5 Effective Workouts to Target Your Lower Abs and Blast Away Love Handle

5 Effective Workouts

Sculpting a well-defined midsection isn’t just about looks; it’s also about building a strong core that supports your overall health and fitness. Core strength is essential for maintaining good posture, preventing lower back pain, and improving balance and stability in daily activities. And if you want to shed some extra cushion around your waistline, lower ab workouts are crucial to toning this area and melting love handles, helping you achieve a more sculpted physique and toned midsection. That’s why we chatted with personal trainers and fitness experts who share their five best ab workouts for your lower abs and love handles.

Think of your core as the foundation of your body that provides stability and balance for everyday activities and workouts. When you’re looking to build a six-pack or just want to feel more confident in your body, strengthening your lower abs and targeting love handles can improve your appearance while boosting your overall fitness and reducing injury risk.

Keep reading to uncover the five best workouts to blast away pesky love handles and reveal the well-defined abdomen hiding beneath.

Workout #1

Perform three rounds of the following exercises with a one-minute rest between rounds.

1. Walking Lunges

“This exercise works the glutes and quads but requires core control to maintain balance during a single-leg stance. It also requires hip flexor and lower abdominal extensibility to achieve the hip extension needed, especially for a deep lunge,” says Mike Masi, CPT, a certified personal trainer at Garage Gym Reviews.

Take a big step forward from a standing position, allowing your trunk to lean slightly over your front foot. Push through the front foot to allow the back leg to advance back to standing. Alternate feet with each rep. For an extra challenge, hold weights at your sides. Complete 20 reps before moving on to the next exercise.

2. Hanging Leg Raises

hanging leg raise

“This exercise focuses on the hip flexors and lower abdominal muscles,” Masi explains.

Hang onto a pull-up bar with your legs straight down. Raise your legs to form a 90-degree angle with your torso, then control the descent back down. To make this easier, raise your knees without your legs extended. Do 10 reps total.

3. Side Planks with Reaches

“[Side planks with reaches] work the internal and external obliques as well as the lateral hip muscles of the side facing the floor,” Masi tells us.

Lie on your side with your legs extended. Prop your body up on your forearm with your elbow directly under your shoulder. Stack your feet one on top of the other or place one in front of the other for more stability. Lift your hips off the ground so your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Use the free arm to reach through the space between your body and the floor. Reach as far as possible, then reach back as high towards the ceiling. Perform 10 reps per side.

Workout #2

Set a 10-minute timer and perform as many rounds of the following exercises as possible.

1. Shuttle Run

“[The shuttle run] works the whole body with an emphasis on the core and lower legs from having to change direction frequently,” says Masi. “Furthermore, this exercise challenges the cardiorespiratory system, giving this workout potential for higher intensities.”

Set up two markers roughly 25 feet apart from each other. Start at marker one, run to marker two, touch the ground with both feet and one hand, then quickly turn around and run back to marker one. This counts as one rep. Do 10 reps total before the next exercise.

2. Foot-supported Sit-ups

The food-supported sit-up engages the lower abs and hip flexors.

Sit on a stability ball with your feet supported by a heavy dumbbell or another sturdy surface. Lean back on the stability ball and reach overhead until your arms touch the ground behind you. Next, sit up in a seated position. You can use a bench instead of a stability ball to make this easier. Perform 10 reps total.

Workout #3

Do the following exercises in any order you prefer. Be sure to rest for one minute between sets and exercises.

1. Reverse Crunches

Get ready to engage your abs and hip flexors with the reverse crunch.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your knees toward your chest by curling the hips off the floor while contracting your abs. Slowly lower your legs back to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps.

2. Lateral Leg Drops

Drop your knees slowly to one side as far as you can control while lying on your back with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees and your arms straight out on either side. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Complete three sets of five to 10 reps per side.

3. Suitcase Carries

This functional exercise targets your glutes, abs, and obliques.

Choose a weight such as a dumbbell, kettlebell, or even a weighted bag you can comfortably hold in one hand. The weight should be challenging but manageable to maintain proper form throughout the exercise. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the weight in one hand with your arm at your side, similar to how you would carry a suitcase. Walk forward in a controlled manner. Keep your pace steady and your body straight, resisting the urge to lean towards the side.

Masi instructs, “Continue walking for a predetermined distance or time, typically 20 to 30 meters or 30 to 60 seconds per set. After completing the distance or time, carefully set down the weight, switch hands, and repeat the walk to balance both sides of your body.” Repeat three times per side.

Workout #4

Complete four rounds of these exercises with 30 seconds of rest between rounds.

1. Banded Knee Pull-ins

TJ Mentus, CPT, a certified personal trainer at Garage Gym Reviews, explains that banded knee pull-ins fire up the lower abs and hip flexors.

To begin, lie on your back with a resistance band attached to both feet and connected to a rig post or dumbbell heavy enough not to move. Press your lower back into the ground, then pull both knees into your chest. Keep your lower back pressed into the ground as you straighten your legs. Perform 15 reps before jumping into the next exercise.

2. Side Plank Dips

side plank hip dip

Now, get ready to work your lateral hip muscles and obliques with side plank dips.

Start by lying on your side with your legs extended. Prop your body up on your forearm, elbow positioned directly under your shoulder, and feet stacked together. Raise your hips off of the ground into a side plank position. Then, dip your hip until it touches the ground and raise it back up. Do 10 sets before moving on.

3. Mountain Climbers

mountain climber

“This dynamic ab exercise works the hip flexors and lower abdominals as well as the arms,” says Mentus.

Get in a pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Bring one knee into your chest while keeping the other leg straight. Quickly alternate legs by bringing the other knee into the chest, straightening the other leg, and returning your other foot to the ground. Perform this movement for 30 seconds, and try to complete as many reps as possible.

Workout #5

Perform the following exercises and complete as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes.

1. Bicycle Crunches

woman doing bicycle crunches

Lie on your back with your hands next to your ears and slightly raise your legs off the ground. Crunch your shoulders and bring your right knee into your chest while twisting the shoulders to get the opposite elbow to that knee. Switch to the other left knee by extending your right leg back out and bringing your left leg into your chest while twisting your opposite elbow across your body to meet your knee. Do 25 reps per side for 50 reps total.

2. Pike-ups on Rower

The pike-up on a rower activates the lower abs, arms, and hip flexors, Mentus says.

Begin in a plank position with your feet behind you on a rower’s seat. Keep your legs straight and raise your hips toward the ceiling while pulling your feet to your hands. Lower your hips back down and slide the seat back behind you. Complete 12 reps before moving on to the next exercise.

3. Straight-leg Sit-ups

This workout wraps up with the straight-leg sit-up, which works the lower abs, hip flexors, and rectus abdominis.

Lie flat on your back with your legs straight. Keep your legs on the ground and sit up while reaching your hands to the ceiling. Lower back down in a controlled manner. Repeat for 12 reps.

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