Want a flat belly, but you have no time for the gym and no home-gym equipment? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with these 5 at home ab exercises that are both fun and effective.
Can You Really Work Your Abs Effectively at Home?
The answer is a resounding YES! When it comes to your ab workout, you don’t need fancy gym equipment. All you need is focus, consistency, and proper form. It’s the quality of your ab workout that will help you strengthen your core, not hundreds of crunches or dangerous sit-ups and other poorly executed exercises. And, all this can easily be achieved in the privacy and convenience of your own home with these few easy tips.
Why Are Strong Abdominals Important?
A strong core is critical because it affects everything you do. From sitting and standing to bending and twisting, the strength of your abdominal muscles is essential. Not only do abs support your entire body, but having a strong midsection can help support your back, too, which can mean less back pain. Strong, toned abs also help you maintain proper balance and great posture. And, when your body is aligned, your organs can function more easily and without obstruction.
So, yes, a strong core is very desirable, and not just for aesthetic reasons. Now that you know it’s important to work your abs and you can easily get it done, are you ready to get started with these 5 at home ab exercises?
Top 5 At Home Ab Exercises
1. Plank—this is one of the most common and well-known ab exercises. This popular move works to strengthen the entire body while helping you stabilize using your core. Start by kneeling on all fours on a mat and move to a pushup position by stretching your legs straight out behind you while you distribute your weight on your toes and palms. Next, lower yourself down onto your forearms, so they are flat on the ground with your elbows aligned directly below your shoulders. Make sure your body forms a straight angled line from your head down to your heels and hold the position for 20 – 30 seconds. Release by dropping to your knees. Rest and repeat.
2. Reverse Crunches—these are easy to do just about anywhere and can make a real difference in the appearance of your midsection. But, that’s where the “easy” ends. Begin by lying on your back on the floor with your legs out straight. Your arms should be at your sides, palms down, and placed slightly under your hips. Bend your legs and lift your feet off the ground. Next, tighten your lower ab muscles to lift your hips off the ground and bring your knees toward your chin. Lower your legs in a controlled fashion without touching the ground and repeat.
The more you bend your knees, the easier this exercise will be. If you’d like to make the exercise more intense, simultaneously lift your upper body toward the ceiling as you bring your knees up. Hold for a count of 1 – 2 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
3. Birddog Crunch—these are fun and effective. Start on your hands and knees on a comfortable mat or rug. Your hands should be palms down with your arms straight (with a slight bend in the elbows) and aligned under your shoulders. Lift your right arm and thrust it forward until it is straight and parallel with the floor while at the same time straightening your left leg and kicking it back. Make sure your back stays flat, and perform each repetition in a controlled manner. Continue for ten repetitions without resting your hand or knee on the ground. Repeat on the opposite side.
4. Side Planks—don’t forget your obliques! Begin by lying on your right side. Put your feet together (one on top of the other), or to make the exercise a bit easier, one foot in front of the other, with the sides of both feet pressed into the ground. Now lift your upper body and hips off the ground with your right elbow directly underneath your right shoulder. Hold the position for 20 – 30 seconds. Release by gently lowering your whole body. Rest and repeat on the opposite side.
5. Bicycles—these begin the same way you started the Reverse Crunches. While lying on your back, with your hands placed lightly behind your head (don’t pull forward on your head or you could hurt your neck), raise your right knee toward your head. At the same time, bring your left elbow toward your right knee and repeat on the other side, alternating sides for 30 seconds.
Mix It Up for Even Better Results
Since your body is such an amazing creation, it’s no wonder it adapts easily to anything you throw at it, and that includes exercise. With that said, it’s important you don’t let your at home ab exercises become ineffective. You can avoid this by doing some of the following to confuse your body, keep it guessing, and get more results:
- More or less repetitions can mean more progress—change the number of repetitions per set. This is an easy way to keep your muscles guessing.
- Less rest—reducing the amount of time you rest between sets, or even doing short bursts of cardio in between sets such as jumping jacks or running in place can help boost your results in no time.
- Change your pace—you may be used to doing the same pace for each exercise and every repetition. To mix it up, try slowing it wayyyyyy down and focusing on the muscles you’re working. This kind of mind-body connection will really help maximize your progress as well.
And, Don’t Forget This When It Comes to Abs
You can work out your abs all you want, but don’t forget that you can’t out-train a bad diet. Since you’re going to be putting in the work on your midsection with consistent and quality focused ab exercises, make sure you’re also matching your efforts with a good diet plan that includes plenty of fresh, natural, whole, real foods. And, even better, couple those at home ab exercises for a win-win-win three-pronged approach by adding in some cardiovascular work as well, 3 – 5 times a week.