The lower abs are one of the more difficult areas of muscle to target specifically, and you require quite a bit of supporting muscle in order to work those muscles out. That means that you need to strengthen other abdominal muscle groups in order to be able to do some of the exercises that really help to tone and build lower abs.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get started on them from day one, however. Here are a few tips on how to tone lower abs:
1) Know Your Body
One of the first steps to developing good abs is to know when you’re working the right muscles. It’s very easy to do the positions and movements indicated by an exercise video, while in actual fact you’re using other muscle groups to take up the strain. Learning to tell when this happens can help you to prevent yourself from getting hurt, and to make the most out of your workout.
Listen to your body, and learn to feel when the muscle you’re trying to target is working or not.
2) Lower Ab Muscles are Marathon Runners, not Sprinters
Your lower abs have a supportive role, and so are used to working at low intensity for long periods. This is how they should be trained, so unlike lifting weights with your arms you want to get as many good quality reps out of an easier exercise as you can before moving on to a more difficult one.
3) Strengthen Your Core
Its’ nearly impossible to develop your lower abs without at least some core strength. The core abdominals run parallel to your body down the middle of your stomach, and are the muscles that many of your other abdominals are based in.
An easy exercise to start building core strength is to lie face down on the floor, propping yourself up on only your toes and your elbows. Pull your stomach muscles inwards and upwards towards your sternum (like you did when you were a kid to make yourself look super skinny) and hold your body rigid. Hold this for 20 seconds, rest, then repeat 10 times.
4) Do Bicycle Kicks
Bicycle kicks are a very effective way to tone your lower abs, without putting too much strain on the rest of your body. However, they don’t target the lower abs completely, and are more specific to the obliques (the muscles on the sides of your lower belly).
Lie on your back with one leg extended and the other knee bent up towards your chest. With your hands on the side of your head, do a sit up and crunch to bring the elbow opposite the bent knee as close to it as possible. Repeat with the other leg/elbow pair quickly, and do about 24-30 reps of these.
5) Vertical Leg Lifts
These are a bit more challenging, and only really worthwhile once you’ve built a bit of lower ab strength.
Lie on your back with your hands flat on the ground next to your waist. Lift your hips off the ground and put your feet together, pointing them straight up at the ceiling. Using your lower ab muscles as best as possible, push your feet up towards the ceiling and let them down slowly.