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Lower Abdominal Exercises

Mix It Up: 4 Varied Moves to Tone Lower Abs

The infamous lower-belly "pooch" plagues plenty of women, but finding the right moves to target this problematic area is easy. Whether you're a barre buff, yoga star, or gym rat, there's an exercise on this list to suit your taste.

Ab Scissors

For anyone who grew up dancing, you'll be well acquainted with the ab scissors that rock your lower abs while lifting your booty:

  • Lie flat on your back. Extend your arms so they're against the sides of your body with your palms pressing into the floor, or bend your elbows and place your palms under the back of your head. Bend your knees and draw them into your ribs. This will make it easier to pull your navel in toward your spine and actively press your lower back flat on the ground.
  • Lift both legs straight up toward the ceiling, continuing to engage your abs and pressing your lower back into the ground. Keeping your core strong, slowly lower your right leg down toward the ground until it is a few inches above. Then slowly scissor your legs, lifting your right leg back up as you lower your left leg down toward the ground.
  • You may not feel this until you do it for a while, so repeat this move for a total of 20 to 30 times on each leg (or more if you're still not feeling it).

High Curl

Beauties who love a good ballet barre workout will love the high curl:

  • Sitting up, place an exercise ball between your upper thighs. Pull behind your knees with your fingertips as you inch your heels closer to your seat.
  • Then roll your lower back down toward the floor, and use your abs to lift your chest closer to the ball.
  • Complete 15 to 20 reps.

Boat Pose (Navasana)

For all the yoginis out there, a few rounds of Boat Pose will challenge your strong core and tighten up those lower abs:

  • Begin sitting on your mat. Bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor, balancing on your tush. Keep the spine long and straighten the legs as much as you can without rounding the back. If this is too hard, then keep the knees bent — you're still working your core.
  • Perform six rounds of Navasana, holding the pose for five breaths each. Or challenge yourself and try to hold for 30 seconds to one minute without a break!

Keep reading for one more all-ab exercise.

Elbow Plank

Boot camp buffs and ladies who love a traditional gym routine will love the elbow plank that gives an all-ab workout:

  • Start on the floor resting on your forearms and knees.
  • Step your feet out one at a time, coming into a plank position.
  • Contract your abs to prevent your booty from sticking up or sinking. Your spine should be parallel to the floor, with your abs pulling toward the ceiling.
  • Hold 30 seconds and work your way up to one minute, as you get stronger.

Photos: Megan Wolfe Photography at J+K Fitness Studio, Jaime Young at Pop Physique in San Francisco, and Jenny Sugar

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