You may not consciously realize it, but your body is made of hundreds of interlocking muscles and tendons that connect and work with each other to accommodate your every movement. Getting up off the couch, leaning down to tie your shoes, and even leisurely walking are all motions that are coordinated by the muscles that make up your core.
Without these muscles, you would find yourself unable to stand, walk, sit, or even lie down comfortably. According to researchers from Harvard, when the muscles that make up your core, are unbalanced or weak, it can impede your ability to do all sorts of very normal, everyday tasks. When they’re strong, you’ll find yourself in better general health with higher ease of movement and less pain throughout the day.
Parts that Make up your Core
Your core is made up of your entire midsection. Your abs, sides, and back muscles work together like a strong chain that anchors all of your movements. Even your arms and legs can be benefitted by taking good care of these muscles:
- Transverse Abdominals
- Rectus Abdominus (abs)
- Pelvic Floor
Why Workout Your Abs?
Your abs are what help you stay upright. One of the most difficult places for people with belly fat to pinpoint when working out is the lower abs, which create stores of belly fat from carbs and starches. You don’t necessarily have to eat like a professional athlete to get smooth, defined abs, however.
Best Exercises for Your Abs
The most effective abs workouts focus on different sectors of your abdominal muscles. Be sure to evenly workout all of your core muscles. By focusing too much on having a flat tummy, you could find yourself with unbalanced muscle formation that can lead to, according to Public Health England, issues with walking and standing upright.
These 10 abs workout tips will not only help you see a huge difference in your levels of belly fat but will also help you gain great posture and better overall wellbeing.
1. Hardstyle Plank
This plank works like a traditional one but incorporates more tension from your arms to increase the level of pressure felt against your abs. To do this move, get down on your elbows and feet as if it’s a normal plank.
Bring your elbows in closer together and bend your arms at a 100-degree level instead of the usual 90. Be sure to keep a straight line from your head to your feet. Don’t let your back cave in or hold your glutes up too high, because this will minimize the workout on your abs.
2. Dumbbell Side Bend
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. To do this exercise correctly, it’s important that you pull in your stomach and stand with your chest out.
With a dumbbell in one hand, bend your waist toward the side without a dumbbell until you feel your abs begin to stretch. Hold it for a second, and then do it again. Be sure to do this on both sides equally! This is one of the best abs workout tips that most fitness experts swear by.
This workout focuses on your sides and also works the muscles in your glutes.
3. Squat Thrust with Twist
Again, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Stand up straight, and check your posture and your breathing. In this abs workout, you hold your hands out front of you at shoulder height and squat down until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
While doing this, twist your body to your upper left, and then come back up. Repeat this several times going both directions. This abs workout focuses on:
- your core
- your legs
- your glutes
4. Ballet Twist
This abs workout is also called a ballerina twist and is a great bodyweight resistance training that requires no extra equipment besides the workout equipment you were born with: your body.
Put your flat palm on the ground, and extend your body into a well-formed side plank.
Put your other hand into the air, and look at it. Follow it with your eyes as you sweep your palm underneath yourself and let your core twist.
5. Exercise Ball Crunch
This is a great beginner abs workout. Sit on an exercise ball with your lower back curve lined up with the curve of your exercise ball. Be sure that your feet are flat on the ground and sturdily planted. Use your core to pull yourself up, and feel your muscles flex.
It’s important to not move your head. Tighten the muscles in your neck and middle to maintain a straight line in your body.
6. Pullup & Knee Raise
This next move is not for the faint of heart. Use a pull-up bar, and hang with your hands positioned shoulder-width apart. If you’re able to, pull your body up without bending your torso, until your chin is above the bar.
Hold this position, and pull your knees up to your chest using your abdominal muscles. It’s okay for your spine to curve in during this move, so let your back muscles do some of the work too.
7. Side Plank
Get on your side with your feet together and your forearm supporting you. Keep yore core tight so you’re able to support yourself without getting hurt. Pull in your abs, and hold your body in a straight line.
If you feel like you’re not doing this abs workout correctly, or you’re not feeling the benefits, you could be making a common mistake like:
- Balancing on only part of your foot
- Relaxing your abs during
- Not maintaining tension in your neck
- Not holding the side plank for as long as you can
8. Medicine Ball V-Up
If you have a medicine ball, this abs workout is a great fit for you. If you don’t have a medicine ball, you can still do the workout without it to practice and still get a good workout.
Lay flat on the ground with your hands holding the ball above your head and your legs stretched out. Tighten up your core and press your lower back into the ground as you raise your feet and bring the medicine ball above your body in the air. This makes a V shape.
Gently let yourself down, and do it again! It’s okay to use no medicine ball until you have the motions down, as well.
9. Bird Dog
This abs workout gets a little complicated, but if you follow along you’ll be alright. Start with your palms and knees on the ground, with your hands under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Kick one leg back, high behind you, while pointing your toe.
Reach with your other arm out into the air, pointing your fingers.
Hold this as long as you can, and switch.
10. Reverse Crunch
This abs workout is different from a typical crunch because it works deeper, lower ab muscles. Put your hands behind your head and be sure to not interlace your fingers. Put your thumbs by your ears.
Keep your legs at 90 degrees to your body, and pull your lower body up. If this isn’t challenging enough for you, you can add a normal crunch to this progression.
Final Thoughts on Abs Workout Tips
One of the best abs workout tips you will get is to go the extra mile. Some of these moves are insanely hard, and you won’t be able to do them on your first try. That’s okay! Keep doing reps and sets until you build up a baseline level of strength, and then attempt the more difficult moves.
One of the most important aspects of abs workouts is to stay true to form. By sticking to form, you’ll make sure that you don’t injure yourself while working out, and you’ll get a much more effective exercise that helps you see better results more quickly.
Taking care of your core by doing these 10 abs workouts is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Your middle will thank you!