You may have heard that the best abs are made in the kitchen. But you’ve been eating clean, running regularly, yet you’re still rocking that muffin top – even after six months. What gives? Well, you’re not alone. In fact, Amanda Butler, certified trainer and instructor at The Fhitting Room in New York City explains why: “Lower abs are very difficult to strengthen because that is where our body stores most of its excess fat. And for women, the hormone estrogen naturally wants to hold onto fat in this area.” Luckily, there are specific exercises that can help to target this stubborn area, even if you may ultimately need to lose overall body fat. Try each of these for 30 seconds long with 10 seconds of rest in between sets.
Come to lie on your back, with palms facing down at your sides. Lift your feet and bend your knees at a 45-degree angle. Slowly lower one foot down until your heel barely touches the mat. Use your core muscles to raise your foot back up again. Repeat with the opposite foot.
Come into a high plank position, with your hands placed directly underneath your shoulders while forming a straight line with your entire body. Lift your right foot and draw your right knee in towards your chest and in between your hands. As you return your right foot back to plank, lift your left foot and pull your left knee in towards your chest between your hands. Alternate as quickly as you can, while keeping your core engaged and hips level.
Lay on your back with your legs straight up in the air at a 90-degree angle. Slide a ball in between your thighs and hold them in place. Place your hands behind your head and come into a crunch position while tipping the hips up slightly. Release halfway and repeat for 15-20 reps.
Straight leg raise
If you suffer from any lower back pain, skip this move. Lie flat on your back with your hands at your sides, palms faced down, legs extended. Lift your straight legs slowly off the ground, bringing them to a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower them back down, while keeping legs straight.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides and knees slightly bent. Bending your knees further in front of your hips, jump straight up so that the tops of your thighs tap your hands. Repeat for 45 seconds.