Everyone is always super excited about those crunches and sit-ups, but for the wrong reasons. People think that if they do enough ab exercises then a 6 pack is going to show up and they will be happy But, that is not the case. You should be super excited about doing ab routines because they:
· Improve balance
· Improve stability
· Strengthen abdominal muscles
· Strengthen low back muscles to prevent pain
· Improve posture
· Enhance performance
There is a reason it is called your “core”. It helps hold you up, but it also helps you stay stable during upper or lower body exercises. Without a strong core, your posture/alignment will start to shift. Whether that is a pelvic tilt, lordosis or lower/upper cross syndrome, it all stems from a strong core.
This brings me to my next point, a strong core needs a well-rounded program of different movements. Just doing crunches won’t help with all your core is needed for (and it can actually be very detrimental to your back as Americans are already in too much flexion during the day due to our jobs). You need things like non-rotational, stability, and rotational to have a strong core in all directions.
This workout I am sharing with you are all movements that can be done ANYWHERE with zero equipment. These movements are going to work all aspects of the core/abdominals without putting too much pressure on the spine!
∗ 20 Pelvic Tilts
∗ :30 Plank
∗ 10 Deadbug
∗ :30 Side Plank
∗ 10 Birddog
∗ :30 Side Plank
∗ 10 Double Leg Marches
∗ :30 Reverse Plank
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Full Video Available on YouTube
Music by Hooksounds
This is a great starting exercise that is going to teach you exactly how to engage your core properly.
Form: Start with your knees bent and back flat on the floor. You want to think about tilting your hips and pressing your low back to the floor. This is what “pull you bellybutton to your spine” actually means. Hold for a few seconds before releasing your rep. This is going to fire your abdominal muscles and provide relief of your lower back muscles.
Modification: There is no modification to make this movement easier. To make it harder you can hold the position longer. This is a very small movement and is not meant to exhaust you.
The most basic movement for core engagement. There are a lot of variations for this movement!
Form: Elbows and toes. Make sure your core and glutes are engaged, back is flat, and shoulders are stacked on top of your elbows. You want to be in a straight line from the top of your head to your toes, no butts in the air!
Modification: You can drop down to your knees and plank from there to make it easier. You can hold the plank longer to make it harder, or even pick up one leg at a time.
Another great movement for transverse abdominals. One that doesn’t look like it is going to be difficult, but it sneaks up on you!
Form: Lying flat on your back with your knees bent and arms towards the ceiling. Press your low back to the floor as you reach opposite arm and opposite leg towards the floor (without touching) and then come back to starting position. If you feel your low back lifting off the floor, do not drop your leg/arm down so far. You want to make sure you go slow and reset before extending your arm and leg.
Modification: To make things easier, you can limit your range of motion when extending your arm/leg. To make things harder you can hold a stability ball or medicine ball between your arms/legs to add more stability work!
A great exercise for your obliques that is often overlooked! This is another holding exercise that is going to work muscle endurance.
Form: On your elbow and side of your foot (you can either stack your feet or put them one in front of the other) you are planking on your side. Make sure your core and glutes are tight, you should be in a straight line from your head to your toes. Make sure your elbow is stacked under your shoulder as this is your strongest point. You can rest your other arm in the air, on your hip or behind your head.
Modification: To make it easier you can drop down to the side of your knee. This is going to shorten the level and decrease the difficulty. To make it harder you can increase the time or lift the top leg up in the air.
This movement is great for overall core stability and low back strength. It is important to strengthen your low back to keep things even when working abdominal muscles.
Form: Starting in a quadruped position (on all 4’s). Engage your core, flatten your back. Lift opposite arm and opposite leg and extend them straight, hold for a few seconds and then return to starting position. Make sure you don’t arch your back and you are lifting from your shoulder and your glute when extending your arm/leg.
Modification: There is not an easier modification for this movement. Just take your time and make sure you are concentrating on form. To make things harder you can increase your reps or hold a light weight in your hand.
This movement is great for lower and transverse abdominals. Another one not meant to exhaust you but you really work the form to properly engage your core.
Form: Start lying on your back with bent knees. Press your low back to the floor and slowly drop your heels to the floor and then pull them back up. You want to think about pressing your low back to the floor through the entire movement. If you begin to use your legs to left back up, reset and start again. This movement is all in your abdominal muscles.
Modification: To make it easier to you can start with your feet on the floor and march 1 leg up at a time. If that is too easy, you can start with your legs up and slowly drop one leg at a time to the floor. Again, it is all about pressing that low back to the floor and properly engaging the core muscles. To make it harder you can slow the movement down and keep the core engaged for a longer period of time.
This may seem like a weird exercise, but is fires muscles that a regular plank would not hit.
Form: This is essentially a backwards plank. You want to be on your hands and heels during this movement. Core tight and glutes tight, hips lifted so you are in a straight line from head to toe. Make sure your wrists are under your elbows so you have a strong base.
Modification: To make it easier you can shorten the time frame or just come up into the movement and back down, essentially doing reps instead of a hold. To make it harder you can lift one leg at a time to decrease the stability of your base!
Your warmup and cool down can look very similar from workout to workout. That is because the point is really just to warm the muscles and increase heart rate, and then lower the heart rate! Here is a very simple warmup and cool down you can do for this at home ab routine!
— Walk outs
— Prone Press up
— Childs Pose
Quick and effective at home ab routine is now in your workout arsenal! For more at-home workouts that are the FULL length video (press play and follow along) you can subscribe to my YouTube channel or check out my other blogs! I hope you enjoyed this workout and it gave you some insight on ab exercises that are safe for you spine!
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