Many people on their quest to get abs soon realize that lower abs aren’t coming through the way they want, and this guide will cover everything you need to know about getting lower abs, including workouts.
How do you work out your lower abs?
The best way to work out your lower abs is anything that brings your news or feet up towards your body. Many people do ab workouts where they crunch and bring their upper body down to their lower body, which works out their upper abs, but many people ignore lower ab training, which means that their lower abs aren’t as big and muscular.
Anything that brings your knees up to your chest and then fight it the way down will help your lower abs grow.
Simple and progressive lower-ab exercises
- Reverse crunch
- Reverse crunch with a medicine ball between your knees
- Reverse crunch on an incline bench
- Reverse crunch on an incline bench with a medicine ball between your knees
When that feels easy, you can move two something more vertical such as:
- Hanging knee raises
- Hanging knee raises with a medicine ball between your knees
Now, like any other muscle, the lower abs respond fast to progressive overload. And the best way to do progressive overload is to add more weight. So how can we add more weight to the lower abs?
If you have access to a gym, there like mountain climbers while wearing ankle straps connected to a cable stack. That would allow you to slowly add more weight each week, allowing you to overload the lower abs and make them respond to that by growing larger.
Otherwise, the next best option is to add more and more reps, and then to add more sets, and then finally to pick harder variations that challenge your lower abs.
One last thing to consider is at you don’t want your lower abs to be big all on their own it’s great to work out your obliques at the same time, so doing lots of asymmetrical/rotational work such as hanging windmill knee raises or doing side to side leg raises can help develop a more well-rounded lower ab and oblique area.
How do you get lower abs fast?
To get lower abs fast, we should first talk about what it takes to get lower abs. Getting lower abs is a combination of three things:
- Building up larger ab size
- Lowering regular fat, also known as subcutaneous fat
- Burning off stubborn belly fat if you have any
Lower Ab Size
To build up your lower abs size, you’re going to want to do some sort of resistance training, such as doing some hanging leg raises or mountain climbers or reverse crunches and then combining that with a diet that is high in protein that would help your muscles build.
Body Fat Levels
The second point is to lower your body fat levels. This means getting into a calorie deficit where your body isn’t getting enough energy from food and needs to burn off body fat to keep running. The easiest way to do this is by improving nutrient timing and eating what we call the Density Diet (covered in our True Gains program), where you eat lots of meat, organs, bone broth, vegetables and fruits.
Stubborn Belly Fat
The third point is to burn off stubborn belly fat. Stubborn belly fat is linked to visceral fat, which is linked to heart disease, chronic inflammation, diabetes, and a variety of other diseases. The best way to combat stubborn belly fat is by improving anything that reverses heart disease or diabetes with chronic inflammation. We have a whole program called True Gains that goes through this, but we particularly like eating more animal-based Foods, doing cardiovascular training, and fixing micronutrient deficiencies. The most common in our Western diet is often magnesium, vitamin K2, vitamin E, and a high iron-to-zinc/copper ratio.
So the fastest way to get lower abs is to do a lot of lower ab workouts and to do a little bit of the right type of cardio and then eating a diet that supports muscle gain while burning off fat while fixing micronutrient deficiencies.
Are lower abs harder to get?
Yes, lower abs are harder to get compared to upper abs. This is because upper abs are revealed first when getting into a calorie deficit, so they show up first. Secondly, stubborn belly fat seems to store more in the lower body fat area. So if you have any signs of stubborn belly fat or chronic inflammation, that area will be the first area to starts filling up. I think this is a reason why a lot of people find lower abs attractive is because to have them means that you have exceptional health and that you aren’t at risk for heart disease or diabetes.
Why do I have upper abs but not lower abs?
There are four possible reasons why you have upper abs but not lower abs:
- The first reason is, if you’re healthy, you have a slightly higher percentage of body fat than needed to see the lower abs. For example, you might be 12% body fat, and your upper abs have come through, but your lower abs are next but haven’t been revealed yet. You might need to get down to nine or ten percent body fat.
- The second reason is that you spent most of your time training your upper abs doing crunches or sit-ups, and not enough time doing lower ab work such as hanging leg raises and reverse crunches and bicycle crunches. You may just need more time to develop your lower abs if there isn’t any extra fat sitting on top of your lower abs.
- Your genetics may be that you only have a four-pack. This is rarer as the majority of people can get a six-pack, but some people only have two tendinous insertions running across the abs, making for a four-pack and not a six-pack, but this is rarer.
- You’re lean in terms of regular subcutaneous fat, but you are not metabolically healthy. I fell into this circumstance for a while where my body fat percentage was very low, with a calliper having me at “very lean, 2–8%” on my suprailiac measurement and “High Fat, 17.6 to 22.5%” on my umbilical area. I had very low levels of subcutaneous fat, as shown by one measurement, but I had some stubborn belly fat on my lower abs, as shown by the other. Once I started making changes in my diet, lifestyle, and training to become more metabolically healthy, that fat on my lower ab area didn’t feel hard anymore and felt more soft, like regular fat, and then that began melting away.
The best exercises to work the lower abs
The best exercises are exercises that challenge you to grow, so if you haven’t worked out your lower abs, you can get that growth with a simple variation such as the reverse crunch or the bicycle crunch or even a deadbug.
As you get stronger and nose exercises are easy, you will need to find a way to do a harder variation or find a way to add weight or another way of progressive overload, such as doing the exercise for more reps, or doing more sets, etc.
So this list of exercise goes from the easiest to the hardest variations to start easy and then moved on the list.
- Side-to-Side Raises
- Reverse Crunch
- Reverse Crunch with a medicine ball
- Reverse Crunch on Incline Bench
- Reverse Crunch on Incline Bench with a medicine ball
- Bicycle Crunch
- Mountain Climbers
- Mountain Climbers with ankle weights
- Mountain Climbers with ankle straps/cable stack
- Roman Chair Knee Raises
- Dragon Flags
- Hanging Knee Raises
- Hanging Knee Raises With Medicine Ball
- Hanging Knee Windshield Washer
As for a workout, we like trying to work the ABS in the 10 to 20 rep range and doing anywhere from 10 to 20 sets per week. So if you work out three times a week, you could do 4-5 sets of these ab exercises at the ends of your current workout.
Free Lower Ab Size Workout
A sample lower ab workout could look like this—add this onto the end of your normal workout. Take each set to failure, even if that means doing more reps than listed.
- Hanging Leg Raises, goal reps: 10-15 reps, 3 sets
- Mountain Climbers, goal reps: 10-20 reps, two sets
- Reverse Crunches, goal reps: 10-15 reps, 3 sets
- Side-to-side leg raises, goal reps: 10-15 reps, 2 sets
- Hanging Knee Windmills, goal reps: 10-12 reps, three sets
- Cross-Body Mountain Climbers: 10–12 reps, two sets
Total lower ab volume across the week: 15 sets
If you want help building up your lower abs, burning off fat, and dealing with your stubborn belly-fat, we’ve made our principles into a simple step-by-step system with our True Gains program.