You have to have a gym membership to get in shape, right? Wrong! Here we explore some simple home workout exercises to tone your abs. We look at how to do them and why they’re great for you, all without you needing to leave the house!
Women’s bodies naturally often store a lot of extra fat (known as adipose tissue) around their middles. But this doesn’t need to be a permanent thing. By eating right and working on the right exercises, we can begin to reduce the amount of fat our bodies keep there.
The best home abs workout routines will incorporate rotation, stability and time under tension into their exercises. Now for five of our favourites:
1. Russian twists
How do I perform a Russian twist?
Bend your knees and rest your heels lightly on the floor, or, for more of a challenge, lift them up! Next, keep your back straight and lean slightly backwards.
Extend your arms and twist your torso to the right.
With your arms in the same direction, tap the floor, then return to centre.
Do the same on the left side and return to the centre.
What are the benefits of adding rotation to abs exercises?
By adding rotation to abs exercises you include your oblique muscles, which aren’t always used in static exercises. Rotational movements enable you to hit more of your core muscles and also increase mobility through your spine.
2. The plank
Why is the plank one of the better abs exercises?
The plank is one of the best exercises you can do at home because it requires minimal space and movement, but when performed correctly will maximally recruit your core muscles.
Holding the plank position will test your strength and endurance, and not just in your abs. Proper plank form will hit your glutes, hamstrings and back.
All of this means that the stronger your plank, typically the better your posture and balance!
How do I perform a basic plank correctly?
Face down with your legs straight, prop yourself up onto your elbows and toes.
The wider your feet, the easier the exercise becomes – if this is your first time trying the plank, then have your feet however feels best!
Keep your elbows directly below your shoulders, your back straight and your abs tight.
3. Single arm/leg toe tap crunches
How do I perform single toe taps?
Lying on your back lift your legs to a 90-degree angle.
Reach your arms into the air so your hands are above your shoulders.
Keeping tension in your abs, take your left arm back so that the back of your hand just touches the floor and, at the same time, lower your right leg to the floor so your heel just touches.
Bring your arm and leg back up into the air.
Repeat on the other side.
Why should I do toe taps one side at a time?
By working each side separately, you can really focus on the feeling in each side of your body – the contraction of your abs at the top and the stretch of each side at the bottom.
4. Flutter kicks
How does moving my legs help my abs?
Flutter kicks are great for sculpting the lower ab area. In order to lower and raise your legs without them touching the floor or coming up to and past 90-degrees (like they do when you perform toe taps), you really have to switch on your abs. Your upper thighs will also benefit from this great abs exercise.
How do I perform flutter kicks correctly?
Lift your legs to 90-degrees.
Now, keeping them straight, lower them towards the floor until you feel your abs begin to tense.
From this point, alternately kick your legs up and down through this point of tension.
When you perform this exercise, keep your back fully flat on the floor, or prop your upper body on your elbows and keep your back straight.
How do I perform a basic crunch?
Resting your finger tips on the back of your head, slowly lift your head and shoulders off the floor until you feel your stomach muscles contract.
Hold this contraction for a moment and then lower back to the floor.
Keeping your elbows wide at all times throughout the exercise will make your body work that little bit harder!
Why shouldn’t I do a full sit-up?
Full sit-ups put unnecessary pressure on the spine, whereas the crunch movement, with a focused contraction, helps to keep the work of the exercise on your abs.