The lower abdominal muscles, and in fact all the abdominal muscles, are challenged when you do standing ab exercises because the core muscles are what stabilize your torso. Even exercises like squats that are not traditionally thought of as an ab exercise do require your lower abs to activate to keep your lower back from arching and to maintain your balance.
Burpees are a multi-part exercise that begin and end in a standing position. A bodyweight squat, plank and jump are all performed in this exercise, giving your lower abs and core quite a workout to maintain correct exercise form. To begin this exercise, stand up with feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms overhead and bend your knees into a squat. Keep your spine straight and incline your upper body forward slightly. Then, place your hands on the floor, and jump back into plank or push-up position. Hold your back flat, and align your hands with your shoulders. Next, jump your feet forward, and lift your arms back to the squat position. From there, swing your arms toward the ceiling and jump into the air, pointing your toes toward the floor as you jump. Land softly to complete one repetition.
The Heisman is a standing exercise that hits not only your lower abs, but the other muscles of your core. The muscles of your leg also get a workout with this move. To begin, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Bring your hands together in front of your chest with one hand in a fist and the other covering the top of you hand as if you were going to bow to someone. The elbows are bent. Next, pull your left knee up and toward your right shoulder. Hop up with your right leg to switch leg positions, landing softly on your left foot. This exercise is meant to be done explosively with no rest between hops, but only go as fast as you can while maintaining a flat back and without twisting your hips or shoulders.
The ball slam exercise uses a medicine ball to work your lower abs, glutes and legs. A hard weighted medicine ball is better than a soft weighted ball for this exercise because you need the ball to bounce. You can use a basketball instead, but a medicine ball will be more effective because of the weight. Stand up straight and hold a medicine ball overhead to do this exercise. Step your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing forward. Bend your elbows slightly. Squeeze your abs tight. Then, bend your knees and lower your hips behind you and down, as if reaching for a chair. Incline your upper body forward slightly, and keep your abs squeezed so your lower back doesn't arch or round. Throw the ball to the ground in front of you. Catch the ball and stand back up, raising the ball overhead.
- American Council on Exercise: Bodyweight Squat
- “Bodyfit”; Burn Fat Fast; May/June 2010
- “Shape”; A Slimmer You in 4 Weeks; Nicole Dorsey Straff; July 2010
- “Shape”; Get the Legs of a Dancer; Jeanine Detz; July 2010
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.