Five Ab Exercises to Strengthen Your Core
Beyond the fact that they can improve your appearance, doing ab exercises to strengthen your core also positively impacts your physical well-being. Below, we’ll share five ab exercises to help you achieve this goal.
Every day, more and more people are concerned about their appearance and also about staying healthy. This beneficial trend is making most people pay special attention to their core since a well-worked six-pack is synonymous with physical attractiveness and healthy life.
However, not everyone is aware of the most effective ways to work out their abs. Below, we’ll share some ab exercises to help you strengthen your core and get the six-pack of your dreams.
Benefits of ab exercises for strengthening your core
Why are ab exercises crucial to strengthening your core? Beyond the undeniable cosmetic benefits, here are some health-related ones:
- Reduces back pain. Working out your core muscles is an excellent preventive measure for the common back pain most people suffer from nowadays.
- Helps improve posture. Strong core muscles reduce wear and tear on the spine. This way, you avoid further future complications, such as hernias and lower back problems.
- Improves sports performance. Given that the abs play a role in many of the movements you do while playing sports, working them out for this purpose is very beneficial. In addition, exercising the core can lead to improved breathing.
Five ab exercises to strengthen your core
1. Lower ab exercises
Experts recognize two exercises to strengthen the lower abs: mountain climbers and leg raises. The mountain climber consists of lying face down, leaning on your hands, in a position similar to that of the plank.
Then, bring one knee to your chest, always leaving the other bent. After that, repeat with the other knee. Repeat the process as fast as you can for 30 seconds.
On the other hand, to do the leg raise, you must lie face up on the floor. With your legs stretched out as far as possible, raise your legs as high as you can, as if you were trying to form a 90-degree angle between them and your trunk. You can do both legs at the same time or alternate them. In addition, you can do sets of 10, 20, or 30 repetitions.
2. Plank: exercise your abs
Another great way to work out and strengthen your core. Isometric core strength exercises, such as the plank or exercise number three on this list, require holding a position while breathing adequately for a certain period of time. Thus, they work on the pelvic floor and the internal abdominal girdle.
To do a plank, you must lie face down and support your body on the tips of your toes and your forearms. You must hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Make sure your trunk, your legs, and your neck are in a straight line. Also, avoiding overly elevating your buttocks. You can do three or four sets.
Do you want to make the exercise harder? Try doing it with your arms stretched out or with your legs open. You’ll see that this will make your abs contract even more!
3. Hollow body hold
You must also hold a position to do the hollow body hold, one of the best ab exercises. However, you don’t have to lie face down as you do when doing a plank, but face up.
This exercise consists of lifting your legs and arms to a 45-degree angle while lying face-up on the floor. This way, your legs, torso, and arms form a sort of “U”, a smile, or a small boat, as you can see in the image.
Each repetition should last between 20 or 30 seconds. However, you can adapt this time to your physical condition. We recommend doing the same number of series as the plank. However, you can also take your personal trainer’s recommendations and opinions into account.
4. Short crunches or 90 degree-crunches
This ab exercise to strengthen your core can be misleading. When you start it, you may believe it’s easy. However, as the seconds pass, you’ll see it becomes more intense.
Short crunches consist of lying on your back and elevating your legs at a 90 degree angle. It’s best to cross them for added stability. Then, with your hands behind your head, bring your abdomen closer to your knees. In other words, as if you were doing a “half crunch”.
It’s a shorter exercise that allows you to do more repetitions a lot faster. You’ll see that it isn’t as easy as it seems.
On the other hand, 90 degree crunches are a variant of the previous one. Instead of stopping halfway through, you should bring your abdomen as close to your knees as possible. You’ll feel your abs working as you progress with the repetitions, which should be approximately 15-20 per set.
5. Ab exercises: bicycle crunches
Firstly, lie down on your back, place your arms behind your head, and stretch your legs. To begin the exercise, you should bend one leg and lift your abdomen so that it touches the opposite elbow. In other words, bring your right knee to your left elbow.
Bicycle sit-ups are one of the most intense ab exercises. Thus, it’s best to do approximately four or five in 20-second sets.
Finally, one of the main advantages of these ab exercises is that you can do them with your own body (you don’t need machines), at any time, and at home. You won’t need any special equipment or elements, just a soft and stable surface, and willpower. Try them out! You’ll see that you’ll get results if you persevere and put in the work.