Whether it’s bikini season or the middle of the winter, the chance to rock killer abs is something everyone at the gym wants. It doesn’t matter if you’re fresh out of high school or hitting up the bingo hall with your pals on Sunday afternoons, a strong core is beneficial in many ways and with the right workout routine, anyone can sweat their way to stronger, more enviable abs. Ready to sculpt your abs to perfection? Take a look at these awesome ab workouts for a bit of inspiration.
5 Fat-Blasting Ab Exercises You Have to Try
1) Bicycle Crunch
This abdominal exercise mimics a typical bike ride and is perfect for hitting your core and your obliques. With the bicycle crunch, there’s no fancy equipment required to start feeling the burn, so no excuses! Simply grab a mat and get to work.
To perform, simply lie on your back. Lightly interlock your fingers behind your neck as you slightly lift your head off the ground and bend your knees in a 90 degree angle. Then engage your core as you crunch your left elbow diagonally to tap your right knee. You’ll straighten your left leg out and point your toe “like a ballerina.” Then repeat this motion as if bicycling, crunching to tap your right elbow to your left knee. The key is to perform this exercise slowly and to fully extend your opposite leg as you meet your target knee and elbow together. Don’t strain your neck either!
2) Vertical Leg Raise
If you’re looking to get in some work on your lower abdominal muscles, the vertical leg raise may be even better than the bicycle crunch for engaging the core and targeting your obliques. While it’s pretty impossible to target just one section of the abs (they are basically a single muscle group), this workout will make sure you feel the pull in your lower abs and may leave you sore in the best way possible afterward. To increase the intensity, consider adding an exercise ball between your calves and ankles. (See picture above)
Lie on your back, resting your head and entire back on the floor (or yoga mat). Draw your abs in, keep your lower back pinned to the floor and then lift both of your legs approximately 6 inches off the ground. Hold for a second and slowly lower back down to the starting point. If you feel any tension in your lower back, you can slightly bend your knees. And if you want an extra challenge, you can perform leg raises in multiple positions. One of my favorites is to spell my ABCs with my leg raises for an ultimate abdominal burn!
3) Ab Wheels
Sometimes it’s necessary to try out an exercise that leaves you hurting in all the right ways. With ab wheels, you can guarantee that you’ll be more than a little sore for a few days after your workout, but that just means you’re doing it right! This particular abdominal exercise can be tough for someone with a weak lower back, so be sure to pay attention to your limitations and avoid pushing yourself too hard.
Start with your knees on the ground and firmly gripping onto the handles of the ab wheel. Keep your core tight as you slowly roll the wheel away from your body. The total distance you roll the ab wheel depends on your core strength. Some people can roll until they are fully extended and somewhat parallel to the ground. Be careful to avoid dipping your lower back and slowly roll back up into your starting position. As you become stronger and more experienced with this move, you can roll in different directions and even start from a standing position.
While the name of this exercise may instantly give you thoughts of fresh sheets drying on the line on a warm summer day, clothespins or v-sits are actually one of the best abdominal exercises to add to your workout routine. If you’re a beginner, it may take some time to perfect your form when it comes to nailing clothespins, but when you do, you’ll absolutely love the results you see. If you’re struggling to nail your form, don’t be a wallflower! Grab the nearest trainer at the gym and ask them to give you a few pro tips.
Start by lying on your back with your legs fully extended. Engage your core and slowly lift your legs up as you simultaneously lift your arms up. Your goal is to meet your limbs in the middle as if you were closing a book. This is a challenging move and might require you to start by bending your knees. Work on trying to keep your chest upright and slowly lowering yourself to the starting point as well.
5) Flutter Kicks
This serious ab workout move is not for the faint of heart, but if you can get it down, you’ll be rocking killer abs in no time. Whether you’re looking for a new way to challenge yourself or you’re simply a glutton for punishment, flutter kicks are perfect for engaging the core and targeting both the abdominal muscles and your back muscles too. The whole idea behind this move is to keep pushing yourself until you are unable to progress any further. So buckle down and get your sweat on with this incredible, fat-blasting ab move!
Flutter kicks can be done in a supine position, lying flat on your back with legs fully extended. Or you can set your arms up in a dip position or with elbows behind your torso in a 90-degree position. If you are doing this with your arms propped behind you, you’ll slightly lean back as you bend your elbows and then lift your legs, alternating them one at a time in a flutter motion (similar to the kicking motion you perform while swimming). If you are doing this from the supine position, work on engaging your core and keep your lower back pinned to the floor. Then lift your legs one at a time in a flutter motion.