First off…NO! There is no lower ab muscle.
BUT with specific moves we CAN target that lower region of our rectus abdominis aka our lower abs!
We can also do moves to strengthen our transverse abdominis, which will only help our entire abdominal region look even better AND help us avoid back pain!
Here is a great series to do just that – target your lower abs and work your TVA! It will help you get strong, lean abs (especially if you’re already dialing in your diet because…yea yea yea…we all know abs are made in the kitchen! Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also be doing focused core work too!)
So try this Core Burner from my Cardio Burner Cards!
The Lower Ab Burner
Set a timer for 20 second intervals of work and go right from one move to the next without resting. Complete 3-5 rounds through. Beginners may rest 20-40 seconds between rounds and perform only 2-3 rounds while more advanced exercisers may complete up to 5 rounds, resting no more than 20 seconds if needed between rounds.
20 seconds Forearm Plank Bird Dogs
20 seconds Dead Bugs
20 seconds Glute Bridge with Squeeze
20 seconds Vomiting Cat
Forearm Plank Bird Dogs:
To do the Forearm Plank Bird Dog, set up in a plank position from your forearms and toes with your elbows under your shoulders and your feet about hip-width apart. Placing your feet closer together will make the move more challenging because your core will have to work harder to stay balanced.
Then, holding this plank position, lift one arm and the opposite leg up off the ground. Reach them as if reaching toward opposite walls. Do not rotate open or let your butt go up in the air as you reach. Also, engage your glute as you lift your leg so that your low back doesn’t take over.
Pause at the top of the lift then lower back down and lift the other arm and leg.
Move slowly and stay balanced. You can also stay on one side as that will be easier to stay balanced.
Do not rush this move or let your core wiggle a ton as you perform the arm and leg lift. You want to keep your core stable.
To do the Dead Bug, lie on your back with your legs out straight and arms overhead. Crunch your shoulder blades up and lift your legs up off the ground as you press your low back down into the ground.
Then bring one knee in and lower the opposite arm down so your hand is pressing into your knee. Keep your arm straight and press down on your knee as you press your knee into your hand. You should feel your abs contract extra.
Pause then switch, bringing the other knee and hand together as you straight the opposite arm and leg out. Pause there then switch again moving slowly. Try to really create tension as you push your hand into your knee.
If you feel your low back engaging, kick your legs out higher instead of keeping them close to the ground. Also, make sure to engage the glute of the leg extended out. Beginners can instead bend both knees, tucking one knee in as the touch the toe of the other foot to the ground. See below for a beginner option.
Glute Bridge with Squeeze:
To do the Glute Bridge with Squeeze, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Start with your feet just beyond your fingertips when you stretch your arms down by your sides and place the block or pillow between your knees. Depending on what object you use, you may have to adjust your foot placement so that, when you squeeze the object tight between your knees, your ankles, knees and hips are all in alignment.
Then bend your elbows to 90 degrees so that only your upper arms are on the ground and brace your abs. Driving through your heels and upper back and arms, bridge up, lifting your glutes up off the ground.
Squeeze the block and drive your hips up as high as possible without hyperextending your low back. Squeeze your glutes to lift and brace your abs as you extend your hips and squeeze the block. Feel your glutes and even your inner thighs working to help you bridge and hold the block.
Do not worry about exactly how high you bridge up. Just focus on consciously squeezing your glutes at the top and extending your hips. And do not push yourself backward off your heels. You want to also drive up using your upper back too.
Using the block should keep your knees from really caving in or falling open as long as you set up with your ankle, knees and hips in line.
Squeeze your glutes for a second or two at the top and then lower all the way back down to the ground before repeating. Do not lose the block as you bridge and lower. Squeeze and engage the entire time even when you lower to the ground.
To do the Vomiting Cat, start on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Then draw your belly button in toward your spine as you round your back up toward the ceiling. Tuck your hips under as you try to draw your abs in as hard as you can.
You are almost trying to draw your abs in and round up as if you were a cat coughing up a hairball. You aren’t just stretching but actively trying to draw your abs in and suck in as hard as possible all the way through your lower abs.
Hold as hard as you can for a count and then relax out and repeat.