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There are a lot of exercises for hitting your lower abs, all of which involve some bottom up movement of the pelvis towards your shoulders. That said, many of these are performed while hanging from a bar which makes them too difficult for beginners and even leads to the forearms fatiguing before the abs on even the most advanced trainees. In this video, I’m going to show you the best lower abs exercise you’ve likely never tried and it doesn’t even require you hang from a bar.
While we are talking about those hanging ab exercises however, here is why they tend to be a problem. Most often, the person doing the exercise tends to become over reliant on the hip flexors to lift the legs rather than using the abs to curl the pelvis into a posterior tilt on every rep. This can happen either by bad habit or as a compensation for weak abs. Either way, this takes the tension off of the abs and places it on a muscle group that is likely already tight and overactive.
The next option is to perform these same bottom up movements but instead of hanging, you lay on the floor. The issue here is once again the hip flexors can tend to dominate the movement and cause the same detrimental effects mentioned already. Even more, the legs stop becoming a factor in the resistance of the exercise and actually help you to do the move as you get them past ninety degrees of lift.
The good news is, the best lower abs exercise you can do doesn’t require you to have to hang from a bar or lay on your back. All it requires is a dip station or even the corner of a kitchen countertop. If you are going to perform it from a dip station all you have to do is position yourself in the suspended position with your hands on the dip bars and your elbows almost locked out.
You don’t want to bend the elbows too much here or at any point during the exercise since this will shift the focus from the abs to the triceps and cause you to fatigue where you don’t want to. With the bodyweight supported you will actually find that you get a beneficial compressive force into the shoulder joint that can make an unstable shoulder feel much better. The hanging ab exercises while awesome for the lower abs can make it tough on the shoulder of someone that has a rotator cuff or labrum tear.
Next, you let the pelvis drop naturally by dangling the legs. This will help to decompress the spine and cause a distraction force to the lumbar spine and lower back that can help alleviate any discomfort you may have developed from doing lots of hip flexor dominant lower ab movements over the years.
Begin by simply bouncing your body up and down while alternating the twist of your torso as you pull up. Your main thought should be driving the movement with the posterior tilt of the pelvis and not the arms. This will engage the lower abs while at the same time, getting the obliques to fire up with each rotation left to right. Keep doing this in rapid fire fashion for 30 to 60 seconds or until fatigue prevents you from performing clean reps.
If you have never tried this one then you are in for a surprise. You will see how much easier it is to influence the lower abs without having to resort to the hanging ab exercises that tend to cause fatigue elsewhere before the location that you are actually trying to hit. For a complete program that works daily ab training into the overall plan to get your abs popping and ripped like never before, head to and get the ATHLEAN-X Training System.
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