At-home abs workouts are the most effective when the moves involved strengthen and sculpt all four major muscle groups in your midsection—transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques. The good news here? You can stop doing a million crunches and situps. (Hallelujah!) The better news? Switching up your abs exercises won’t just stop you from getting bored—or a repetitive-motion injury—it’ll actually help you carve your core faster.
You see, your abs are a complex muscle group, so it’s important to work ’em in different planes (front to back, side to side, diagonally) so that you can come at your core from every angle. But what does that look like, exactly? To help you out, I’ve put together a workout that hits all areas of your abs in just 10 moves. Crank out the circuit below two to three times a week for total-abs toning.
Time: 20 minutes
Good for: Abs
Instructions: For each move (demo-d below by certified trainer Kara Liotta), complete the indicated number of reps. Then continue immediately to the next exercise (no rest between moves) until you’ve completed all 10 exercises. Rest for one minute, then repeat all 10 moves a second time. (If you’re feeling up to it, go for a third!)
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
How to: Start lying on back with hands behind head. Lift shoulder blades off mat, raise legs so knees are bent at 90 degrees, and gaze at thighs, keeping neck relaxed. Engage abs and rotate right elbow toward left knee while extending right leg to straight, lowering it as close to the floor as possible without resting it on mat. Return to start and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps. Continue to the next move.
Side Hip Bridge
How to: Start by lying on right side with left foot on top of right and right forearm on mat, elbow under shoulder. Your palm should be flat with your fingers spread, left hand on hip. Engage obliques and lift hips up until body forms a straight line from head to heels. Pause for one breath, then lower back down to start. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps on right side, then flip to left side and complete 10 reps on that side. Continue to the next move.
How to: Start lying on back with hands by sides and legs lifted off the ground at a 45-degree angle, toes pointed. Push down into arms and pull knees into chest until hips lift off mat, keeping core engaged. Slowly return to start. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps. Continue to the next move.
How to: Start standing with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Arms should be raised overhead, elbows bent so that hands can be clasped behind body and biceps are framing face. Engage arm muscles and, with control, swing arms forward and down, stopping when they reach chest level. Return slowly to start. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps. Continue to the next move.
How to: Start in a plank position. Keeping hips level, touch left shoulder with right hand, then place palm back on the floor. Repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps. Continue to the next move.
Extended Arm Plank Bird Dog
How to: Start in a plank position. Engage core and lift left arm and right leg off the mat at the same time, keeping hips as level as possible. Slowly return to start. Repeat on the opposite side. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps. Continue to the next move.
Extended Arm Plank To T-Raise
How to: Start in a plank position with feet wider than hips. Keep toes in place but lower heels down to the right until they reach the mat while rotating torso to face left side of mat and lifting left arm into the air in line with shoulder. Return to start and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps. Continue to the next move.
Plank To Toe Touch
How to: Start in plank position. Engage lower abs and lift hips to pull body into an upside down “V” shape while reaching right hand back to touch left ankle. (Heels stay high the whole time.) Slowly return to start. Repeat on the opposite side. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps. Continue to the next move.
How to: Start seated, upper body leaned back until abs are engaged. Legs should be lifted and bent at 90 degrees, and arms should be bent, hands clasped, with elbows wide. Rotate torso to right side so that right elbow is hovering just off mat. Keep lower body still while rotating upper body to left side until left elbow is just off mat. Return to start. Gaze follows hands as you move. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps. Continue to the next move.
How to: Start lying on back with arms and legs extended and on the floor. Raise arms and legs, leaving just bra line and lower back on mat so body looks like a banana. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Rest for one minute then repeat entire circuit from the top until you’ve done two or three rounds.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below