If there’s one muscle group that gets the most attention, it has to be the abdominal muscles or the abs! Whether you’re aiming for that elusive six-pack, trying to shed some belly fat or are focused on strengthening your core, almost everyone looks for the best ab exercises to try at home.
When it comes to your abs, the goal of any workout should be improving core stability because your core is involved in every single activity that you do. Every time you sneeze, laugh, walk and lift something, you are engaging your core muscles. Whether you are looking towards building core strength or getting washboard abs, here are some of the ab routines to try at home.
What are the best ab exercises?
There is no definitive workout that is best for everyone. The best workout is specific to your body type, your fitness level and your exercise goals. However there are some recommendations that will help you get the most out of your workout:
- Do a range of exercises to ensure that you target all four ab muscle groups. You should focus on the transverse abdominal muscle (TVA) which makes up your true core.
- Schedule your exercise so that you work on your abs two to four times a week and take rest days in between.
- Ensure that you warm-up and get your blood pumping before you work those abs. Do some stretches and jumping jacks so that your muscles are flexible and warm before you begin.
- Make an easy routine that you can stick to. You could start with 8-10 reps of each exercise or create a circuit where you do all the exercises for the day one in single sets. Repeat the circuit up to 3 times for a good workout.
What are the best exercises to do at home?
Just as there are no best workouts or diets, there are no ideal ab exercises. This depends on your fitness level, other health conditions, and how your body responds to the workout.
Here are some of the most popular exercises:
- Lie on your back and bend your knees.
- Place your fingertips lightly behind your head but do not pull on your neck as you perform this move.
- Engage your core, keep your neck soft, and crunch your abs as you move upwards.
- You do not have to lift your torso all the way up. As long as your abs are engaging, just lifting your shoulders off the floor is enough.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Lie on your stomach with your feet at hip width.
- Place your palms at chest-level and push up, letting your body lift in a straight line.
- Keep your abs engaged to maintain the straight line of your body.
- Avoid arching your back or dipping your hips.
- Try to hold the position for as long as you can and then return to the floor. The aim is to hold it for 60 seconds and then try variations on the same position.
- Lie on your back with knees bent and your fingertips behind your head.
- Engage your abs and lift your shoulders off the floor, lifting your legs at the same time.
- Touch your right elbow to your left knee, twisting your abs to one side.
- Bicycle your feet and repeat on the other side.
- Start on all fours with your arms straight and firm.
- Engage your core and jump your left foot up towards your left hand.
- Jump your left foot back and your right foot forward.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Lie on your back with your arms stretched overhead and your legs straight.
- Use your core to lift your legs and arms simultaneously to form a V-shape.
- Bring them down slowly, keeping your core engaged and your lower back flat against the ground.
- Repeat a few times.
- Start in a seated position with your back straight and your legs extended in front of you.
- Lean back, bend your knees and stretch your arms out beside your knees.
- Use your core to remain upright while you lean into a 45-degree angle.
- Hold the position for 30-60 seconds using your abs to remain upright.
- Slowly lower to your back again.
What are the best ab workouts for defined abs?
One of the greatest myths about abs is the belief that doing ab exercises will give you the coveted six-pack. The right ab workouts will strengthen your abs and define muscles, but if you have belly fat, you will not be able to see those muscles. If you’re looking for definition on your abdomen, you will have to focus on losing fat and eating right.
The best way to get defined abs is through a training schedule that allows you to burn fat and build muscle.
These cardio exercises will melt away those pounds:
- Cardio workouts
When it comes to muscle building, you should focus on exercises that strengthen and define. Some routines that will help are:
- Resistance training
A schedule that mixes the above cardio and strength training workouts will help you lose weight. In addition, your diet matters too. After all, abs are made in the gym but revealed in the kitchen. Your diet should have low amounts of alcohol, sugar, processed food or processed fats.
The general idea is to meet your caloric requirement through good carbs and add decent amount of protein from a variety of sources while focusing on consuming good fats. This means eating more of:
- Carbohydrates (vegetables, whole grains and fruits)
- Protein (lean meat, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, legumes, soy, pulses and other sources)
- Fats (avocado, oily fish, nuts, seeds, ghee, coconut oil)
What are the best ab exercises for men and women?
There is not a lot of difference between an abs routine for men and women. Biologically, women are wider at the pelvis, have a longer waist and are predisposed to a higher body fat percentage, which hides those abdominal muscles. This may mean that for some women, it takes longer to get results than a man who follows the same diet and workout schedule.
However men and women can practice all of the ab exercises mentioned above and should see similar results.
Regardless of gender, the idea is to work these four muscle groups to ensure a complete ab workout:
External abdominal obliques: Extending from the lower half of the ribcage down to the pelvis
Internal abdominal obliques: The stabilizing muscles that run underneath the external obliques
Transversus abdominis: They are spread horizontally across the midsection and are the deepest of the four muscles
Rectus abdominis: Colloquially these are the ‘six-packs’ that everyone wants to achieve.
Bear in mind that abdominal muscles are high load-bearing muscles which means that they need to be worked harder than most other muscles in the body. This translates to longer sets and more reps in order to get the desired results.
What are the best ab workouts with equipment?
If you have the budget and the space at home, you could consider investing in some equipment for your home. Start small with equipment such as an exercise ball, a hanging bar, barbells or a kettle bell. You can move up to an abs bench as you get better.