If you are looking to train your abs, the good news is that there are a huge variety of exercises that will help you achieve that goal. Even if you are not doing moves that focus on them directly, the location of your abs means that they are worked hard by compound exercises that hit both the upper and lower body. Your core is also key to any exercise in which you have to keep your body stable, such as static holds like the plank. Below we have highlighted 5 killer core exercises so you can mix and match to create an endless array of ab workouts.
Hard Style Plank
The key of hard style plank is to squeeze your entire body, quads, glutes, core, back, and fists, as tight as possible while taking diaphoretic breathes throughout the hold. To do it, lie with your face down on the ground, prop yourself up into a forearm plank position. Make sure your elbows are aligned underneath your shoulders, and that your hands are balled up in fists. Your forearms should be parallel to one another. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds per set.
Dead bug exercise is a straightforward movement you do while lying on your back. As you keep your torso still and your core tight, you extend and retract opposing extremities, preventing your low back from arching off the floor or your hips or shoulders from rocking back-and-forth. To do it, lie face up on the floor with arms straight above your shoulders. To start, bring your knees directly over your hips and bend at the knee so that your calf forms a 90-degree angle with your thigh. Next, simultaneously lower your left arm above your head while straightening your right leg and sending it towards the floor. Pause, return to the starting position, and then repeat on the opposite side. Do 20 alternating reps to complete one set.
Dumb Bell Side Bend
Dumb bell side bend builds the external and internal obliques. Strengthening these muscles can help tighten the entire side ab wall. To do it, stand up tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your palm facing your hip and place your left hand behind your head. Bend to your right side, as far as it feels comfortable, and pause. Repeat for the duration of the set, and then switch sides.
Barbell Back Squat
A barbell back squat, is a compound exercise that activates muscle groups throughout your, abdomen region like the abs, lower body like your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. To do it, step underneath the barbell and place your hands on both sides of it. The barbell should rest on the muscles of your shoulders. Keep your posture tall, with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and slightly bend in your knees. Send your glutes back like you are lowering into a chair, bending at the knees as deeply as possible. Press through your heels to return to the starting position for one rep. Do 10 reps for one set.
The bird dog is a simple core exercise that improves stability, encourages a neutral spine, and relieves low back pain. This exercise pose uses the whole body to target and strengthen your core, hips, and back muscles. To perform it, place your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Maintain a neutral spine by engaging your abdominal muscles. Draw your shoulder blades together. Raise your right arm and left leg, keeping your shoulders and hips parallel to the floor. Lengthen the back of your neck and tuck your chin into your chest to gaze down at the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower back down to the starting position. Raise your left arm and right leg, holding this position for a few seconds. Return to the starting position. This is 1 round. Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
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