This is a quick ab workout that totally toasts your core! Focus on correct form above all else. Rest if you need to if fatigued muscles begin to compromise your form, but then get right back into it. This incorporates mostly bodyweight moves, so it’s the perfect workout to do at home, on holiday, or anywhere where you don’t have access to gym equipment.
Who doesn’t love to throw a little more ab work on to their daily routine? Whether you are buying into society’s somewhat misplaced obsession with six pack abs or you are just trying to get your core stronger, to protect your back, improve trunk stability, and move to more advanced exercises.
This quick core routine will hit your abdominals, lower back, obliques as well as a whole host of smaller muscles that you probably won’t recognise. This routine does not have a warm up or cool down included with it so it can easily be added onto the end of another video or workout.
It is also intense enough that if you add your own warm up and cool down this can easily be a standalone routine on a medium to light day, or a second workout of the day if you are doing a more intense two-a-day program.
Each exercise is only done for one set and is not repeated. However, you can always do this routine multiple times in a row to create a more challenging workout. Just remember to add your own warm up and cool down.
1. Stability Ball Knee Tucks
Unlike a crunch, which puts unnecessary—and unwanted—stress on the spine, this exercise safely works both your abs and overall core because you’re working on an unstable surface.
- With knees placed on the centre of the stability ball and hands positioned firmly on the floor, walk your body out to a plank position so that your butt, shoulders, and head are aligned.
- Imagine a stick is resting on your spine; it should make contact with all three regions.
- Engage your abs and hip flexors to bring your knees forward.
- As they move toward your chest, your spine will flex, activating your abs.
- Hold the tuck for a second or two, then slowly return to start.
- That’s one rep.
- Complete 10 to 15 reps.
2. Forearm Plank
Come on, you knew this one was going to be on the list. Every trainer has you doing planks because they works. You’re engaging so many muscles at once, and it helps strengthen all of the core muscles surrounding the spine to help prevent back injury.
- Start in push-up position, but instead of resting your weight on your hands, bend your elbows and rest on your forearms.
- Your body should form a straight line from head to toe.
- Tighten abs and hold the position as long as you can.
- Keep track of your time, and aim to beat it with every workout.
3. Side Plank
The younger sister of the standard plank, the side plank isolates the obliques even more. It recruits almost as many muscles as the front plank, and helps tighten and tone to give you the sexy lines down the sides of your abs.
- Lie on your left side, resting your left forearm on the floor for support.
- Raise your hips up so your body forms a straight line, squeeze your glutes, and tighten your abs.
- (Your weight should be on your left forearm and the edge of your left foot.)
- Hold for 30 seconds or until exhaustion, then lower to the ground and repeat on the right side.
Related article: Your Yoga Cool-Down Routine To Compliment Your Workout Efforts
This exercise works your lower back. When you work one muscle group, you need to work the opposite one that helps support it. So if you work your abs, you also need to do your lower back. If you work your chest, you also need to do your back. Best part: This move requires zero equipment, so get on the floor and go.
- Lie face down on the floor with arms outstretched overhead and feet together.
- Lift your chest and legs at the same time, so your chest and thighs both come off the ground.
- Hold for a beat, then return to start.
- That’s one rep.
- Aim to complete 12 to 15 at a time.
5. Medicine Ball Slams
Not only does this move target the abs, butt, and hips, but it’s also an insanely effective way to get out some aggression. We recommend working it into your routine after a particularly stressful day at the office.
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a moderately heavy med ball with both hands at chest level.
- Lower into a squat until thighs are parallel with the floor, then drive through your heels and straighten legs, bringing the med ball overhead.
- With abs tight, immediately slam down the ball down toward the floor, engaging your hips and abs to give you as much force as possible in your slam.
- That’s one rep.
- Quickly retrieve the ball and repeat for 30 to 45 seconds.
6. Shoulder and Knee Taps
While planks are an amazing exercise, they’re static holds, and you want dynamic movement in your routine as well. It helps keep the muscles engaged because you’re moving around. This exercise works the abs, obliques, lower back, and arms all at once. Now how’s that for efficiency?
- Start in a push-up position with hands on floor, abs tight, glutes engaged.
- Lift your right hand and tap your left shoulder, then return it to the floor.
- Immediately lift your left hand and tap your right shoulder, then return to floor.
- Now quickly bend your right knee and bring it to your left elbow, then return to start.
- Immediately bend your left knee and bring to left elbow, then return to start.
- That’s one rep.
- Continue to do this sequence without rest for one minute.