A common request we get from our readers are workouts specifically designed to work the lower abs — like, all of the time people are asking for this magical workout cure! The bad news is that according to most experts, including TV journalist and fitness pro Jenna Wolfe, diet plays the most important part in eliminating extra weight around the middle.
“The dirty, awful truth about abs? It’s about 85 percent diet. You can do all the crunches in the world and if you’re still eating poorly, you won’t notice any difference in your midsection,” she tells us. (Her book Thinner in 30 is out now.)
So keeping in mind that you need to watch what you eat (avoiding foods full of sugar and white flour), we asked the pros their favorite workout moves that will help strengthen and tighten your core, especially those lower abs!
Me! (Margo Donohue)
As a certified group fitness instructor I cannot emphasize enough the benefits of incorporating planks into all of your workouts. And if you have access to a balance ball, try this plank move as described by Health magazine’s yoga expert Kristin McGee that will target your lower abdominal region.
My advice is to cut back on sugars as well as anything sold in a box and amp up the cardio to really work on seeing those lovely abs.
Brad Thomas, M.D. (Beach Cities Orthopedics and Sports Medicine)
To really target those lower abs, I recommend lying flat on your back, placing your hands under your hips to support your lower back, and bringing your feet about six inches off the ground while keeping your head on the mat. Now perform small scissor kicks.
Suzanne Digre (Strength Training and Online coach at Workout Nirvana)
For intermediate exercisers, I like to have them perform the jackknife move on the ball to target multiple muscle groups including the lower abs.
Nancy Donahue (BelleCore Fitness)
This may be for more advanced workout mavens, but the hanging leg raise works your entire core including the hip flexors. You should ask a trainer on staff at your local gym to offer you pointers but you will see results very quickly!
Jen Ator (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and Fitness Director at Women’s Health magazine)
Try the reverse snow angel: Start in a push-up position with your feet on a pair of Valslides (or any sliding discs — you can even use dish towels or paper towels on some surfaces). Keeping your core tight and your body in a straight line from head to heels, slide your feet away from each other as far as you can without dropping or raising your hips. Pause, then slowly slide them back to the start (like you’re making a snow angel).
What are your favorite moves to work your lower abs? —Margo