Defining your abs is a great way to enhance your figure and boost your overall strength as well. Training your core is the primary factor that leads to that picture-perfect six-pack abs. In addition to that, core exercises benefit the entire body and not just the abs. By strengthening your core, you can be at a lower risk of developing an injury while working out. Besides, a strong core allows you to improve your balance, stability, and overall stamina. This tells us that having a strong core leads to a significant development in your body while getting defined abs is just a cherry on top.
Here are some of the best ab exercises to incorporate in your core workout.
Practicing the classic low plank is an excellent exercise to strengthen your core. It directly involves your abdominal muscles, allowing you to develop a healthy posture, improved balance, and defined abs. To begin, lie down on your mat and prepare for the regular forearm plank position. Ensure that your elbows are placed under your shoulders in a straight line. Ball-up your fists and place your forearms parallel to each other. This is the perfect plank position. Maintain balance on the balls of your feet; keep your core engaged and lean a little forward. Squeeze your entire body together, including your abdomen, back, and fists, and hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. This is a highly impactful way of developing your core without any equipment.
Hanging Leg Raise
This is a relatively more challenging exercise, but it is also equally impactful. For this exercise, you will need gym equipment as well as professional assistance to avoid any injuries. Start by simply hanging on the bar and prepare yourself for a brutal core exercise. Now, keep your legs straight and ensure that your feet are together. After that, slowly lift your legs by using the strength from your lower abs, creating a 90-degree angle with your body, and then carefully bring them down in the same leg arrangement. Make sure that you practice this exercise under a trainer’s assistance, at least in the beginning. If you are looking for a low-impact version, then go with regular leg raises, which is performed by lying on the mat and extending your legs in the same way.
If you are looking for an easy-to-perform core engaging exercise without any equipment, then the dead bug is the one for you. Begin by lying on the mat with your face-up, and then stretch your arms upwards, aligned with your shoulders. After that, keep your knees bent to form a 90-degree angle with your calf and thighs. Now, begin with simultaneous hand and leg movement. Lower your left arm above your head, straighten your right leg towards the floor and then bring them back to the previous position. Then do the same with your right arm and left leg and continue the movement for 15 reps. Make sure that your back stays in touch with the ground; otherwise, there are chances of developing a back injury.
Crunches are a great way to enhance your core muscle as it majorly hits the rectus abdominis, making it one of the best ab exercises. Start by lying with your back on the mat. Lift your legs with a bend at the knee with your thighs perpendicular to the ground. Lift your hips by curling your knees towards the chest and make sure that your lower back is pressed to the ground. After that, return to the starting position and continue doing this till you complete the set. Again, be careful with the movement and keep your back touched to the ground throughout to avoid any back injury. This exercise primarily targets your core muscles, and while reversing, it strengthens the rectus abdominis, which is an integral part of your desired six-pack abs. This exercise is also known to reduce belly fat, especially in the case of women.
This exercise is highly effective as it focuses on three groups of muscles at one time. For this exercise, lie on the side using your right forearm to align your elbow and shoulder. Keep your legs together and stretched straight and stacked onto one another to maintain the required balance. Make sure that you lift your hips with your core engaged. Maintain this position for 30 to 60 seconds according to your tolerance, and then come to a relaxed place. Do the same on the other side for the same amount of time. This exercise involves your external oblique, transverse abs, and rectus abdominis. It improves your balance, strengthens the core, and reduces the risk of developing a back injury, making it ideal for incorporating in your ab workout.
Adding heel touches to your workout routine is a great way to target your external oblique, ultimately strengthening your core. To do this, lie on your mat with your face up, place your feet flat on the ground with your knees bent. Now, lift your chest and shoulders carefully, ensuring that your neck is entirely safe. Once you have the right position, then move towards the right side, tapping your right ankle with your right hand. Return to the starting position and then do that same on the left side. Continue doing this on both sides for around 30 to 60 seconds until you finish the set. This exercise proves to tighten the entire side ab and is also suitable for the lower abdominal regions.
Dumbbell Side Bend
This exercise targets external and internal obliques and adds a dumbbell to your training, proving to be a highly effective modification for a more significant impact. Stand straight with a hip-width distance between your legs and hold a dumbbell in your left hand so that your palm faces in the inward direction. After that, make sure that your back is straight and stiff, the core is engaged, and then bend your waist towards the right side as much as you can. Hold for one or two seconds there and then return to the initial position and then do the same on the other side. Continue this movement 15 to 20 times. In this exercise, be smart in choosing the weight as per your body’s ability. Maintain a slow tempo because six-packs are not built from the dumbbell’s weight but from the burn.
This particular type of crunches activates your upper abdominal muscles, oblique, and rectus abdominis. In addition to that, the transverse abdominals are also engaged due to the legs’ pedaling movement. To do this exercise, lie on the mat with your face-up, press your back to the ground, and keep your knees bent. Place your hands behind the neck, and then raise your knees to a 90-degree angle. Now bring your left knee close to your right elbow and then do the same on the other side by rotating your torso and having your hips slightly elevated. Continue with this peddling-like movement, aiming for at least 15 to 20 reps. An additional benefit of doing this exercise is that, along with your abs, you will also tone your thighs and glutes as they are equally involved. However, make sure that you are not straining your neck to bring your knee and elbow in contact, as it may lead to an unwanted injury.
Practicing this exercise is an excellent way to activate multiple areas of your abs and challenge your balance and stability. Sit on your mat and lift your legs so that your body forms a 45-degree angle with the torso. Then stretch your arms forward, maintaining a good posture and keep your abdominal muscles contracted. Do not hold your breath at all. Instead, practice deep and controlled breathing as it will give you the necessary burn. Maintain this position for around 30 seconds and then come back to a relaxed position. This exercise targets your rectus abdominis, hip flexors, external and internal obliques, and improves your trunk balance. Ensure that your back and shoulders stay straight because a rounded back will not give you the desired impact and may even lead to sore muscles.
These were some of the most beneficial core exercises that you must incorporate in your ab workout. In addition to these, here are some more considerable ones:
- Lateral bear walk
- Knee tucks
- Plank with leg lifts
- Russian twists
- Bear crawl
- Hip raises
- Flutter kicks
- Side crunches
- Hollow hold
- Up and down planks
- Hip dips, etc.
In conclusion, working on your core leads to several essential benefits, and getting defined abs is just an attractive bonus that can spike up your confidence considerably. Most of the exercises mentioned above activate several parts of the abdomen at one time. The burn caused by these exercises is a reliable validation that they are impactful and will soon show results. However, over-doing core exercises may result in injuries or faulty gains. It is vital to incorporate other kinds of workout, such as cardio, HIIT, etc. Ensure that you reach out to a professional before engaging in any training for correct guidance and assistance.