Here’s a double whammy: These nine lower ab exercises will sculpt and tone your abs while easing back pain, too.
Strengthening the lower abdominals helps stabilize your core, which can both prevent and treat back pain. The core includes lower back muscles along with deep stabilizing muscles. The stronger these muscles are, the more support there is for your spine. When they are weak, the unsupported spine has to work harder to keep itself upright, leading to poor posture, and, ultimately, pain and the risk for injury.
Practice these nine easy lower ab exercises two to three times per week to strengthen your core and fix back pain. All you need is an exercise mat or a towel. Tip: Make sure that you breathe deeply as you practice each one and focus on the muscles that you are working!
9 Lower Ab Exercises That Also Help Erase Back Pain
Bird Dog | 10 reps per side
This exercise strengthens the lower abs and the lower back.
- Find a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Engage your abs by drawing your navel up and in towards your spine.
- Press down firmly through your right hand as you inhale and reach your left arm forward and your right leg straight back behind you. Flex your toes towards the ground and use your core strength to balance. Then, exhale as you place the hand and knee back down.
- Switch sides, reaching your right hand forward and your left leg back. Then, continue alternating for 10 reps per side.
Leg Raises | 10 reps
The further you lower your legs in this exercise, the more challenging it will be. If you feel any strain in your lower back, or if you can’t keep your back flat against the mat, don’t lower your legs as much.
- Lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air and your arms down by your sides.
- Pull your navel up and in towards your spine and press your lower back into the mat.
- Keep the lower back down as you inhale to lower your legs a few inches towards the ground.
- Then, exhale as you lift your legs back up towards the sky and tighten your lower ab muscles. Repeat for 10 reps.
Supine Plank Hold | 20 sec
This isometric exercise will make your belly burn! As you get more advanced, challenge yourself to a 30-second hold.
- Lie faceup on your mat with your legs straight and your arms down by your sides. Engage your abs.
- Inhale to lift your head, shoulders, hands, and feet off the ground. Tilt your chin slightly towards your chest and squeeze your thighs together.
- Breathe and hold for 20 seconds. If you feel a strain in your lower back, lift your legs up a bit higher.
Flutter Kick | 20 sec
You’ll strengthen your inner thighs and hips flexors along with your lower abs in this pain-preventing exercise.
- Lie faceup with your legs straight up in the air. Engage your abs.
- Keep your lower back on the mat and lower your legs a foot or two towards the ground.
- Criss-cross your right leg over your left, and then your left leg over your right.
- Continue alternating for 20 seconds, feeling your abs, hips, and inner thighs working.
Knee Tuck | 10 reps
This exercise strengthens the lower abs and hip flexors for a strong, stable core.
- Lie on your back with your arms down by your sides. Bend your knees and lift your feet off the ground.
- Tuck your knees into your chest and lift your head and shoulders off the mat.
- Inhale to straighten your legs out at a 45-degree angle as you lower your head to the ground. Then, exhale to tuck the knees back into your chest as you lift your head and shoulders back up.
- Repeat for 10 reps.
Boat Crunch | 10 reps
This lower ab exercise takes the knee tuck to the next level.
- Lie on your back. Reach your arms over your head, and straighten your legs down long.
- Inhale, then exhale to lift your head, shoulders, and back off the ground as you tuck your knees into your chest and reach your arms forward.
- Inhale to lower back down.
- Repeat for 10 reps.
Mountain Climbers | 20 sec
Get a cardio blast with this heart-pumping exercise.
- Start in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked above your wrists. Make sure that your hips are in line with your shoulders and that your abs are engaged.
- Bring your right knee into your chest. Then, step your right foot back and tuck your left knee into your chest.
- Continue going slowly, or turn up the volume and hop from your right foot to your left as quickly as you can. Keep moving for 20 seconds.
Bicycles | 20 sec
This lower ab exercise also targets the obliques, giving your core the extra support it needs to keep your lower back safe and pain-free.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and shins parallel to the mat. Interlace your fingers behind your head.
- Inhale to lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Then exhale to twist to the right as you straighten out your left leg. Try to tap your left elbow towards your right knee.
- Inhale to come back to center, then exhale to switch sides. Continue going slowly side-to-side for 20 seconds.
Standing Knee Drive | 20 sec per side
Turn up the heat and tone your lower abs with this cardio exercise.
- Begin standing with your right toes pointed out at a 45-degree angle. Lift up onto the ball of your left foot. Raise your arms and keep your elbows bent.
- Inhale, then exhale to lift your left leg up and tuck the knee in towards your chest as you pull your elbows back.
- Inhale to step your left foot back to the starting position. Repeat for 20 seconds, then switch legs.