Building a strong core is the mission of every athlete, lifter, and fitness enthusiast. Your ab muscles help you in most of the resistance and weight training exercises. Your ab muscles are made of four parts rectus abdominal, transverse abdominal, internal, and external obliques.
Performing ab workout at home is less time consuming and saves you a lot of money that you can use in important aspects of your life.
There are a variety of exercises to train your ab muscles either directly or indirectly, these exercises target’s your other body parts but use your core to stabilize the movement.
I have listed some of the best ab exercises for you below to help you in doing ab workouts at home. According to studies by professionals, these exercises are the most effective and will give you amazing results.
The leg raise is a simple but very effective move for your ab muscles. The intensity of this exercise increases as you go higher in repetition. During the leg raise, your upper body is at rest while your lower body performs all the movement.
This exercise primarily target’s your major core muscles like rectus abdominal, internal, and external obliques. The secondary muscles which come into play are erector spinae (lower back), hip flexors (hips), quadriceps (upper leg), hamstring (upper leg), and calf (lower leg) muscles.
1) Improves Digestion
Working on your core improves the functionality of your intestines and increases the speed of digestion. Doing effective ab exercise like leg raises can prevent digestive problems like bloating, gas, etc.
2) Tones Your Core And Leg Muscles
Leg raises performed with high repetitions can tone your core and legs by burning fat and improving muscle definition. As you increase the intensity of this exercise, your metabolism rate also increases which burns fat additionally.
3) Target’s Your Core Isometrically
While performing leg raises, your core muscles are engaged to stabilize the movement of your legs. This means that your abs are contracted isometrically (without changing their position). Isometric moves develop strength and endurance better than resistance training exercises and help in reducing the risk of injuries.
4) Can Be Performed Anywhere
This exercise doesn’t require any type of equipment, meaning it can be performed anywhere you’re comfortable like you’re home, backyard, or nearby park. Performing with no equipment puts no external tension on your muscles hence the minimum risk of injuries.
5) Strengthens Your Lower Back
During the leg raises your lower back is activated to control the movement of your legs, therefore, increasing strength and agility. At the peak of this movement, your legs are perpendicular to the ground which shifts the tension off your core to your legs resulting in the growth of the erector spinae, the major muscle in your lower back.
1) Start this exercise by lying on the ground with your back straight and feet together. Place your hands at your side. Brace your abdominal muscles and lift your legs a few inches off the ground without bending your knees.
2) Place your hands beneath your hips. Now you’re in the starting position of the movement. Move your legs towards your upper body without lifting your hips from the ground. Lifting your hips can cause injury to your lower back.
3) Stop the movement when your legs are perpendicular to the ground, without moving them further as it can cause damage to your spine.
4) Hold the position and lower your legs back to the starting position of this movement. This is one repetition of the leg raises. Perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions this exercise.
The flutter kicks is a body weight strength training exercise that train’s your lower ab muscles. This exercise is performed in swimming for improving the technique of swimming stroke.
During the flutter kicks your legs are lifted alternatively in the air, this helps in increasing agility, flexibility, and muscle balance in your body. This move is also performed in the military as an intensive training tool for developing hardcore abdominal and lower body muscles.
1) Burns Calories
Flutter kicks are great at burning calories depending upon the intensity. During this move, many major muscle groups are trained which boosts the metabolism of your body. You can easily burn 50-100 calories with 1 minute of continuous movement.
2) Strengthens Your Major Ab Muscles
Building strength in your abdominal muscles is important as it helps in performing daily activities more effectively. Strengthening major core muscles like rectus abdominal, internal, and external obliques is important for better body movement.
3) Focuses On Your Lower Body
The movement of this exercise is performed by activating your major lower-body muscles like hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstring, and calf. Engaging your lower body improves muscle definition and agility.
4) Prevent Spine Related Issues
Back pain is the most common back issue and can occur by either lifting heavy weights or performing an exercise with incorrect form. Doing flutter kicks helps in stretching your spine which can prevent back pain. Stretching your spine improves your posture and makes your lower back strong.
5) Develops Endurance And Flexibility
Doing flutter kick exercise regularly by adding it to your workout routine can increase your muscular endurance and flexibility of your muscles. This benefit helps athletes to improve their performance in sports activities.
1) Lie down on the ground with your body straight and hands at your side. Your feet should be hip-width apart and your head placed firmly on the ground.
2) Engage your core, lift your legs a few inches off the ground. Lift your left leg back towards your upper body till it’s 90 degrees to the ground. Don’t bend your knees throughout the movement.
3) Hold the movement and return your leg. While lowering your left leg back to the start, lift your right leg and perform the same procedure.
4) Performing with both the legs alternatively completes one repetition of this exercise. You can do 15-20 repetitions in 3-4 sets for maximum benefits.
The bicycle crunch is known as the best abdominal muscle training exercise according to the ACE (American Council On Exercise). The title was given to this exercise due to its ability to strengthen all the muscles present in your core.
The bicycle crunch is derived from the traditional crunch exercise. In this movement, you move your upper and lower body together to contract your ab muscles.
1) Target’s Many Major Muscles
Bicycle crunches involve your upper and lower body muscles during the movement. This helps in building strength and muscle mass in your core, legs, back, chest and shoulders.
2) Develops agility
The rapid movement of your limbs while performing this exercise helps in improving the flexibility and agility of your muscles. Agility is an important component of fitness which is mostly equipped by athletes for sports.
3) Helps In Building Six Pack Abs
The biggest advantage of this exercise is it targets all the abdominal muscles including the transverse abdominal muscles which are present deep in your core. Working on all the core muscles will get you closer to your goal of achieving six-pack abs.
4) It Activates Your Back Muscles
In bicycle crunches your spine helps to stabilize the movement which makes your back stronger and prevents back pain problems. Strong back muscles can help you in lifting heavy weights more easily.
5) Promotes Weight Loss
Training your muscles with a high range of motion exercise burns a large number of calories and promotes weight loss. The bicycle crunch contains the fast movement of your body, this boosts the metabolism rate and burn calories even when your body is at rest.
1) Start this exercise by lying on a flat surface with your back straight and feet hip-width apart. Move your hands towards your head and place your d fingers at the side of your forehead.
2) Lift your head a few inches in the air and at the same time lift your left leg off the ground with your knees folded. Turn your upper body towards the lifted leg. Bring the leg closer to your right elbow.
3) Hold the position when your left knee is closer to your right elbow. Return to the starting position by lowering your left leg. Lift your right leg to perform the same procedure.
4) This is one repetition of the bicycle crunches. Perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions. You can adjust the repetitions according to your fitness level.
The mountain climber is a bodyweight strength training exercise that targets’ overall muscles of your body. The primary focus of this exercise is on your internal and external oblique muscles. Doing mountain climber with the correct form can boost the stamina and agility of your muscles.
This move resembles its form from plank as your body is balanced on your limbs. Performing mountain climbers with high repetitions can work as cardiovascular training for your body.
1) Can Be Performed By Anyone
Due to its simple form, the mountain climbers can be performed by any person regardless of their experience in fitness. Mountain climber exercise is more like a cardiovascular move so children and teenagers can also perform it.
2) Easily Added To Any Workout
The mountain climber is a versatile exercise as you can use it in warm-ups or during the rest period of your sets. You can also add this exercise to a circuit training program or cardio training workout.
3) Does Not Require Any Modifications
The effectiveness of this exercise is measured through the number of repetitions you perform. You don’t require any modification or equipment to increase the intensity of this move.
4) Helps In Losing Belly Fat
Due to its rapid movement, the mountain climber increases your heart rate which burns fat from your body. Doing this move with great pace and high repetitions can increase your metabolism which will burn additional calories.
1) Start this exercise by getting into a plank position with your back straight. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.
2) Look in front and activate your core. Move your left knee towards your chest, contracting your abdominal muscles.
3) Hold and return your knee to the starting position. Perform the same steps with your other leg. This is one repetition of mountain climbers.
4) Perform 4 sets of 20 repetitions for maximum muscle growth.
The plank is one of the most famous isometric abdominal muscle training move that requires no equipment and comes with many great benefits.
The effectiveness of this exercise is determined by the amount of time you hold the position. Adding plank exercise to your workout routine will keep your body healthy and fat-free.
1) Trains multiple muscle groups
This exercise focuses on your overall body muscles. Most of the muscles which are involved during this exercise help in maintaining the form. The muscles which are trained during this move are rectus abdominal, transverse abdominal, internal, external obliques, rotator cuff, trapezius, rhomboids, deltoids, biceps, triceps, pectoral major, and quadriceps.
2) Boost Metabolism
This move continuously contracts your abdominal muscles which helps in better muscle growth and increases metabolism rate. Plank is a compound exercise meaning it targets many muscles at once which also increases metabolism.
3) Improves Posture
During this exercise, your spine is stretched as long as you hold the position. This helps in straightening your spine and improves your posture while sitting or standing.
4) Improves Mood And Mental Health
Performing isometric exercises like plank release some chemicals in your body known as endorphins. These chemicals help in relieving stress and elevate your mood. Planks can also prevent diseases like anxiety and depression.
1) Start this exercise by getting into a push-up position. Your feet should be hip-width apart and body balancing on your forearms. Place your forearm shoulder-width apart.
2) Look ahead and engage your abdominal muscles. Hold the position as long as possible with continuous breathing. Your back should be straight throughout the exercise to prevent any injury.
3) Breathing is very important for this exercise as it helps in contracting the muscles in your core. This is one repetition of the plank exercise.
4) Perform 4 sets of this exercise for at least 1 minute.