Six great at-home ab exercises

Strong abdominal muscles can do wonders for your body. Strong abs help maintain good posture, prevent lower back pain, and can improve your breathing.  Keep reading to discover six great at-home ab exercises which will strengthen your core substantially.

Abs stabilize and are part of your base which plays a hidden but humongous role in any physical activity. However, the day-to-day curveballs which life throws at you can prevent you from hitting the gym. 

A Go-To At-Home Ab Exercise: Forearm Planks (Front, side)

Planks are a valuable exercise. They build strength in the upper and lower body, engage the core, and stabilize joints. Plus, they’re core-focused, specifically on the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.

The rectus abdominis are the stomach’s upper layer muscles, which present a “six pack” if you have low body fat. On the other hand, the transverse abdominis are the deep abdominal layer muscles. These help clinch your waist and stabilize your back muscles. Your obliques are engaged during a plank as well.

When you work both obliques, they provide a stabilizing effect, specifically holding the ribs and hips in alignment. As you can imagine, obliques are extremely essential, making side-planks an important exercise since they are oblique-focused.

Planks are the best at-home ab exercise because of their difficulty and the numerous muscles they work.

For finding the right time to hold a plank, challenge yourself and test how long you can go. Then, find a shorter time where you can do at least three straight sets while maintaining a stable posture. One-minute is a great goal to strive for if you’re unable to hold it for that long at first. Start at a lower time and gradually build yourself up to the one minute mark!

Don’t worry, you got this. 

Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle crunches are a top ab exercise. This crunch primarily targets the rectus abdominis and external obliques from the upward and twist motion demonstrated.

For best results, prevent your feet from touching the floor and petal your legs in the motion of a bicycle. Petal your legs away from your elbows as far as possible, which increases the difficulty of the crunch. With your upper body, extend and alternate your elbows back and up to the opposite rising knee, utilizing your core. 

With bicycle crunches, you should be feeling a burn in your abs and continue through the burn. If you don’t feel a burn in each set, you’re either not doing enough or your form is not correct.

50 repetitions per side is a great number to strive for for each set. Consistently doing 150 reps per side (300 total) will play a pivotal role in those results you’re searching for!

If you could use assistance with your form, working with one of our expert personal trainers in San Francisco will do the trick! Trust me, we got this. 

Girl doing bicycle crunches, at-home ab exercise

Scissor Kicks 

Scissor kicks a well-rounded at-home ab exercise where you’re utilizing your transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, and obliques.

To reap the numerous benefits from scissor kicks, you lay on your back and extend your legs forward. Next, alternate them up and down while keeping your core tight and back on the floor.

Scissor kicks are quick and light repetitions which means one set typically consists of many reps. To find a number, see how many you can do in a small range vs. a wide range of motion. Whichever one tires you out the most should be your go-to. For the best of both worlds, try switching between the two!  

The wider the range of motion the more difficult the kicks become. Like every other ab exercise, it’s important to push through the burn. After all, that is when the exercise is strengthening your abdominals the most.

Leg Raises

Because leg raises are one motion, they work your lower and upper abs. They have a hyper-focus on both sections of your abdominals, more than most ab workouts do.

For leg raises, lay on your back with your legs extended in the air, moving them down and upward. To keep your back on the floor, either place your hands under your behind with your palms face down. Or, hold onto the legs of a heavy weight table/ pole stuck into the ground behind your head. Three sets of 30 is a good amount to work towards. 

Reverse Crunches

Reverse crunches are what they sound like: a regular crunch reversed. These target the show-off muscles, your rectus abdominis. 

You exercise the same motion with your upper body in a reverse crunch as you would with a regular crunch. It’s your lower body motion which switches. Raise your legs so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your knees are bent at a 90° angle. Then, contract your abs to bring your knees up towards your chest and raise your hips off the floor. Hold for a beat in this position, then slowly lower your legs back to the starting position and repeat.

30 reps per set is a good number to start off for this position. However, working up to 50 repetitions per set overtime is due-able and will give you the most satisfying results. That’s what we’re shooting for here at Hokali. Book your first session today!

girl exercising at home

A Complex At-Home Ab Exercise: V-Sits

V-Sits are a complex version of reverse crunches. While reverse crunches target the rectus abdominis, v-sits focus on the transverse abdominis and obliques muscles too.

They are an advanced exercise, so you want to master all of the above exercises beforehand. Then, attempt to move up to v-sits. 

Refer to this link for the steps to properly doing a v-sit.

A healthy diet plays a key role with maintaining strong abdominal muscles. Give this blog post a read! 

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