10 Best Calisthenics Exercises for Lower Abs From Beginner To Advanced

core workout tips Jun 19, 2023

10 Best Calisthenics Exercises for Lower Abs From Beginner To Advanced!

Today, we're going to focus on targeting the lower abs.

Many people try various exercises and routines to work on their core and achieve a flat stomach. In this session, I want to share the best exercises to specifically target the lower abs and explain how they work.

Before we dive into the exercises, let's briefly talk about the anatomy of the abs to give you a better understanding of what you're working on. The abs consist of different layers of muscles, but people often focus on the superficial layer, known as the rectus abdominis, which is engaged during crunches and similar movements. However, it's important to also target the underlying muscles, such as the obliques that allow for lateral and twisting motion and the transverse abdominis that provides a strong foundation for the rest of the muscle groups.

To effectively engage the lower abs, one simple cue is to lift your legs. By raising your legs, you engage your hips and trigger the transverse abdominis along with the other muscle layers. Building a solid foundation is crucial for developing well-defined and strong lower abs.

Now, let's explore the exercises at three different levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. 

Starting with the beginner level, we have the hollow body floor hold. Lift your arms and feet off the ground, and focus on lifting your legs to target the lower abs. If you find it challenging, you can slightly bend your knees. As you progress, aim for straightening your legs and holding the position. This exercise effectively activates the lower abs and helps you make consistent progress.

Moving on to the hypopressive ab workout, we have variations that target different angles. The overall technique consists in laying on the floor, bringing your knees up to 90 degree angle and using your hands/arms to counter press your knees.

In the front version, you will push your knees against your hands, maintaining straight arms and protracted shoulders. This counter pressure activates the lower abs. You can enhance the activation by flexing your toes back. Additionally, you can explore variations by pushing your knees in or out while maintaining the counter pressure with your hands. Practice all three variations to strengthen the lower abs.

For beginners, mountain climbers are also highly effective. Instead of simply stepping, focus on explosively lifting your legs off the ground with each step. This dynamic execution engages the lower abs. Alternating between straight variations and bringing the knees inward, like elbow-to-opposite-knee, adds variety and challenges the muscles further.

Now let's move on to the intermediate level.

Hanging knee raises are stable movements that effectively target the lower abs. Start from a dead hang position, tuck your core, and extend your legs while pointing your toes down. Then, flex your legs up towards your chest as high as you can, followed by extending your legs down. Controlling the descent is crucial for activating the lower abs.

Parallel bar knee raises are a variation where you protract your shoulders. This reinforces the compression aspect and targets the lower abs similarly.

Another intermediate exercise is the donkey kick, which involves jumping into a tuck position and extending your legs behind you. Tuck back and land softly to minimize impact. Focus on maintaining proper form and feeling the compression in your abs as you lift your legs. These exercises are great for building lower abs strength and coordination.

Now, we will explore more advanced exercises for targeting the lower abs. If you're a beginner or intermediate level, you can still attempt the advanced versions, but it's important to focus on maintaining proper form rather than increasing repetitions. You can gradually increase the intensity and volume as you become more comfortable.

The first exercise we'll cover is the hanging straight leg raises, which is an advanced variation of tucking your knees to your chest. Start by lifting your legs slightly higher than your hips and then lower them back down. Minimize swinging and focus on controlling the descent, as this significantly activates the lower abs. Working on the negatives, or the descent, is crucial for activating the lower abs effectively.

Another advanced exercise is the L-sit hang. Similar to leg raises, instead of constantly lifting your legs, you hold the L-sit position. To add some dynamic movement, you can incorporate flutters, both in the classic and lateral directions. These variations help build strength and coordination in the lower abs.

Next, we have the dragon flag exercise, which is excellent for advanced individuals. Begin by lying on the floor, maintaining a straight line from your shoulders to your feet. Tilt your pelvis backward to engage your lower abs, and then lift your legs slightly higher before lowering them back down. You can alternate between holds and repetitions to target the lower abs effectively.

Moving on, let's discuss the assisted front lever with bands. Front levers are exceptional exercises for targeting the lower abs and engaging the lats and other muscles. To start, use a light band for assistance. Place one or two feet in the band and alternate your feet to create movement while holding the straight line position. This variation helps build coordination and strengthens the muscle group.

It's important to note that while these exercises specifically target the lower abs, they won't magically give you a flat stomach or reduce overall body fat. To achieve a leaner physique, you need to be in a caloric deficit and focus on burning fat through a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Combining these exercises with a calorie deficit can lead to significant results in strengthening and defining your lower abs. Consistency is key, so practice these exercises regularly and make progress at your own pace. Additionally, these exercises have broader benefits, enhancing your performance in handstands and other calisthenics skills.

Take care and keep working hard!

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