10 killer abs exercises that will blow your mind!
We've made a selection of 10 killer and effective bodyweight exercises to tighten up your abs! Here's a list of all 10 abs exercises with instructions on how to perform each exercise.
Crunches are great for achieving muscle definition between the abs and chest. They're also a great alternative to sit-ups, if you have back problems.
- Lie down on the floor with your legs bent at the knees and clasp your fingers behind your head.
- As you exhale, raise your shoulders and torso off the ground without raising your back.
- Lower your torso back to the floor as you inhale, all the while keeping your abs flexed.
- Keep your muscles contracted throughout the exercises and make sure your movements are slow and controlled, so you don't roll back and forth.
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Flutter crunches are one of the principal exercises used by military special operators. This comes as no surprise when you consider that they're a killer abs and hip flexor exercise.
- Lie down on the floor with your palms under your hips.
- Lift your head and shoulders off the floor with both legs fully extended just a little above your hips (15-20 cm / 6-8 inches off the floor).
- Keeping your abs tight, alternate between your right and your left leg, lifting each 45 degrees in the air and lowering to their starting position.
- Continue kicking your legs up in the air for a desired number of reps while doing crunches at the same time.
Avoid this exercise if you have lower back problems!
TOE TOUCH CRUNCHES
The toe touch works and tones the stomach muscles and is a great way to increase flexibility through the hamstrings.
- Begin by lying down, with your back firmly against the floor.
- Raise your legs up so that they are a 90 degree angle (don't worry if you can't lift them up at a right angle from the very beginning, just start where you can and slowly increase your flexibility with time).
- With your arms fully extended above your head, crunch up and try to touch your toes.
- Repeat until you've reached the desired number of reps.
LYING DOWN LEG RAISES
Lying leg raises work your hip flexors and are one of the best exercises for your tight abs.
- Begin by lying down on your back and place your hands at your sides for support.
- Extend your legs straight in front of you and lift them as you exhale until they're perpendicular to the ground. Make sure your abs stay flexed throughout the movement.
- As you inhale, begin lowering your legs slowly back to the starting position and stop just about 2.5 cm (~1 inch) off the floor.
- Repeat for a desired number of reps.
- Make sure your back stays firmly against the floor throughout the exercise.
TIP: A great variation of this exercises are the hanging leg raises. As you hang from the chin-up bar, raise your legs until they form a 90-degree angle to your torso.
Mountain climbers are a full body exercise that strengthens multiple muscle groups and the cardiovascular system. To perform mountain climbers you must activate the core abdominal muscles.
- Start off in a push up position with your hands directly under your chest at shoulder width apart.
- Your posture should be in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
- By bending the knee bring one leg towards your chest – this is your starting position.
- Quickly begin switching your legs, extending the bent leg until the leg is straight and supported by the toe.
- Continue the exercise by switching the legs
The static V-hold is another simple but extremely effective exercise for increasing core strength. It is probably best left for last in your abs routine when your muscles are already fatigued.
- Begin the static v-hold in a seated position with your legs fully extended in front of you.
- Contract your abdominal muscles and lift your legs up to a 45-degree angle, while reaching straight forward with your arms towards your shins.
- Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and make sure your muscles are contracted the whole time and your back is in good posture.
- Lower your legs back to the floor in a slow and deliberate manner.
The plank is a simple yet amazing abdominal exercise. It engages every muscle in your core, develops core strength and increases your overall stability.
- Perform it by stabilizing yourself on your forearms or holding yourself up with both arms extended.
- Hold the position for as long as possible.
Each variation engages different muscles in your body
When leaning on your forearms, your whole body is more parallel to the ground so you get more resistance from gravity. When your arms are extended and your shoulder blades pulled down and back, your abs and your obliques become more engaged.
What the plank does for your abs, the side plank does for your obliques!
- It's performed in the same way as the regular plank, except that you lean to the side and hold the position on one elbow at a time.
- Take turns to work both sides of your abdominals.
This exercise requires a tremendous amount of core strength and stability and you also need to have a strong upper back in order to do it correctly. Here's how to do it:
- Starting position: Hang on a pull-up bar with your palms facing away from your body, placed a bit wider than shoulder width apart. Feet off the floor.
- Contract core and try to bring shoulder blades together to open chest and engage back muscles.
- Pull your legs up towards the bar, keeping them together and as straight as possible.
- Continue pulling the legs up until your body is almost parallel to the floor.
- Stay in this position and move your legs from side-to-side.
- Control return to starting position until arms are fully extended.
Avoid this exercises if you have back problems.
The sit-up is a classic abdominal movement that's very effective at strengthening your core and hip flexors.
- Begin by lying down on the floor, bending your legs at the knees, and placing your feet under something that will keep them firmly on the ground.
- Place your hands behind your head and raise your upper body as you exhale, until your torso and your thighs create an imaginary V-shape.
- Stay in this position for a one-count and then slowly return your upper body back to the starting position as you inhale.
TIP: Those who would like to make this traditional exercise more challenging, can disengage their hip flexors by sticking their knees out to the side and separating the thighs.
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