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Lower Abs Workouts For A Six-Pack – Not A Two-Pack

Superman plank
(Image credit: Unknown)

It is, as everyone knows, really quite hard to get the type of six-pack you see on fitness models, and even harder to maintain it. It is, however, far easier to get a two-pack. If you regularly perform abs workouts and back that up by eating a healthy diet, your upper abs will quickly start to emerge.

Unfortunately the rest of your abs won’t simply follow. The upper abs are the first to show and the easiest to work, because most of the best-known abs exercises target them specifically. 

In order to achieve a full six-pack you need to consider your lower abs and your obliques. You can take the time to devise a careful plan using the best oblique exercises and other moves that target the lower abs, or you can simply leave all that planning to us and use the three workouts below.

Each of the three lower abs workouts is made up of five moves performed as a superset and then a tri-set. This means you’ll be doing two or three moves almost back-to-back with little rest, which keeps your core muscles under tension to maximise the benefits. The exercises have been chosen to work your abs muscles from different angles to make sure you’re hitting every part of them.

To complete the superset you do the first exercise (marked with an A) and the rest period, if any, then do the second (marked with a B) and any rest period, then go back to the A move again and continue until all the sets listed are done. The same is true of the tri-set, but you’ll be doing three exercises and rest periods in order – 2A, 2B, 2C, then back to 2A – until all the sets listed have been completed.

One last note is that each workout involves doing the hanging leg raise or one of its variations, which means you’ll need something to hang from. In the workouts below we suggest gymnastic rings because they create more instability, which is great for developing your core strength, but you can also use a pull-up bar. If you want to save money, cancel your gym membership, buy one of our recommendations of the best pull-up bars and perform these sessions at home. 

Lower Abs Workout 1

Superset

This superset works your core and lower abs especially hard as you move your legs upwards, downwards, left and right. Keep each rep quite fast but always controlled so it’s your muscles that do the work, not just your legs swinging back and forth.

1A Hanging knee raise

Targets Entire core

Hanging knee raise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 4 Reps 15 Rest 30sec

Hang from a set of rings or pull-up bar with an overhand grip and straight legs. Brace your abs, then draw your knees up towards your chest. Hold this position for a one-count, then lower back to the start. That’s one rep.

1B Hanging knee twist

Targets Entire abs and core

Hanging knee twist

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 4 Reps 15 each side Rest 60sec

The set-up is the same as move 1A, except once your draw your knees up, you keep them bent and rotate them one side, then the other, alternating sides for the duration of the set.

Tri-set

This tri-set targets your entire core, which must maintain tension to keep your body stable, as well as your side abs with the introduction of some movements that keep your body guessing.

2A Alternating leg raise

Targets Lower abs

Alternating leg raise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 4 Reps 25 each leg Rest 30sec

Lie flat on your back with your hands behind your head, holding your feet just off the floor with legs straight. Raise one leg and lower it again, then repeat with the other leg.

2B Plank jack

Targets Entire core

Plank jack

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 4 Reps 25 Rest 30sec

Start in a plank position resting on your forearms with feet together. Jump your feet out to the sides, then back in again. That’s one rep.

2C Superman plank

Targets Entire core

Superman plank

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 60sec

Start in a plank position resting on your forearms with feet together. Lift your left leg while extending your right arm forwards, then bring them back to the start position. Repeat with the opposite limbs. That’s one rep.

Lower Abs Workout 2

Superset

The first part of this workout is a pre-fatigue superset. The tougher hanging leg raise comes first to really test your abs, so when you move on to the slightly easier hanging knee raise, you will already be fatiguing so additional muscle fibres will be recruited to help with the reps. This means you work your abs harder in less time.

1A Hanging leg raise

Targets Lower abs and core

Hanging leg raise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 0sec

Hang from rings or a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Brace your abs and raise your legs, keeping them straight, until they are parallel to the floor. Pause for a one-count, then lower.

1B Hanging knee raise

Targets Lower abs and core

Hanging knee raise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 3 Reps 15-20 Rest 60sec

Hang from rings or a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Brace your abs, then draw your knees up until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause for a one-count, then lower.

Tri-Set

This tri-set targets your lower abs and your obliques. These reps should be fast yet controlled – the key is to get into a smooth and regular rep movement pattern while maintaining tension throughout your entire core. Be prepared: this tri-set is tough and your abs will burn, so extend the rest periods slightly if you need a little more recovery time.

2A Garhammer raise

Targets Lower abs and core

Garhammer raise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 4 Reps 20-25 Rest 20sec

Start at the top of the hanging knee raise, then squeeze your abs to raise your knees higher. Lower back to the start, keeping tension on your abs throughout. Ensure these reps are fast but controlled.

2B Hanging knee side raise left

Targets Lower abs and obliques

Hanging knee side raise left

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 20sec

Hang from rings or a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Brace your abs, then draw your knees up and to your left-hand side. Pause for a one-count, then lower.

2C Hanging knee side raise right

Targets Lower abs and obliques

Hanging knee side raise right

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 60sec

Hang from rings or a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Brace your abs, then draw your knees up and to your right-hand side. Pause for a one-count, then lower.

Lower Abs Workout 3

Superset

The key to turning a two-pack into a fully-fledged six-pack is to work your lower abs and obliques (side abs) harder than ever before. This superset hits both those regions of the abdominals, but you need to make sure you maintain tension on the working muscles for every rep of every set to reap the rewards.

1A Hanging knee raise

Targets Lower abs

Hanging knee raise

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 4 Reps 15 Rest 10sec

Hang from a pull-up bar or rings with your feet together and legs straight. Brace your abs, then draw your knees up towards your chest. Pause in this top position for a second, then lower your feet back towards the floor.

1B Hanging knee twist

Targets Lower abs

Hanging knee twist

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 4 Reps 15 Rest 60sec

Start at the top of the hanging knee raise position. Keeping your abs braced, twist to one side, then back across to the other side. That’s one rep. Don’t let your knees drop during the set.

Tri-Set

This three-move mini-set is based on three challenging variations of the standard plank to fully test those deep-lying stabilising muscles of your core, but with the added bonus of movement to work the lower abs and obliques too. As with all plank moves, engage your abs and glutes at the start of each set, and keep your hips raised without letting them sag.

2A Shoulder tap plank


Targets Entire core

Shoulder tap plank

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 10sec

Start in the top of a press-up position with both hands under your shoulders. Brace your core, then raise one hand to tap the opposite shoulder, then do the same with the other hand. That’s one rep.

2B Superman plank

Targets Entire core

Superman plank

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 4 Reps 12 Rest 10sec

Start in the plank position, resting on your forearms with your core tight. Raise one leg and the opposite arm and hold them out straight. Return to the start position, then repeat with the opposite leg and arm. That’s one rep.

2C Plank jack

Targets Lower abs and obliques

Plank jack

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Sets 4 Reps 20 Rest 60sec

Start in the plank position, resting on your forearms. Keeping your core braced, jump both feet out to the sides, then back to the start position. Keep each jump smooth and controlled without letting your hips sag during the set.

Joe Warner
Joe Warner

Joe Warner worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach, from 2008 to 2013, then returned as editor of Men’s Fitness UK from 2016 to 2019.