Training your core can truly help you progress in other exercises. Improve your core, and you’ll see a difference in your squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. Core strength also helps reduce the risk of developing lower back pain, but we all know the most common reason people train their core is to get a six pack for the summer! However, it can be a struggle to get those abdominal muscles summer-ready without access to a gym. So here are five ab exercises that can help you get towards your goal of a tighter tummy.
Mountain climbers start in a plank position with straight arms. Quickly bring one knee up towards your chest, then bring it back to the center plank position, and repeat with the other foot. This is a fast-paced exercise that’s meant to work your core and get your heart rate going. Speed means more reps and more ab work. It’s a tough one, but try and do 30 of these and see how it feels.
Leg raises are an excellent way to work the lower abdominal muscles. Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms at your side. While keeping the lower back pressed into the ground, raise your legs until they’re at a 90 degree angle with your hips. Then it’s all about control; lower your legs really slowly towards the ground. The slower you move in this part, the harder you work your core, but if you need it a little easier, you can bend your knees through the movement and work upwards to increase the difficulty level.
Hip dips target all of your primary core muscles as well as the obliques, or what many people call ‘side abs’. Start in a plank position on your elbows (and knees if you need a slightly easier movement), then rotate your hips to the right and tap the floor with your thigh. Return to the center plank position and repeat the motion on the opposite side. This rotating movement can help shrink your waist by developing your oblique muscles. Remember to move in a controlled manner and keep your back flat when you return to the center.
Half Boat Pose
The boat pose is great to strengthen your muscles and bring out that ab definition you’re looking for. Start seated with your back upright, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Have your arms straight out in front of you, reaching past your knees.
Raise your feet off the ground and lean back until your legs are straight but your shoulders are not yet touching the floor. Hold yourself here to feel some burn, or return to the upright position by sitting up and bending your knees. Then repeat! The boat pose will strengthen your core endurance to help with other exercises.
A top tip for this one is to remember to breathe through the core shakes. You’ll know what that is when you try it!
One more awesome ab exercise you can do at home is the jack knife. Start by lying on your back with unbent legs and arms straight above your head parallel to the floor. In a controlled movement, bring your arms and legs up, reaching for your toes, with lower back down. Remember, the more controlled this movement is, the more you’ll engage your core and work those muscles.
Now it’s time to combine them all. These exercises can either be done with reps or for a certain amount of time. To start with, see if you can do all five exercises in a row, each one for thirty seconds without a rest in between, and repeat the set three times. If that’s too easy, try each for a minute each and you’ll definitely feel the burn!
Maddy has worked in the health and fitness industry for 5 years. She has a bachelors in Exercise Science and has recently received her Masters in Exercise Physiology. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients as a Personal Trainer and loves helping people reach their goals and continue to grow. She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking and whatever new experiences may come her way.
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