Ever since the beginning of last year, and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, fitness enthusiasts have been stuck at home, not able to go to the gym, which I'm sure is still true for many of you. While staying at home, it can be very difficult to find the motivation to keep up your workout routine and stay active and healthy.
Keeping your core strong is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. You use your core more often than you think! Core exercises will train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work together effectively. Having a strong core will lead to better balance and stability, both during a workout and in your day-to-day activities. In fact, most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles.
We decided to put together a list of our favorite ab exercises to keep your core strong throughout lockdown! The only equipment you will need for these workouts is a comfortable yoga mat, so there's no excuse not to do them!
We recommend doing the following exercises back-to-back for 1 minute at a time, giving you an easy 10 minute ab burner to finish a workout with. Do this once or twice a week and you will feel a lot stronger, we promise!
- Place your forearms and toes on the floor and make sure your elbows are directly under your shoulders. Relax your head and look at the floor slightly in front of you.
- Engage your abdominal muscles, draw your belly button toward your spine. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
2. Side Plank
- Lie down on your side. Bring your bottom elbow directly under your shoulder. Engage your core, press your elbow into the floor, and come up into a side plank.
- You can stagger your feet for extra balance, but to challenge yourself place your feet on top of each other.
- Finally, you can place your top hand on your hip or point your arm straight up for an extra challenge.
- Hold for 30 seconds and switch to the other side.
3. Mountain climber holds
This exercise may look easy, but it's a serious burner!
- From plank position, bring one knee in toward your chest and hold for 30 seconds. Focus on keeping your back straight and looking at the ground slightly in front of you.
- Switch legs and hold for another 30 seconds.
4. Dead bugs
- Lie on your back with your knees bent at a right angle stacked above your hips. Put your hands straight up.
- Extend one arm above your head and extend the opposite leg until they are almost parallel to the floor. Keep the rest of your body stable and tighten your core as your arm and leg move.
- Return to the starting position, and repeat on the other leg and arm.
5. Leg Raises
- Lie down on your back on the floor or a mat and extend your legs upward, creating a 90 degree bend at your hips.
- Slowly lower your legs, trying to keep them as straight as possible and engage your core the whole time.
- Once your feet are slightly above the floor, raise your legs again to the starting position, keeping your legs straight. Repeat and feel the burn!
6. Sprinter sit ups
- Start on your back with your arms above your head and legs stretched out. Sit up and bring your right elbow and your left knee together in an explosive movement, exhale as you do to make sure you're engaging those abs!
- Return to starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
- Start in a forearm plank position and push up onto one hand, and then follow with the other so you're in a raised plank. Make sure to tighten your core and keep your back flat. Minimize movement in your hips to make sure those abs are working hard!
- Come back onto your forearms and repeat. Make sure to alternate which hand you push up from every rep.
8. Superman twist
- Lie on your stomach and place your hands on your head.
- Raise your torso and legs at the same time, making sure to squeeze your glutes. Once at the top, twist your chest from one side to the other.
- Move your chest back to the middle and lower your torso and legs to the ground.
- Repeat and enjoy!
This exercise will not only strengthen your abs, but also your back. It's a great exercise to do for those of you experiencing posture issues and back pain.
- Start in a seated position with your legs straight. Contract your abdominal muscles and slowly lift your legs into a 45-degree angle with your torso.
- Reach your arms straight forward or up. Keep breathing and make sure your chest stays up and your back is straight to ensure good posture. If you find it difficult to keep your legs straight, slightly bend your knees.
- You can choose to hold the V-Sit or to challenge yourself by pulsing your arms alongside your legs.
10. Side to side heel taps
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Keep your arms straight at your side and raise your shoulders off of the floor.
- Reach your right hand to touch your right heel and then your left hand to touch your left heel. Focus on keeping your core engaged and bending at your side.
We hope this ab workout will get your core fired up and leave you feeling strong! Let us know how it goes!