Let us now look at exercises that focus on your abs and core:
Planks are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises because the entire body is fully engaged during the process. The more you can hold the better. Planks develop strong core, which helps in all your exercises.
To perform a plank, you take a push-up position while your forearms are firmly on the floor. Ensure that you align your shoulders and elbows and maintain a flat back. Hold that position for about 2 minutes.
There are many variations of the plank; you can engage your back, shoulders, glutes, arms, and hamstrings. The most popular of this is side plank where you use your arms.
This intense workout strengthens the core. It is a variation of the standard plank where you get to a pushup position with one arm and the other stretched out. In order to stay parallel to the ground, you have to employ isometric balancing.
To do the exercise; Take a push-up position with your back flattened.
From this position raise your right hand and hold it straight in front of you. Maintain your body in a parallel position to the floor and hold it for about 30 seconds.
After this, return the right hand to the starting position and switch with the left hand. Repeat the process.
Bicycle crunch is an excellent workout for building core muscles and toning your thighs. To perform a bicycle crunch;
Lie on the ground facing up and place hands on either side of your head. Raise your right knee up, thigh perpendicular to the ground while your calves parallel to the ground.
Now lift your head up while touching your right elbow to your left knee. Make some pedal motion with your legs just as you are riding a bicycle.
Repeat for the opposite direction as you alternate. Target about 10 – 20 reps per set.
Reverse Crunches strengthen abdominal muscles; thus, doing them regularly will help you build those six-pack abs. To do a reverse crunch;
Lie straight on the floor and keep your hands on the floor on the side of your torso for the entire exercise.
Lift your legs up so that your thighs form a 90-degree angle while your calves are parallel to the floor.
While inhaling, thrust your hips off the floor so that your knees are almost touching the chest. Squeeze the contraction for a second and lower them to the ground while exhaling. Repeat the process.
This is a lower abdominal exercise that helps you build a stronger back.
To perform leg lifts:
Lie on the floor facing up while you keep your back intact on the floor all the time.
Raise both legs until the legs are somewhat perpendicular to the floor then lower them slowly to the ground but don’t allow them to touch the ground.
Try to take 3 to 5 seconds to lower your legs then repeat the process. For an easier exercise, you can bend your knees slightly but if you want a challenge, keep your knees straight all the time.
If you want to improve your abs then pulse-up is the exercise for you, as it helps to strengthen the core muscle.
To perform this exercise;
Lie on the ground with your hands under the tailbone.
Lift your legs up to a position perpendicular to the torso.
From this position, push up your hips off the ground then kick your legs in the air. Hold it there for a few seconds then lower them slowly to the floor. This constitutes one rep.
V-Ups exercise is an advanced Ab workout. It works on both your upper and lower abdominal muscles simultaneously to challenge your abs, core, back, and flexibility. To perform Ab V-Ups;
Lie flat on the ground facing up then lift your hands facing the ceiling.
With your two feet intact, raised them before raising your upper body off the ground; your body should form a V shape.
Try to squeeze your abdominal muscles as you touch the toes. Slowly lower back your body to the starting position and repeat the process.
This is an advanced ab exercise similar to the normal V-up only that you rest your body sideways on your hip. It strengthens your abs and obliques.
To do an oblique V-up,
you lie straight on either right or left side. If you are lying on right side, place your right arm on the floor to support the body while the left hand is behind your head.
Pull up your knees in and raise your upper body to form a V-shape. Make sure to keep your legs straight up.
Mason twist is an awesome exercise to build your obliques and center abdominal muscles.
To do a mason twist; Sit on the floor while knees are bent to form a V shape with your body.
Twist your torso to the right while keeping your hands close to the floor.
Make sure to move only the upper body. Similarly, twist to the left to complete a rep. Aim for about 2 sets of 15 reps. To make it more challenging, you can hold a ball or weight in your hands while twisting.
Frozen V-sit is an intense and one of the most effective exercises that work on your abs and obliques. If you have had goals of developing a tight six-pack then this is good for you. This exercise is referred to as frozen because it is a static hold. This is an advanced body movement; thus, you might need to be patient as it might take some time to master.
To do a frozen V-sit;
Lie straight on the floor while keeping your hands above your head.
Raise both the upper and lower body until you form a V-shape. Maintain that shape until you can’t hold it any longer.
This is one of the best exercises for building the anterior core, as it works on the upper abs, abdominis, and the internal and external obliques. It is important to try other simple workouts before progressing to this exercise.
To do this exercise;
Sit on your knees while holding the ab roller with both hands in front of you.
Slowly roll the ab roller straight forward to full stretch without touching the floor with your body.
Contract your abs and pull yourself to the starting position. Repeat the process for maximum output.
Plank Knee Tucks
Plank Knee Tucks are designed to build muscles of lower abs, transverse abdominis, and obliques. To do a Plank Knee Tuck;
Start from a push-up position. Your back should be flat from the shoulders to heels.
Bring your right knee towards your right elbow. Hold on to that position for 20 seconds then return to the starting position and rest for 10 seconds.
Continue to alternate between left and right knees.
To make the work out more challenging, you can bring your knee towards the opposite elbow.
Hanging Knee Raises
Hanging Knee raises build your lower abs and obliques. This exercise can be done from anywhere all you need is something to hang on. The most widely used method is hanging from a pull-up bar. For effective results, you need to do it slowly. To start off;
Hang on the bar with a grip that is comfortable with your hands shoulder width apart. You can increase the width if you feel necessary especially if you are tall.
Raise your knees towards your chest then hold on for about 2 seconds then lower back to starting position. Repeat the process.
This exercise got its name from our body looking like a clamshell when you are doing it. It is a fantastic exercise for building strength and muscles of the lower abs, upper abs, and obliques.
To do the clamshell crunch exercise;
Lie on the floor with your legs slightly bent. You can then rest your head on your hands.
Open and close your knees by lifting your top knee straight up like a clam.
When you close, the elbows and knees should touch. Repeat the process for about 10 – 15 times.
Dragon flag exercise is named after Bruce Lee. He was often referred to as “the Dragon”. It is a relatively complicated body movement often associated with entertainment but has several benefits such as building tension required in many other exercises.
It also works on the entire torso. To do this exercise, Brace hard on a bench while your hands remain fixated. Throw your legs up as if you are working on a reverse crunch.
After that, lower your body while ensuring that only the upper part of the body touches the bench. Ensure that you do not bend at the waist but maintain a straight line.
Mountain climbers combine the difficulty of plank, core stabilization while alternating knee drives.
To do a mountain climb Start with your hands and knees in a push-up position.
Bring your left knee just under your chest then kick it back.
Alternate with your right knee while the left remain straightened this time.
Continue repeating this process while increasing or reducing the speed. These knee drives increase heartbeat, which helps in burning calories and flattening abs.
Sprinter Sit-up is an excellent exercise for developing the core muscles. To do sprinter sit-up;
Sit down with your knees straight and arms by your side.
Bring the right knee towards your chest while swinging the left hand forward as if sprinting.
Return the right leg and the left arm to the starting position. Go for another round of sit-up but this time with your left leg in your chest while swinging the right hand.
Continue while alternating right and left legs and arms. Persons with weak or injured elbows or back problems should not do this exercise.
Flutter kick is a fantastic exercise for building your abdominal muscles, especially the lower abs. It is also best to work your hip flexors. If you perform this exercise towards the end of your routine workout, it will boost your endurance levels. To do the workout;
Lie flat on the floor facing up while your arms are by your side and palms facing down.
With your legs fully extended, lift them about 6 inches off the ground then do some up and down motion while keeping the core engaged. Your legs should not touch the ground.
Single Leg Abdominal Press
Single leg abdominal press exercise strengthens your core muscle. To do this exercise;
Lie on the floor facing up and your knees bent.
Raise your left leg up so that the thigh is perpendicular to the floor.
Push your left hand on top of the lifted leg as you pull the left knee with your abdominal muscles towards the left hand.
Take about 3 – 5 seconds before lowering it to the starting position. Repeat the exercise with your right hand and knee.
Double Leg Abdominal Press
This is an advanced form of single leg abdominal press. When you are comfortable with the single leg, you can try double leg abdominal press. Each move is supposed to strengthen your back and relieve you from soreness. Use the exercise to build your abs, pelvis, and back.
To perform a double leg abdominal press;
Lie on the floor with your back in neutral position while your knees are bent.
Tighten your abdominal muscles and raise your legs from the ground so that the hips are perpendicular to the ground.
Rest your hands on top of your knees. Try to use your abdominal muscles to pull your knees towards your hands then lower them to starting position. Repeat this process.
Dynamic Prone Plank
This exercise strengthens and tones various body muscles and is the perfect exercise to finish your workout session. To do this exercise;
Get into a push-up position then push up your rear towards the ceiling into a downward dog yoga position while lengthening your legs and arms.
Return to starting position then bend your elbows to face away from your body then lower your torso and legs towards the ground.
Push your chest and head towards the ceiling using your arm strength to form a cobra pose. Push your body back to start position and repeat for 5 to 10 times.