Ab exercises are good for more than just getting a six-pack. Did you know that having a strong core has a range of positive benefits for lots of different parts of the body? Your core is the centre of your body, comprising your abs, hips, back and chest, and it’s responsible for several important processes that we sometimes don’t even realise. For example, having good balance and posture, reducing chances of back pain, and allowing yourself to lift heavier in the gym can all be the result of having a strong core.
We love adding a quick ab workout into our day because it doesn’t have to take a whole chunk out of your schedule. Sometimes, 10 or 15 minutes is all you need. So if you’re someone who’s tight on time, we’ve picked a few of our favourite ab workouts below that you can do wherever, whenever, whether it’s the gym or at home, on your lunch break or early in the morning. Let’s get started.
We love this ab workout classic. But just because you’re lying down don’t think it’s easy. Start lying on your back with your arms extended up toward the ceiling, and your legs bent at 90 degrees so your knees are directly above your hips. Squeeze your core so you keep your lower back pressed into the floor as much as possible, and then simultaneously and slowly extend your lower right leg until it almost touches the floor and your left arm until your hand nearly touches the floor behind your head. Pause for a second, then return to your starting position before repeating with the other arm and leg. Continue for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, then repeat for three rounds.
2. Heel taps
Heel taps are another one for the floor while you’re there. Start lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. With your hands by your hips, lift your chest up toward the ceiling so your shoulder blades are off the ground, tensing your core the whole time but keeping your neck as relaxed as possible. Tap the outside of your right ankle with your right hand, come back to the centre, and then tap the outside of your left ankle with your left hand. You should feel your obliques working while you repeat these actions. Repeat for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, then repeat for three rounds.
3. Bear crawls
Now move over onto your hands and knees for some bear crawls. Start in a bear plank: on all fours, with shoulders over your wrists and your knees under your hips, hover your knees a few inches off the floor. Making sure you keep your hips as still and stable as possible and your head in line with your tailbone, slowly step your opposite hand and foot forward (so right hand and left leg), repeating with the other hand and foot for four steps total. Then take it back and reverse the movement so you end up back where you started. Continue again for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, then repeat for three rounds.
4. Russian twists
Now that that’s over, it's time for some Russian twists. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your heels on the ground. Your torso should be at the top of what would be a crunch or sit-up position, at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Twist your torso from left to right, moving in a smooth, controlled manner. Keep doing this, twisting from side to side, for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds, and repeat for three rounds. Get those obliques fired up.
It doesn’t get simpler than this. To get into your plank position lie on the floor face down, then prop yourself up on your forearms and tip toes so your body is in one straight line. Ensure your glutes and core are braced, but keep your head and neck relaxed. But remember to BREATHE! Breathe slowly and deeply, holding the position for 45 seconds. Rest for 20 seconds then repeat for three rounds.