Abdominal muscles have always been the quintessential token of “being fit”, the focal point on which people fix their forward stares and fitness related goals. And it’s not just a six-pack you’ll get; maintain strong abs, and you’ll help prevent back pain, boost your agility, and increase your flexibility.
In all reality, it takes a lot more than just high reps of many assorted abdominal moves to develop an envy worth set of six pack abs, or even a flat or moderately toned stomach.
Aside from planks and stomach vacuum, this is our take on a top 10 abdominal exercises (in no particular order) that you can do at home – no equipment required!
Lie flat on your back with your feet flat on the ground, or resting on a bench with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Placing your hands on the on either side of your head, but not locking them in, start rolling your elbows from the floor while pushing the small of your back down in the floor to better isolate your abdominal muscles. Continuing to push down with your lower back and keeping it on the floor, contract your abdominals and exhale, rising your shoulders about four inches from the floor in a slow and controlled movement. As you reach the position contract your abdominals hard and keep the contraction for a second, then come down slowly to the initial position while inhaling.
2. Hanging Knee Rise
Grabbing a bar and hanging, let your body is still down and your legs become straight. Brace your core and use your abs to raise your knees toward your shoulders. Make a small pause when the tops of your thighs reach your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat. To make the exercise more difficult, keep your legs extended when raising the knees. To include obliques, move your legs sideways when raising them.
3. Boat Pose
Beginning in a seated position with the knees bent and the feet resting lightly on the ground, position your hands behind you and lean back slightly, engaging your abs. Next, extend your arms straight out in front of you, then extend your legs, creating a V-shape with your torso and legs and hold the contraction. Breathe comfortably throughout the move.
4. Bottoms Up
Start by lying flat on your back. The legs should be straight and your arms at your side. You continue with tucking the knees toward your chest by flexion of the hips and knees. Next, extend your legs directly above you so that they are vertical with respect to the ground and elevate your pelvis to raise the glutes from the floor. After a brief pause, return to the initial position.
5. Plank With Hip Extension
Start in standard plank position. As always, the most important element of a good plank is a neutral spine. When in position, lift one leg up behind you, keeping your body flat and both the extended and supporting legs straight. Repeat on the other side.
6. Bicycle Crunches
Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground and your hands beside your head. Bring your shoulders into the crunch position and lift your knees to about a 45-degree angle. This will be your starting position. Keep your right leg extended and bringing in the knee of the left leg and your right elbow close to your left knee by crunching to the side, as you breathe out. Go back to the initial position as you breathe in. Crunch to the opposite side as you cycle your legs and bring closer your left elbow to your right knee and exhale.
7. Indian Push-Ups
Start by getting into a normal push-up position, but with your feet spread slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your hands shoulder-width apart. Raise your pelvis into the air, while keeping your arms, legs, and back straight. You should look like an upside-down ‘V’. This is your starting position, and it’s the position you’ll return to after each push-up. When coming down, point your elbows out to the sides while bringing your pelvis down into a normal push-up position. Now shift your weight to your arms and push your shoulders up while keeping your pelvis on the ground. Once your shoulders are all the way up, use your abs and glutes to bring your buttocks back into the air and return to the starting position. The exercise should be done smoothly and without delay between each part.
Begin lying face-up on the floor with your legs stretched up straight and your arms reaching up over your head. Keeping your feet and hands extended, contract your abs in a crunch as you exhale; use the strength of your core to lift your torso and legs off the ground, as if bringing your hands and feet together and reaching for your toes. Imagine that you are trying to lift your whole body off the ground so that you end with just your tailbone touching the floor. This isn’t exactly possible, but that’s the essence of the movement and the direction that you want to go. Return to the ground with your hands and feet in their starting position and repeat.
9. Reverse Crunch
Lie down on the floor with your legs fully extended and arms to the side of your torso with the palms on the floor. Keep your arms stationary for the entire exercise. Move your legs up so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and feet are together and parallel to the floor. While inhaling, move your legs towards the torso as you roll your pelvis backwards and you raise your hips off the floor. At the end of this movement your knees will be touching your chest. Hold the contraction for a second and move your legs back to the starting position while exhaling.
10. Sit-Up Reach
You start by laying with your back flat on the floor, keeping the legs bent and feet planted on the floor for stability. From this starting position, exhaling, take both of your hands and keeping them extended move them towards your knees and feel a stretch in your abs, then return back to the starting position, breathing in.