You may have gotten away with hiding under winter coats and Bachelor episodes for the past few months, but soon it’ll be time to step outside in minimal layers, and your bod is nowhere close to being ready. I mean, I don’t blame you. The only people who consistently eat salads and go to the gym all winter are like,
psychopaths people who bet too much money on their 2018 resolutions. When it’s time to put on your new ASOS crop top, you’ll want your abs to look amazing, and the lower ab region of your core can be the hardest to target. If you want to define that area and lose your love handles, you’ll have to start putting in the work, starting with these lower ab exercises.
1. Leg Lifts
Lying on the floor, place your legs straight out in front of you and your hands on the ground or under your lower back if you’re prone to lower back pain. Lift your legs up, keeping them as straight as possible with your knees slightly bent until they make a 90-degree angle with the floor. Hold the contraction at the top for the second, then SLOWLY lower your legs down to the floor in front of you. If you have lower back problems or need a modification, try doing the move with your hands under your tailbone. It sounds ineffective, but it actually makes it so much easier.
2. Flutter Kicks
Flutter kicks are another one of the lower ab exercises that are done lying on your back, but this time you actually need to lift your head and shoulders off of the mat to fully target the lower region of your core. Once again, put your hands under your tailbone if you feel any pain in your lower back. Then, lift your legs up in front of you (they can be slightly bent), and literally kick your feet out in front of you in a little flutter motion. You should feel your lower abs working as you kick, and the movement should be small and controlled. Note that these aren’t scissor kicks, so if you feel like you’re kicking around like a Rockette, you’re doing it wrong.
3. TRX Pikes
These can also be done on a rowing machine or gliders if you don’t have a TRX in your gym, and if you’re doing it at home, you can even use a hand towel on a wooden floor. If you’re using the TRX, put your feet into the straps and then turn over, coming into a plank position with your hands on the floor and your feet hanging in the straps. Then, think about pushing your hands into the ground and pulling your legs toward your chest with your hips, keeping your legs as straight as possible. Try to focus on lifting with your abs while preventing your ankles from pointing. Once your head is looking in between your arms, slowly lower your hips back into your starting plank position. These are hard AF, so if you need to just do a couple reps and then hold a plank, go for it.
4. Dead Bugs
IDK who came up with the name for this move, but it’ll demolish your entire core so we’re gonna go with it. Lie on your back with your arms extended, but bend your knees so that they’re creating a 90 degree angle above your hips. Engage your core and press your lower back into the floor as you slowly extend one leg toward the floor, almost hitting your foot to the ground. Then, bring it back to its bent position and do the same on the other side. Keep alternating sides, and if it feels easy, you can even get your arms involved by extending the opposite arm toward your leg each time you bend.
5. Raised Leg Circles
This exercise requires a lot of physical space, so if you’re like, two feet away from someone else’s mat, you may need to move to a more spacious area of the gym. This is another one of those lower ab exercises where you’re lying on your back but raising your neck and shoulders off the floor. To start, extend your legs out in front of you and lift them a couple inches off the ground. The higher you raise them, the easier it’ll be. Then, keep your feet and legs together as you literally circle them around you, keeping your hips on the ground as much as you can. Try to aim for six to eight circles in each direction. Make sure your feet don’t touch the ground the entire time and that you’re using your core instead of using momentum to swing them around.
6. Hollow Body Hold
This move is a LOT harder than it looks, so try holding it for 25 seconds, and then slowly work your way up to 35, 45, and eventually a full minute. If you thought time moved slowly when planking, wait until you try this. The hollow body hold is exactly what is sounds like, so you’ll be starting lying on the ground. Then, raise your feet off the ground and your arms at the same time, keeping your arms straight behind your head. So basically, only your lower back/ tailbone should be touching the ground, and your abs should be super tight the whole time. If you want to make it easier, put your arms out in front of you or to your sides. If you want to make it harder, hold a weight in your arms and hold it overhead. Just please don’t blame me if it hurts to laugh tomorrow.
Images: Matthew Kane / Unsplash; Bionic Body (1); Giphy (5)