It’s time to turn your abs training workout upside down — and in a way, that’s not far from literal truth, based on the reverse direction used in most of these movements. Canadian fitness icon Eren Legend here demonstrates a broad series of effective moves that mainly target your lower abs and to a lesser extent your obliques at the very end. Whether you need to tone down or bring up the muscles of your lower abs, this workout will get you real results — fast!
Giving emphasis to your lower abs, this workout will challenge your strength and endurance to effectively build tone using a smorgasbord of equipment. Each of the first four movements is designed to target your lower abs almost exclusively, while the finishing move involving twists will hit both your lower abs and obliques.
Don’t be concerned with the length of time required to complete a set; ignore others you may observe at the gym who perform rapid-fire speed reps when training abs. Remember that although you want them small in size, they are indeed a group of muscles. Therefore, you should rather focus on strict execution of every single rep for best results.
Exercise Sets Reps Rest
MEDICINE BALL REVERSE SIT-UP 4 12 1:00 min.
INCLINE–BENCH REVERSE CRUNCH 4 12 1:00 min.
TRX SUSPENDED KNEE TUCK 4 12 1:00 min.
REVERSE CRUNCH (WITH PLATE) 4 12 1:00 min.
KETTLEBELL RUSSIAN TWIST 3 15 30 secs.
MEDICINE BALL REVERSE SIT-UP
Start: Place a mat on the floor and lie on it face up with your back straight. Take a medicine ball and position it between your legs just below your knees, squeezing it so it remains in position. Draw your legs inward and flex your knees until they’re bent 90 degrees, then lift your legs upward such that your feet come a few inches off the ground. Place your arms directly at your sides and extended. Just before you begin the movement, ensure your head is secure on the floor, in line with your spine.
Execution: Contract through your lower abs and draw your legs inward even further along the same rotational arc. Make sure that your torso, head, and arms do not move at all, which would assist in the ascent. Continue the motion until your quads come into contact with your chest, as your glutes will raise off the ground as well. Hold in this top position for a second, then using control, release the squeeze in your core and lower your legs along the same path back to the start.
Tip: It’s not necessary for you to bring your feet together, because depending on the length of your lower legs, this might release tension and cause the ball to shift or drop.
INCLINE–BENCH REVERSE CRUNCH
Start: Approach an incline bench and position your back on it, fully straight. Reach above and behind your head to grasp onto the handles which will help maintain your position. With your legs long and feet together, raise them a few inches off the ground and hold a steady position. You should feel the tension in your lower abs and quads.
Execution: Making sure to hold onto the handles prior to the movement, contract sharply through your lower abs in particular. Draw your legs inward as you increase the flex in your knees, and continue the movement against the force of gravity until your knees have almost come into contact with your upper chest. By this point, your glutes will have risen significantly above the bench. Hold at this top position for a second, then lower using control back to the start.
Tip: The first time you attempt this exercise, make sure to use an appropriate bench that’s about a 30-degree incline and develop strength gradually. A 45-degree bench is often too steep for beginners.
ADVANCED Execution Extension: For an advanced challenge that involves not only your abs but also your back and biceps, you may extend the motion as shown by Eren here. Kick your feet upward, legs still together, and pull your back up off of the bench even higher. In the top position, your legs will be perpendicular to the floor. Hold here, squeeze an extra contraction from your abs, and then lower using control all the way down to the very start.
TRX SUSPENDED KNEE TUCK
Start: Place a dumbbell facing upright on the floor a few feet away from the TRX apparatus. Place your feet inside the straps and then hold onto the top of the dumbbell with both hands and arms extended. Lower yourself into a horizontal plane by kicking your legs back and allowing your arms to flex on top of the dumbbell. As shown, you’ll have formed something of a push-up position, suspended in air.
Execution: With your back straight and feet secure, draw your knees in towards your core, with your calves remaining parallel to the floor. Think of it as a shuttle across with your legs, rather than an arcing movement. At the same time, extend your arms such that your back rises, but make sure to keep it also in a flat plane. Continue the motion until your knees cross the plane of your forearms. Hold here for a second, then reverse the direction to return to the start.
Tip: Although many other muscles come into play here, remember to initiate the action with a strong contraction through your lower abs; this will facilitate each rep.
REVERSE CRUNCH (WITH PLATE)
Start: Approach a short bench and grasp a plate on opposite sides using a neutral grip with both hands. Lie upward on the bench with your back straight and butt also on top of the bench. Elongate your body as much as possible, raising your legs straight in line and with your feet together. Holding onto the plate, raise your arms above your head parallel to the floor so that they’re nearly locked out.
Execution: Inhale sharply before you begin the move, then squeeze your lower abs to start. In a simultaneous action, draw both your legs and arms inward, causing them to flex as the plate comes into contact with your knees. In this top position, your quads will be perpendicular to the bench with your knees flexed about 90 degrees; also, your upper back will have risen off the bench and your upper arms will have come into contact with your quads. Hold for a full second, then lower both halves of your body using control.
Tip: Resist the force of gravity when you return to the start by only gently releasing the contraction in your abs; avoid just letting go in an abrupt release from the top.
KETTLEBELL RUSSIAN TWIST
Start: Grasp a kettlebell by the sides of its horn using both hands with a neutral grip. Sit on the floor, then from an upright position, lean back about 45 degrees while keeping your back straight and head in line with your spine. Next, raise your feet a few inches above the ground and draw your legs inward until they’re flexed almost 90 degrees at your knees. Your feet should remain in a comfortable, shoulder-width position. Feel a contraction in your obliques and lower abs as you swing the ’bell over to one side.
Execution: From a near-full stretch to one side, simply release the tension gradually through your core and rotate over to the other side as the tension increases therein. Make sure your legs remain motionless; especially ensure your feet don’t bob up and down. Keep the ’bell close as it crosses over in front of your chest (another variation is to extend your arms, producing a wide arc). Once you arrive at the other side, hold for a half-second, then reverse the motion and continue. Each trip back and forth constitutes one rep.
Tip: Be sensible with the weight you use; don’t attempt to twist with an excessive weight just because your arms are strong enough to hold it at the start. Focus on good form with your abs and a consistent path of motion.