and forth when performing this exercise.
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