Although everyone stores excess body fat differently, the lower belly area tends to be a place where a few extra pounds settle for a lot of people. So, if you've ever struggled to zip up your jeans, you're not alone.
Body-weight and belly-fat accumulation are determined by three main things: how many calories you consume during the day, how many you burn off and your age, according to the Mayo Clinic.
And although you can't spot reduce lower belly fat, there are exercises you can do that strengthen this underlying muscles that — when combined with a healthy, calorie-reduced diet, regular cardiovascular exercise and full-body strength training — will give your midsection a leaner look.
This 20-minute lower-ab routine is specifically designed to work your entire core, placing the most emphasis on the lower portion of your abdominal muscles. Get ready to work your lower abs with this simple-but-effective core blaster!
Do: 2 minutes of full-body cardio moves such as jumping jacks, jumping rope, jogging in place, body-weight squats or standing torso twists.
Do: each exercise for 60 seconds. Rest 60 seconds and repeat the 5 exercises again for another 60 seconds.
Move 1: Bent-Knee Windshield Wipers
- Sit with knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.
- Lean back and prop your upper body on elbows (your back should remain lifted off the floor), palms facing down.
- Brace your abdominals and lift your legs to a 90-degree angle — knees touching and toes pointed.
- Slowly bring legs over to the left while keeping both glutes on the ground.
- Keeping the 90-degree angle with your legs, pull your knees to the right.
- Continue alternating.
Move 2: Dead Bug
- Lie on your back with your arms extended toward the ceiling and your legs bent to 90 degrees, knees above your hips.
- Moving with control, straighten your right leg out, while lowering your left arm overhead. Keep your arm and leg hovering a few inches off the ground.
- Bring your arm and leg to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side, lowering your right leg and left arm before drawing them back together. That's one rep.
Move 3: Standing Criss-Cross Crunch
- Stand up tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands behind your head, elbows pointing out to the sides.
- Bend your right leg and lift your knee as high as you can.
- At the same time, rotate your torso to the right and bring your right knee to your left elbow.
- Return to standing and repeat with the opposite arm and leg.
Move 4: Knee to Elbow Plank
- Start in a high plank, balancing on your hands and toes and your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
- With core engaged, bring your right knee to your right elbow.
- Return your foot back to the floor.
- Repeat with the left leg.
Don’t allow your hips to sag; keep your core tight throughout the whole movement.
Move 5: Supine Toe Tap
- Lie down on your back. Lift and bend your knees to 90 degrees. Brace your core and inhale.
- Exhale and tap your right toes on the floor, keeping your left knee at 90 degrees.
- Return to starting position and repeat with the left foot.