So many of our favourite exercises and workouts need equipment: rowing machines, barbells, ski ergs… a gym’s worth of metal not everyone has the space or finances to accommodate. But when it comes to ab exercises, just your bodyweight is enough to make serious gains.
The goal of regular abdominal training is to build a strong trunk which will guide the rest of your workouts. A solid core helps to transfer control and force throughout the body, stabilize your spine and help control movement.
Doing regular ab exercises at home will help you not just in your workouts and athletic goals, but also help in treating back pain, improving posture and even help you breathe better.
What are your abdominals?
Your abdominals are a set of muscles whose primary function is to support the trunk, allow movement and hold organs in place by regulating internal abdominal pressure. They are also the muscle group you want to train if you are looking to achieve a six pack.
You have four main abdominal muscles. These are the:
- Transversus abdominis
- Rectus abdominis
- External oblique muscles
- Internal oblique muscles
Training these muscles is an important part of any workout regime, and one of the best things about them is they can be done with minimal equipment from home. Training your abdominals helps support the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen. This will mean an increase in stability and balance. A strong core is vital to perform many physical activities at a high level.
Ab Exercises To Do From Home
For all of these exercises you’ll need a mat or comfortable space on the floor, but nothing else. These exercises can be done from anywhere.
1 Flutter Kicks / Scissor Kicks
Flutter and scissor Kicks activate muscles in the lower abdomen. Lie on your back and raise your legs to around a 45 degree angle. Move your legs up and down in quick but controlled movements to perform the flutter kicks, and side to side for the scissor kicks.
2 Crunch Kicks
Crunches are a popular and effective core workout. Crunch kicks target your lower abs and hit a lot of those tiny muscles in the hips that support your pelvis.
To complete a crunch kicks lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your shoulders slightly raised. Lift your legs off the floor, bend your knees, and pull them towards your chest. Brace your abs and repeat for 5 / 10 / 13 repetitions.
3 Leg Raisers – Ab exercises
Another one to activate the lower abs, Leg raisers are a great exercise for spine stabilisation. Lie on your back with your core braced and lower back flat on the ground. Slowly raise your legs to the point that you feel the burn in your lower abs. Slowly lower your legs back down and repeat.
4 Hollow Hold
The static hollow hold is an isometric bodyweight exercise which felts develop a stable core and build strength. This movement targets many muscles but is very good for the transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis.
Lie on your back with your arms above your head. Engage your abdominal muscles and lift your arms and legs off the floor together. You do not need to bring your arms and legs high into the air, only 1 or 2 inches, to reap the benefits. Hold this position for 30 seconds, or less if you’re a beginner. Make sure you press your lower back into the ground.
V-Ups are a lot like hollow holds but with dynamic movement. It’s a popular exercise because it works both sets of upper and lower abs while also getting your heart rate up! To complete a V-Up, start by lying on your back either on the floor or a mat.
Extend your arms behind your head and your legs straight out, with your feet touching. Keeping your feet together and toes pointed, slowly lift your legs up at the same time as you lift your upper body. Reach for your toes with your hands and squeeze your abdominal muscles in.
6 Side Plank
Another popular static exercise, side planks are used for strengthening the oblique abdominal muscles. There are several variations ranging in difficulty, but a simple side plank involves lying on one side with your feet stacked on top of each other and then lifting your hips and supporting the hold with your arm — either hand or forearm.
7 Up-Down Plank
A more challenging variation of the static plank, up-down planks are a great cardio plank exercise that strengthen your arms, core and abs all in one go.
Start the exercise in a plank position on your hands. Lower your one elbow to the mat and then your left, coming into an elbow plank. Put your right hand on the mat, and straighten your right elbow. Do the same on the left to return to a full plank.
8 Elbow Crunch Plank
Another plank variation similar to mountain-climbers, elbow crunch planks will also make you sweat while working your abs and strengthening your core.
Start in a normal plank position, and then bring your right knee towards your right elbow, then repeat on the left side.
9 Frog Crunch
An exercise that works both your abs and hip flexors, frog crunches help strengthen your obliques and rectus abdominis.
Lie on your back like you would if performing a regular crunch. Bend your knees and open your hips like you could for a static hip flexor stretch. Then perform the crunch as you normally would with your hands either on your chest or behind your head.
- Sit Up: Brian Jones on Unsplash