25 Abs Moves Anyone Can Do from 25 Abs Moves Anyone Can Do
25 Abs Moves Anyone Can Do
The abs are some of the hardest muscles to tone. The midsection is the first place most people, particularly women, store weight. It’s just the way the body works. There are numerous reasons why people are trying hard but are not losing belly fat – from drinking diet soda and following a low-fat diet to doing only crunches and not sleeping enough. The key to scoring high-definition abs is feeling tension as you get the midsection working, Shane McLean, certified personal trainer at Balance Guy Training, says. Also, “abs are made in the kitchen.” It’s really more about the quality than the quantity of the food you consume, he adds.
1. Dead Bug
The dead bug exercise is for beginners. “I like to start with it during warmup for a core workout,” McLean says. “You really feel the abs as you breathe out and it helps for good posture,” he adds. The exercise is used a lot in physical therapy and by people who have a weak core. Lay on your back; your hands should be reaching up or you can leave them by your side. Bring your knees up forming a 90-degree angle. Start the exercise by extending one leg – straighten the knee and hip. “I like to do 6-8 reps each side,” he adds. See it in this video.
2. Overhead circles
Any rotation exercises work the obliques “pretty good,” McLean says. You stabilize your core as you are moving your hand carrying a medicine ball or another load in circles above your head. The arms are getting a workout too. Make large circles, but keep your torso still, in both directions 8-10 times. Do at least 3 sets.
3. Bicycle crunches
This well-known ab exercise is extremely popular among all types of gym-goers and exercisers. A study found that it's actually the most effective move for strengthening the rectus abdominus, also known as the “six-pack” muscles. You are only going to reap the benefits if you do it correctly: There should be no rolling from shoulder to shoulder; make sure to keep your arms stable and still; and use your low abdominals, as well as your glutes, to stabilize your body.
4. Leg raises
This is a great exercise that works lower abdominals. Lie on your back with arms at your side; pull navel into the spine; lift both legs up at once until they are perpendicular to the floor; slowly lower back down. Do not let back arch up off the floor. Add a scissor kick vertically and horizontally up a few inches (legs stay straight and move up and down or side to side and crisscross each other). Repeat at least 15 times.
6. Farmer’s walk
“This is definitely an exercise anybody can do,” McLean says. You are holding moderately light dumbbells as you walk forward. “The move works the abs for stabilization because most people tend to bend forward when they walk and carry weight,” he adds. This move is very simple but underused. It’s also functional as it makes it easier for you to carry heavy things. Do about 40-50 steps every time. See it in this video.
7. Reverse push-ups
All forms of pushups are really good for the abs, McLean says. “You may feel pain in a different place, not necessarily in the core, but you are definitely working it,” he adds. “Anytime you’re in a push-up position, you’re basically in a plank.” Reverse push-ups are harder because your legs push the body forward, which means the core has to work harder to slow the move.
The pike workout targets all four abdominals. Lie on your back with arms overhead; pull navel into the spine and at the same time; lift arms and legs straight up into the air to touch; try to keep your back flat and not rounded. Repeat 8-10 times.
Planks, one of McLean’s favorite high-intensity core exercises, are an extremely effective isometric exercise. You use your own bodyweight to maintain the stability of your entire core, which is exactly what the core muscles are supposed to do, and prevent back pain. The ways in which you can do planks vary tremendously but the effect is the same – killer abs.
10. Chin-ups and pull-ups
“People don’t really realize it but both chin-ups and pull-ups work the core,” McLean says. “I did chin-ups yesterday and my abs are sore today,” he adds. You have to keep your core tight and engage the back as you descend from the bar – the slower the better. The body should be in a straight line. Don’t lift your legs or swing.
11. Hollow Hold
Hollow Body Hold is usually recommended as one of the best alternatives to planks and burpees. It is similar to the boat pose in yoga, except the lower back is connected to the floor. Your back is on the mat, legs are lifted, head and shoulders are off of the floor, and you’re looking at your feet. This is very effective and much safer than crunches. You burn calories much faster.
12. Lifting weights with one arm
“I’m not a fan of side bends,” McLean says. Many trainers do not and won’t ever recommend the exercise to clients. “But I like lifting with one arm at a time.” When you work one hand, arm or a leg at a time, the opposite side has to stabilize so you don’t bend, which means your side muscles are hard at work, he adds.
13. Leg lowering
Passive leg lowering is used as a functional move by many physical therapists. McLean says he likes it for the warm-up part of training. Lay on your back, raise both legs; keep them straight; lower one down to the ground. Do each leg 8-10 times. You can the Passive Leg Lowering move in this video. Double leg lowering is the same move, except you lower both legs at the same time. It’s intense. See the exercise here.
14. Goblet reverse lunges
Lunges are one of the best exercises to tone your legs. But when you add weights and start walking backwards, the abs really get a workout, as they keep you stable and upright. The trick is vertically holding the kettlebell or dumbbell in front of your chest. Your back must be straight at all times or you risk injuring it.
15. Bird dog
It may not look like much but this exercise will really work out your core. “It’s great for warm up,” McLean says. “The moment you take points off the ground, you’re forcing the whole body to stabilize using the core, and you feel the muscles working,” he adds. Start the exercise by getting on all fours. Your back should always be straight. Reach out with one hand and extend the opposite leg. Engage your abs to maintain balance. Hold for a few seconds and switch. Repeat each side about 15 times.
16. Knee raises
Knee raises are harder than crunches and safer for your back when done properly. It’s important to not swing back and forth. Stabilize your spine as you pull your knees towards the chest. Press your back against the pad and use your abs to raise your legs and knees.
17. Suitcase walk
“With the suitcase carry walk exercise you are forcing your body to stand tall working the obliques area,” McLean says. It also strengthens the forearms and deltoids at the same time. You are holding a kettlebell or another weight in one hand as you are walking. Do at least 50 steps on each hand, McLean says. See the exercise, which is good for warmups or finishing a workout, in this video.
18. Pilates Corkscrew
The corkscrew is a typical Pilates move. It works like a charm by strengthening the obliques, core and legs. Start by lying on your back. Pull your knees towards the chest. Reach them up to the ceiling and squeeze your glutes. Move them to the right as you lift your hips up off the floor. Go back and then move the legs to the left and up. Your shoulder should be grounded. Repeat 10-15 times.
You are basically rolling into a crunch. Lay on the floor. Hold some kind of weight above your chest and reach out towards the ceiling. “I like to do this for time usually 1-2 min,” McLean says. Rollbacks are a low intensity exercise that helps strengthen and tone your abs. “Rolling back is a great eccentric move,” he adds. “The slower the better.”
20. Stability ball crunches
“I like to do stability ball crunches because the lower back muscles are really not flexed that much as opposed to if you’re on the floor,” McLean says. This is why using the exercise ball is safer. “You’re also concentrating only on the six-pack muscles and nothing else,” he adds.
21. Boat pose crunch
Begin in boat pose. Keep your core tight and a neutral spine as you slowly extend your legs and lower your torso towards the floor simultaneously. Pause for a beat before returning to the starting position. You can also try the Boat Pose Knee Extension. Begin in boat pose. Keep your arms extended as you slowly lower your feet towards the ground, tapping the floor lightly with the tips of your toes.
22. Rolling reach
The Roll Up works all four abdominal muscles at once. “I like to use a dumbbell or medicine ball and do for 1 min,” McLean says. Lay on your back with arms over your head; bring them forward; roll your spine slowly, keeping your navel pulled into your spine; reach for the toes. Do at least 8-10 reps. You can see the exercise in this video.
23. The Hundred
This is a classic Pilates exercise that is often used to warm up. The Hundred is also similar to the yoga boat pose but it's a bit easier, Brown says. Lie on your back with your knees bent and up in the air. Your arms should be reaching up. As you move them back down to the floor, lift your head and roll up so your shoulder blades are just off the mat. Count to 10 and do 10 more reps (reaching 100 beats).
24. Seated Figure 8’s
Begin lying on your back with your arms extended over your head. Keep your core tight and engage your abdominal muscles to lift your upper body off the ground while also lifting your legs, reaching your fingers towards your toes. Pause for a beat and then slowly return to the starting position.