A beach-ready body isn’t really complete without six-pack abs. If you aren’t ready to rock those new surf shorts yet, you’re probably having trouble with one abdominal area in particular: your lower abs.
Fitness experts say that this is completely understandable as this area below the bellybutton can really give you trouble in terms of muscle definition and getting rid of fat around the area. And, unfortunately, six-pack abs just don’t look as good without that defined abdominal V-line on the hips.
To get your lower abs to show, you need more than just cardiovascular exercise. According to fitness experts, you’ll need a different approach altogether for these stubborn muscles.
- Lower your calorie intake by 500 calories.
The sad truth is that your midsection will always be covered by a layer of fat, no matter how many core workouts you do. You’ll never get your lower abs to make an appearance if you’re carrying too much body fat around your abdominal area. You need to get lean if you really want that V-line to become visible and defined.
One of the best ways to get rid of abdominal fat is to create a calorie deficit, meaning you have to eat fewer calories than you burn. Use a food journal or an app to track how many calories you consume each day. Once you figure out your average daily caloric intake, cut down your intake by 500 calories daily. Health experts say that this should be enough to encourage fat loss, melting the fat right off your belly, among other areas. Measure your body fat every two weeks to make sure you’re losing fat at the rate you like.
- Regulate your intake of carbohydrates.
In addition to reducing your calorie intake, limiting your carbohydrate consumption will help you get rid of belly fat, too. You can still eat starchy carbs like rice and potatoes, but make sure you eat these foods only on days when you do heavy, complex exercises. This will ensure that your body is using all that energy only for muscle growth and recovery and will help you avoid the unnecessary accumulation of fat.
Completely removing carbohydrates from your diet won’t work to your advantage, as starchy carbs are great foods for when you’re trying to make your body leaner. Carbohydrates give you the fuel you need for building up muscle, getting rid of fat, and working on your abdominal muscles. Without these foods, you won’t be able to do those intense, abs-targeting workouts at the gym.
- Do the right core exercises.
You’ll still need to do direct exercises for your abs if you want to get definition for your lower abs. However, not all core exercises target your lower abs; some exercises focus on the oblique muscles while other workouts target the top part of the abs.
To make sure your lower abs get the workout they need, try out the following exercises:
- Reverse crunch x 10
- Deadbug (lie on your back with your arms and knees above your body, extend your right arm and left leg simultaneously while exhaling, switch sides and repeat) x 10
- Hanging alternating leg raises x 6 each
- TRX prone pikes (get into pushup position with your feet in the TRX straps and tuck your pelvis, keep your knees straight as you pull your hips as high as you can, dropping your head between your arms) x 10
Make sure to take 30 seconds of rest between exercises and repeat for 2 to 3 sets.
- Boost your testosterone levels with heavy, compound exercises.
Studies indicate that low testosterone levels may be associated with a disproportionate amount of fat around the lower abdomen. So boosting your testosterone levels may help make your lower abs leaner and more defined. Bicep curls and calf raises won’t help you much here; what you need are heavy, total-body lifts that encourage massive amounts of muscle growth and promote a significant hormonal response. Heavy strength exercises also help you lose fat at a faster rate, which will make it easier for your lower abs to show.
Make sure your workout features plenty of heavy squats, lunges, deadlifts, barbell presses (bench or military), and heavy rows. Do 4 to 8 repetitions for 3 to 5 sets and go as heavy as you can while maintaining proper form.