?v=11773251208946834739, //cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0662/0785/t/33/assets/global.css?v=11773251207345653169

exercises

-

16 Ab Exercises To Strengthen Your Core

16 Ab Exercises To Strengthen Your Core
Ab Exercises You

I love to do ab exercises, and if you’ve ever followed one of my BBG or BBG Stronger programs, you may have done one of my ab challenge workouts!

Ab exercises work the abdominal muscle group and are important for building a strong core. The core muscles that help to hold you upright include muscles that help your spine to bend forwards (spinal flexors) or backwards (spinal extensors). These muscles act as guide wires for your spine. 

Having a strong core is important for so many of your everyday activities. Whether you’re lifting groceries out of the car, hiking up a hill, or moving something heavy, your ability to perform these tasks can be improved by building core strength. 

A strong core can even help reduce the likelihood that you will experience lower back pain

All of these exercises can be done at home using a mat and a dumbbell. 

My top ab exercises

Straight leg raise

You can do this exercise lying on the floor, or challenge yourself by hanging from a pull-up bar!

1. Lie on your back on a mat. Extend both legs and engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. This is your starting position.

2. While keeping your legs extended, slowly raise your legs upwards until they form a 90-degree angle with your hips.

3. Slowly lower your legs to return to the starting position, but without lowering your feet to the floor.

Ab bike

This is a great move for building your six-pack muscle (rectus abdominis). Go slowly and focus on your form — completing an even number of reps on each side. 

1. Start by lying straight on your back on a mat with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your elbows and place your hands behind your earlobes. Gently raise both legs and your head and shoulders off the mat. This is your starting position.

2. While keeping your right leg extended, bend your left knee and draw it in towards your chest. At the same time, rotate your torso to the left to bring your right elbow to your knee.

3. Untwist your torso and extend your left knee to return to the starting position. Immediately bend your right knee and draw it in towards your chest and rotate your torso to the right to bring your left elbow to your knee.

4. Untwist your torso and extend your right knee to return to the starting position. Continue alternating between left and right. 

Russian twist

This exercise will target your obliques. You can add weight to increase the intensity, but make sure that you have the exercise form right first!

1. With your hands clasped in front of your chest, start seated on a mat with knees bent and heels firmly planted. Lean back slightly so that your abdominals are engaged and you are balancing on your sit bones. Keeping your feet together, raise your feet off the mat and extend your legs slightly. This is your starting position.

2. While keeping your lower body as still as possible, twist your torso to the right and gently touch your elbow on the mat next to your right hip. If you cannot reach the mat, just twist as far as you can while keeping your lower body still.

3. Untwist your torso to return to the starting position.

4. While keeping your lower body as still as possible, twist your torso to the left and gently touch your elbow on the mat next to your left hip. If you cannot reach the mat, just twist as far as you can while keeping your lower body still.

5. Untwist your torso to return to the starting position. Continue alternating to each side.

Side plank

This plank variation is great for strengthening your obliques and the muscles of your deep lower back. I like to include it to ensure that the muscles that aren’t targeted by crunches still get a workout!

You can start with your knees on the ground and progress to your toes as you get stronger.

1. Start by lying lengthways along a mat. Place your left forearm firmly on the floor, ensuring that your elbow is directly below your shoulder and that your forearm is parallel to (in line with) the short edge of your mat.

2. Extend both legs and, using your obliques, gently raise your hips off the mat. Position your feet one on top of each other or place your left foot on the mat in front of your right — whichever is most comfortable.

3. Hold this position and repeat on the other side. 

Commando

This exercise is another way to make planking more interesting! If you find it too difficult on your toes, start on your knees. As you do this exercise, imagine that you are balancing a cup of water on your lower back and try not to spill it. You’ve got this!

1. Start by placing your forearms (wrist to elbow) on a mat and extending both of your legs behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. This is your starting position.

2. Release your right forearm to place your hand firmly on the mat directly below your right shoulder and push up onto your right hand. Release your left forearm to place your hand firmly on the mat directly below your left shoulder and push up onto your left hand. Ensure that you keep your core activated to prevent your hips from swaying.

3. Release your right hand and lower your forearm to the mat, then release your left hand and lower your forearm to the mat to return to the starting position.

Repeat this exercise, starting with your left arm. 

Plank

Planks are a great exercise to include in your core strength workouts. This is a simple exercise that you can start on your knees or using a fitball, and progress to the full plank I’m demonstrating here. 

1. Start by placing your forearms (wrist to elbow) firmly on the mat, ensuring that your elbows are directly below your shoulders. Extend both legs behind you and elevate your hips off the mat, resting on the balls of your feet.

2. Brace your abdominals and ensure that your spine remains in a neutral position.

3. Hold this position for the specified amount of time, breathing deeply throughout.

Bent-leg sit up

This is an exercise that can be hard when you get started, even if you are making progress with exercises like push-ups and commandos. 

To make it easier, try putting your hands together in front of you. 

1. Start by lying flat on your back on a mat. Bend your knees and position your feet firmly on the mat and place your hands behind your earlobes. Engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. This is your starting position.

2. Keeping your heels firmly planted on the floor, slowly lift your head, shoulder blades, and torso off the floor. Lengthen your spine to sit up tall.

3. Slowly lower your torso, shoulder blades and head to the mat to return to the starting position.

Repeat.

Jackknife

This is an advanced core exercise that you can use to challenge yourself.

When you first start, you can bend your legs to make it easier. Don’t worry if you can only do a couple of reps at the start, with practice you will be able to do more.

Here’s how to do it: 

1. Lie on your back on a mat. Extend both legs and engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. This is your starting position.

2. While keeping your legs extended, slowly raise your legs upwards until they form a 90-degree angle with your hips. At the same time, bring your arms forward and upward towards your feet, slowly lifting your head, shoulder blades and torso off the mat.

3. Slowly lower your arms and legs to return to the starting position, but without lowering your feet to the floor. Repeat.

Mountain climbers

This exercise is great because it uses your whole body at once. It’s like a plank, but if you get bored doing planks, this exercise will keep you engaged. 

Use them to get your heart rate up, remembering to keep your hips low during each rep. Aim for 15 on each side!

1. Place both hands on the mat shoulder-width apart and both feet together behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. This is your starting position.

2. Keeping your left foot on the floor, bend your right knee and bring it in towards your chest.

3. Extend your right leg to return to the starting position.

4. Keeping your right foot on the floor, bend your left knee and bring it in towards your chest.

5. Extend your left leg to return to the starting position.

Continue alternating between right and left.

Bicycle legs

This is a very effective ab exercise that targets the rectus abdominis (six-pack muscle) and also engages your hip flexors. Try for 15 on each side!

1. Start by lying flat on your back on a mat. Bend your knees and position your feet firmly on the mat, ensuring that they are hip-width apart and your spine is in a neutral position. Imprint your spine into the mat and bring your legs into tabletop position, ensuring that your knees are stacked over your hips, your toes are pointed, and your shins are parallel to (in line with) the floor. Place your hands behind your head and interlace your fingers, ensuring that you relax your head into your hands and you draw your shoulder blades down and back.

2. Brace your core. Tuck your chin into your chest and draw your ribs to your hips to elevate your head, shoulder blades and upper back off the mat one vertebrae at a time, ensuring that your T-zone remains set to prevent the “doming” of your abdominals. This is your starting position.

3. Bend your right knee to draw your leg inwards.

4. Straighten your left knee to extend your leg, ensuring that your toes remain pointed and that you continue to draw your ribs towards your hips.

5. Bend your left knee to draw your leg inwards.

Continue alternating between right and left. 

Heel tap

This exercise may look like you are just laying down, but you’ll be surprised how hard it works you.

The aim is to “side-crunch” as you reach your fingertips to your heels — try not to lift your upper body or roll your shoulders forward as you move. Aim for 15 reps on each side!

1. Start by lying flat on your back on a mat with your arms by your sides. Bend your knees and position your feet firmly on the mat hip-width apart. Slowly lift your head and shoulder blades and arms off the floor and engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. This is your starting position.

2. Bend your torso to the right to allow your right hand to touch your right ankle.

3. Return to the starting position and bend your torso to the left to allow your left hand to touch your left ankle.

Continue alternating between right and left.

Flutters

This exercise might look easy, but it is deceptively difficult! This is a great exercise to improve the mind-muscle connection between different areas of your body. It requires you to maintain a strong core while moving your legs and can help to improve your coordination across other exercises. 

Try for 30 reps, 15 on each side. I bet by the end you will be able to feel it!

1. Start by lying on your back on a mat. Engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in towards your spine and raise both legs off the floor. This is your starting position.

2. At the same time, slightly raise your right leg and slightly lower your left leg, ensuring that neither of your legs touch the floor.

3. At the same time, slightly raise your left leg and slightly lower your right leg, ensuring that neither of your legs touch the floor. This should create a scissor-like motion.

Continue alternating between right and left. 

Toe tap

This exercise targets the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis and obliques — the muscles used in bending, lifting and twisting movements.  

1. Start by lying straight on your back on a mat with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your elbows and place your hands behind your earlobes. Gently raise your legs off the floor so that they form a 90-degree angle at your hips. Engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. This is your starting position.

2. Extend your arms to bring your hands up towards your feet — slowly lifting your head, shoulder blades and torso off the mat.

3. Lower your torso, shoulder blades and head to the mat and place your hands behind your earlobes to return to the starting position.

Oblique crunch

Your obliques are the abdominal muscles that help to twist your torso left and right. This exercise targets the obliques. It can be done lying on your side, using gravity as resistance for your bodyweight, or standing with a weight as shown. 

1. Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. Place your right hand behind your ear. This is your starting position.

2. Stretching your right obliques, lower the dumbbell down your left leg and draw your ribs towards your left hip.

3. Contract your right obliques to straighten your torso to return to the starting position.

4. Complete an equal number of repetitions on each side. 

Knee tuck

This exercise primarily targets your lower abdominals, while strengthening the obliques and upper abs. You’ll need strong core and hip muscles to perform this exercise correctly. You can practice by finding your balance point and holding this position until you feel comfortable to start moving the fitball.  

1. Place both hands on the floor shoulder-width apart with both feet together behind you, resting your shins on a fitball. This is your starting position.

2. Bend your knees and, using your abdominals, bring them in towards your chest, ensuring that your feet stay together. This movement should cause the fitball to roll in towards your hands.

3. Slowly extend your legs to return to the starting position, ensuring that your hips and torso remain parallel to (in line with) the floor throughout the entire movement.

4. Repeat. 

Deadbug

This exercise helps to create a strong connection between your core, pelvis and the stabilising muscles of your lower back. Try 15 reps on each side!

1. Lie on your back on a yoga mat with your arms extended directly in front of your chest and palms facing toward your feet. Bend your knees and bring your legs into tabletop position, ensuring that your knees are stacked over your hips, and your shins are parallel to (in line with) the floor. This is your starting position.

2. Draw your left arm back and down toward the floor, alongside your head. At the same time, extend your right knee and hip to lower your right leg towards the floor. Ensure that your arm and leg are lowering at the same speed and that you maintain a neutral spine.

3. Raise your left arm and right leg to return to the starting position.

4. Draw your right arm back and down towards the floor, alongside your head. At the same time, extend your left knee and hip to lower your left leg towards the floor. Once again, ensure that your arm and leg are lowering at the same speed and that you maintain a neutral spine.

5. Raise your right arm and left leg to return to the starting position. Continue alternating between left and right.

Use these ab exercises to build a strong core!

You can use a combination of these ab exercises to create your own ab workouts at home. Pick 3-5 exercises and do 10-15 reps of each one!

Remember that every ab exercise can have a different effect on every individual’s body — but everyone can benefit from having a strong core!

Try a variety of ab exercises to find what works for you. You can aim to include five minutes of ab exercises every day if you don’t want to do a full ab workout!

Which exercise is your favourite? Share it in the comments!

* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.

<# for (var i = 0; i < comments.length; i++) { var s = comments[i]; #>

<#= s.user.username #><#= moment(s.created_at * 1000).fromNow() #>

<#= s.html_body #> <# if (s.images) { #>

<# } #>
Reply Like Unlike
<# if (s.replied_comments_count) { #> <# for (var j = 0; j < s.replied_comments.length; j++) { var c = s.replied_comments[j]; var lastComment = s.replied_comments[s.replied_comments.length - 1]; #>

<#= c.user.username #><#= moment(c.created_at * 1000).fromNow() #>

<#= c.html_body #> <# if (c.images) { #>

<# } #>
Reply Like Unlike
<# } #> <# if (s.replied_comments_count > 3) { #> Show more replies <# } #> <# } #>
<# } #>
<# for (var i = 0; i < comments.length; i++) { var s = comments[i]; #>

<#= s.user.username #><#= moment(s.created_at * 1000).fromNow() #>

<#= s.html_body #> <# if (s.images) { #>

<# } #>
Reply Like Unlike
<# } #>

Leave a comment...
Sort by: