Doing a quick ab workout at home seems simple enough, right? The truth of the matter is after a few crunches and planks, sometimes you end up at a loss for how else to work your abs. That’s why this at-home ab workout is perfect for you!
Strengthening your core and flattening your tummy is so much more than just performing crunches endlessly or holding a plank. This ab workout will teach you the proper way to work your abs as well and give you effective moves you can do at home without any equipment (or the need to drive to the local gym!).
So let’s start with the basics. How do the abdominals work? How can I uncover my six-pack muscles? What are the best exercises for core strength and a flatter belly? Let’s dive in.
How Do The Abs Work?
The abdominals are broken down into four sections:
Rectus Abdominus (The upper abs): This section of your abs helps you flex forward and back. Think “crunches.”
Transverse Abdominus (The lower abs): This muscle stabilizes your entire middle, protects your low back, and keeps your belly flat.
External Obliques (Near the rib cage on top): This section pulls the chest downward, compresses the abs, and creates lateral flexion.
Internal Obliques (Around the waist and hip): This muscle compresses the abs as well as aids in flexing and rotating.
There are exercises that will focus on each of these areas in particular, but keep in mind that your abs almost always work as a complete unit. For example, in a bicycle twist exercise, the focus is on the obliques. It seems obvious in this move that your obliques are working to twist you and rotate side to side, but it is also true that your lower abs have to work to stabilize your trunk and your upper abs work to keep you flexed forward. The work is all intertwined. With that in mind, however, it is still important to choose a variety of exercises that balance the focus of your ab work. In other words, you can’t just do crunches every day! For the best results, choose a few different moves where the focus shifts from lower abs to upper abs to obliques.
Another piece of the puzzle is your lower back. To get a complete and balanced core workout, you need to strengthen your lower back muscles as well. Smart trainers will tell you that when you work your biceps you need to work your triceps. When you work your quads, you need to work your hamstrings. You get the picture. When you work your belly, you need to work your back! Balance is crucial everywhere, but particularly in your mid-section. Your core is made up of all the ab muscles listed above plus your lower back as well as muscles through your hips. Working your entire core is really the best way to get results for your abs! By strengthening the entire core, you create good posture and a tighter midsection overall. When things are strong and in balance, you will stand taller and look thinner. This workout is going to focus on the entire core for the best results!
Uncovering Your Six-Pack
So as strong as your abs might be, you still need to find a way to uncover the muscles by eliminating some of the layer of fat that covers them up. Time to get rid of the muffin top! How can you do this? Good old-fashioned eating and exercise. That’s it. Nothing special and no magic tricks.
First, start by eating healthy by eliminating excess sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy fats. Instead, eat more lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. This is the number one way you can start uncovering the beautiful abs you have to show.
Next, exercise matters. Not only do you need to do the ab exercises (like we have below) to strengthen and create that six-pack, but cardio exercise helps to reduce body fat and uncover the muscles that are already there.
Finally, strengthen the muscles you want to see change! That’s what this at-home abs workout is designed to do. The next nine exercises will give you a complete ab workout for a flat tummy, tighter waist, and stronger low back. Let’s get started.
The At-Home Abs Workout
No equipment needed! For the following workout all you need is a little space and maybe a mat or other firm but gentle surface where you won’t slide around. Perform each move for the number of reps stated and make sure you take a few minutes to stretch at the end!
Oblique Burner – 15 reps per side
Standing oblique burner is not only a great way to warm up for this workout, but it puts the focus on your waistline and engages your obliques.
The basic crunch sets the tone for the workout and prepares you to move right into bicycle, which capitalizes on the use of your rectus abdominus (upper abs) by adding transverse abdominus (lower abs) and obliques.
In In Out Out Plank – 8 leading with the right, 8 leading with left
Planks are great. This is even better. Not only do you challenge holding the forearm plank, but you add the foot movement creating the need to pull in even tighter in order to hold your body as still as possible.
Side Plank Crunch – 15 reps per side
Time to turn to your side and get deep into your obliques. The side plank crunch is a great challenge to stabilize the oblique (side muscles) on the bottom and work the obliques on the top. If it is too much, check out the modified side plank crunch instead!
Bend Extend Ab Tuck – 10 reps
The abs always work together in unison, but this move targets your lower abs like crazy. The transverse abdominus will feel this one for sure!
V-Ups – 10 reps
Not for wimps, this v-up move will challenge you past your limits and get you to try to get to the next level. Too much? Lift one leg at a time.
Swimming – 30 seconds
Since core work is not just for 6-pack abs, get this swimming move going to strengthen the low back muscles and eliminate low back-fat! Inhale for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts.
Full Body Rollup – 8 reps
The perfect way to end this workout! Full body rollups give you just enough core work challenge plus an amazing stretch for your back – you might want to keep going once your 8 reps are up because it feels so good!
Want more? GHU TV has tons of great free online workouts that will strengthen and shape your abs.