At-Home Ab Workout
Many people think that folks only need to work out their upper and lower bodies. However, without a strong core, your movement, posture, form, and overall functionality will suffer. Core strength helps with walking, running, lifting, squatting, etc.
Try this at home ab workout
In short, a strong core allows for the most effective workouts/movement and assists with injury prevention.
Furthermore, I am by no means saying that all people need washboard abs; however, all people should work on their core enough to support their workouts and lifestyles.
Parts of the Core
There are three basic parts of the core to target in your workouts: “the top abs” (above the belly button), “the lower abs” (below the belly button), and the obliques (“the side abs”). There are more parts to the abdominals, but for this article, we will focus on the three listed.
Three Great Exercises
There are so many great at-home ab workouts and exercises out there. Today, we will be talking about three of my favorites: planks, bicycles, and leg raise. These exercises require minimal equipment, so they can be done nearly anywhere.
If you have any sort of injury or physical limitation please consult your doctor before trying any of these.
This exercise targets the obliques. Lay in the supine position on a mat. Place your hands behind your head while keeping your elbows wide.
Crunch from the obliques (not the neck), and bring your elbow to the opposite knee (while still keeping your elbows wide). Then, switch elbows and knees.
When switching sides, try to fully extend the leg that is not being brought to the elbow. However, if this is too challenging, feel free to keep the sole of the foot on the floor or keep the leg in a bent position.
This exercise can be done for reps or time. How you utilize this movement depends on your fitness level and fitness program.
Make sure you are in neutral spine (body is in a straight line). Also, be sure to have your arms right under your shoulders whether you are doing a high plank (on the hands) or planking on the forearms.
Try to engage not only the core but also the glutes for this exercise.
Start with a time that is challenging for you, but doable.
If you need an extra challenge you can add weight to your back (if this is safe to do for you and you have someone available to place the weight on your back for you/take it off), put your feet closer together, go for more time, or add in cardio movement such as a plank hop.
Planks are my go-to for the core. They truly work everything when done correctly! However, you need more than planks to fully work your abdominals.
Lie in a supine position. Place your hands by your sides facing downwards. Raise and lower your legs while keeping your legs as straight as you can. Keep your tailbone on the mat.
If possible, do not let your legs drop to the mat when you lower. However, if you need to that’s okay.
You should feel your lower abs (the abs right below your belly button) working.
You can hold weights above your chest or attach ankle weights for more of a challenge.
Standing Ab Exercises
For those that deem laying on their backs uncomfortable, one could do a standing oblique crunch. Stand tall in a lifting stance (feet about hip-width distance apart with toes pointed forward).
Take a weight in each hand. Pick which side you are going to start with. Crunch to the side using your obliques.
When you have finished your desired set, simply switch to the other side.
Two to three sets are most effective for this exercise, but please modify them as needed.
TRX is another wonderful way to tone and shape the core. In short, it’s bodyweight suspension training. You can do pretty much any exercise on it. It helps tone the core by forcing the individual to hold up their own body weight.
This piece of equipment is great for all levels too. For more info on TRX feel free to reach out to me via email ([email protected]).
When To Work Out The Core?
I highly recommend at least having one core workout a week. You can also target different parts of the core on different days. For example, Monday is oblique abs, Wednesday is upper abs, Friday is lower abs.
I am a big fan of lacing all of my workouts with core work. In my upper body tri-set, I might add a plank and Russian twist in between sets, or at the end of my workout, I might do 15 minutes of abs.
If your abs are sore, refrain from working them out until they have completely recovered. This goes for all body parts.
Furthermore, stability balls, sliders, yoga balls, yoga blocks, ab rollers are all great tools to strengthen the core.
You can get a great core workout using bodyweight alone; however, you can vastly expand your exercise repertoire by adding in some other types of equipment.
Avoid Straining Of The Body
Lastly, when doing core work, if you feel any strain in the neck, back, etc. stop the exercise. Depending on the circumstance and individual you can either stop the rep and try it again or stop the exercise altogether.
If the straining continues after trying the exercise a second time, I would at least stop the exercise for that day (perhaps, for longer depending on the situation and person).
In fitness and life, I find it’s better to be safe than sorry. If something continually doesn’t really right in the body, it probably isn’t and needs to be further examined.
With this being said, if the straining continues consult a fitness professional and/or medical professional.
I have worked with many individuals who “think” they are working out their abdominals when they are really just straining their back and necks.
I hope this at-home ab workout article has given all you lovely readers lots of ideas regarding safe and effective core workouts. If you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out. My email is listed in my bio as well as in this article.
Have a lovely week everyone!
As always thanks for reading and stay tuned!
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