The Best Lower Ab Exercise Ever?

Weighted leg lifts just may be the best lower ab exercise, ever.

If you’re like me and hit the gym often, you may break your abdominal exercises into different days. I tend to do obliques (side abdominal muscles) on one day, lower abs another and then upper abs and core on yet another day. It’s a great way to work the abs frequently, but to also allow for rest. Nonetheless, in all of my experimenting and testing and tribulations, I’ve yet to find a lower ab exercise as powerful as weighted leg lifts.

You can either perform weighted leg lifts on a mat or, for a more challenging workout, on a bench (it will increase your range of motion in the exercise). You’ll also need a light dumbbell; I use a 10-pounder.

As the name would imply, a weighted leg lift is essentially a leg lift with a weight in between your feet. Here’s what you do:

  1. Start on the mat or bench with your hands at your side as pictured. For a more challenging variation, place your hands behind your head and contract your abs as though doing a crunch (shoulder blades should be lifted off the mat).
  2. Keep your legs out straight. Place a light dumbbell in between your feet as pictured.
  3. Contract your abs and lift the dumbbell a few feet of the ground, performing a leg lift.
  4. Pause for a moment, then lower the weight to near the starting position – just don’t let it touch the floor. Repeat 8 – 12 times.

If you do try this exercise on a bench, you’ll notice that the added elevation increases the range of motion of your legs. Your starting position would be lower than is possible on the floor – so the workout is harder and more challenging. And if it’s possible, this is a great exercise to do with a friend. Getting the weight in between your feet isn’t always easy by yourself!

If you know of any great lower ab exercises, please share them in the comments below! And if you’re able to give weighted leg lifts a try, let me know what you think.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I’m partial to the Hanging Leg Lifts using AbStraps. You can do these weighted or not. They’re amazing for the entire core, but they really work the lower abs too.

    Insert arms into AbStraps so that your upper arms are parallel to the ground.

    Let your body hang. Cross legs at ankles with a slight bend in your knees.

    Slowly raise legs til your knees touch your elbows.

    Hold for a beat.

    Slowly lower your legs.

    Do not allow your body to swing. Taking the momentum out of the exercise engages the core.

  2. One of my favorite abs exercises, which is a variation of this one is the hanging leg raise.

    Of course if you really want to take it the next level, you can add weights to that just as you do with the leg raises, if you dare!

    Chris Cannon

  3. Davey-
    You’re make a wish video was amazing. I never posted a wish because i felt that myself, my family, and my friends are all doing good and other people could use the wish more then me. I guess I want to know if it’s too late for one more wish? About two hours ago I was told that a friend of mine could possibly have leukemia. We won’t know fully what is going on until Monday, but I’m slightly scared. And if I’m that way, i can only imagine how he must feel. I want to know is it too late to make just one more wish. If not I want my wish to be…

    I wish that my friend will be safe from leukemia and keep for him not to be scared.

    Thanks Davey,

  4. I will have to start adding this to my workout from now on too.

  5. I’ve tried this before but without the weights. I definitely have to add that to it. But about the wishing paper video you made.. Honestly I loved that video so much. It made me tear up when I saw the cancer free wish. I hope he gets his wish to be cancer free .

  6. Davey, how do you take the stress off your lower back when doing the weighted horizontal lower ab lifts? I’m a fan of the hanging leg raises as well (with weights!)…

  7. contract the abs… OMG, I barelly can breath doing such exercise! o.O