10 MINUTE AT-HOME AB WORKOUT
When done right, ab circuits can make a solid workout all on their own. These eight home ab workouts can be done in just 10 minutes and will leave you feeling strong and energized.
BENEFITS OF AB WORKOUTS
Sore abs are hard to ignore; you’ll notice them in every movement, from opening a door to laughing to picking something up from the ground. These powerhouse muscles are key in our body’s everyday motion, and training them doesn’t just have to mean having a goal of getting a six pack. The benefits of strengthening abs can include better posture, reduced back pain, and improved balance and stability. The core is comprised of four different abdominal muscles and two back muscles and exercising them improves your body’s overall health, strength and mobility.
If the thought of doing countless crunches doesn’t make your heart sing, the good news is there are plenty of ab exercises you can do at home to shake things up. Did you know even full body moves like squats and push-ups work your core? Ultimately, the key to having a great toning ab workout is to learn how to engage your abs throughout each exercise.
HOW TO ENGAGE YOUR CORE
If done without proper engagement, a lot of ab exercises end up becoming a workout for your hip flexors and back more than your abdominals. So let’s learn how to engage your core to get all those great ab workout benefits.
Start by laying with your back flat against the ground, knees bent, and the bottoms of your feet flat against the ground. Rest your palms on your hip bones so that your fingers are on the soft part of your stomach. While breathing in and out, think about pushing out through the sides of your waist rather than letting your belly expand fully in and out. You should feel an interior pressure, as if there’s a seat belt over your waist—this pressure is what it feels like to engage your core. Another way to think about it is by sucking your belly button in toward your spine, as if there’s an invisible string pulling them together. If you tap your stomach, it should feel strong and flexed. In contrast, if you aren’t engaging your core, your stomach will feel soft and unsupported.
Now that you’ve got your core fired up, try our 10-minute ab workout put together by Kerry Greer, an expert with EXOS, a leading human performance company in the US. This no-equipment ab circuit can be paired with a bodyweight workout for a complete full-body training session, or you can repeat this individual circuit twice for a 20-minute ab workout when you have a break during your day. The workout is made up of eight exercises, and we recommend that you rest for 30 seconds after completing the first four exercises. If you’re doing the circuit twice, rest for one minute before diving into your second round. You won’t need any equipment—just enough space to roll out a yoga mat and get started.
FOREARM SIDE PLANK
1. Lie on your side with your forearm on the ground under your shoulder and your feet stacked on top of each other, or with your top foot in front of the other for more stability.
2. Lift your hips into the air, supporting your weight on your forearm and bottom foot, keeping your core engaged.
3. Hold this position for 20 seconds.
4. Switch sides and repeat.
Coach’s tip: Keep your body in a straight line and your core tight. You’ll feel this posture working your shoulders and core.
PLANK SHOULDER TAP
1. Start in a push-up position with hands directly beneath your shoulders and feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
2. Touch your hand to your opposite shoulder, keeping your core engaged to stabilize your hips.
3. Hold for one to two seconds and return hand to the floor.
4. Repeat with your opposite hand and shoulder.
5. Continue alternating for 12 total reps.
Coach’s tip: Keep your torso solid, with your hips square and feet on the ground throughout the movement.
MARCHING GLUTE BRIDGE
1. Lie faceup with your arms to the side, knees bent, and heels on the ground.
2. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders are in a straight diagonal line.
3. Lift one knee up to your chest by flexing at the hip.
4. Return your foot to the ground and repeat with the opposite leg.
5. Continue alternating for 12 reps.
Coach’s tip: If you feel your hips dip, then focus on holding a glute bridge, keeping both your glutes and core engaged. While you will likely feel it more in your glutes, know your core is also working to keep your hips lifted and stable.
1. Sit on the floor, lean slightly back with knees bent and heels on the ground, and hold any small object (weight is up to you) with straight arms in front of you.
2. Turn your chest and arms to the left, moving the object toward the ground.
3. Return to start position and repeat to the right side.
4. Continue for 20 reps.
Coach’s tip: Keep your chest up, arms straight, and core engaged. For an extra challenge, try lifting your feet off the floor a few inches.
REST FOR 30 SECONDS
1. Lie face up on the ground with your hips bent at 90 degrees and your legs relaxed.
2. Engaging your core, slowly pull your knees toward your chest by tilting your pelvis until your tailbone lifts off the floor.
3. Lower back down without allowing your feet to touch the floor.
4. Continue for 12 reps.
Coach’s tip: Keep your stomach tight and your neck relaxed, and remember to breathe. Try to lift and lower with your abdominals rather than using momentum from your legs or pressing into the ground with your arms.
1. Lie face up on the ground with arms pointing to the ceiling and hips and knees both flexed to 90 degrees in an upside-down tabletop position.
2. While keeping your core tight, slowly lower your left arm above your head and straighten your right leg while keeping your back flat against the ground.
3. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg and continue for 10 reps.
Coach’s tip: To keep your lower back from arching, remember to suck your belly button down toward your spine throughout the entire exercise. If this is too difficult, instead of straightening your leg, keep it at a 90-degree angle and tap your toes to the ground as you extend your arm.
HOLLOW BODY ROCKING
1. Lie face up on the ground with your legs straight and arms extended overhead.
2. Lift both your arms and legs off the ground, engaging your core.
3. Start to rock your body up and down, core still engaged, so when your arms come up your legs go down.
4. Continue for 10 reps.
Coach’s tip: Keep your entire body engaged and remember to really focus on your core muscles. To protect your back, keep your spine softly curved to aid the rocking motion. This exercise is meant to work your abdominals, so if you feel it more in your hip flexors or lower back, bend your knees.
1. Lie face up on the ground with your hands on your legs, and legs bent with heels on the ground.
2. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, focusing on lifting from your abs.
3. Return to start position and repeat 10 times.
Coach’s tip: Keep your neck neutral, and as you lift your shoulders think of your abs contracting. Move slowly to feel the core light up. For an extra challenge, at the end of the 10 reps, hold at the top of the crunch for 10 seconds.
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