Do you want to look better on the beach this summer? Whether you’re trying to get the perfect beach body or simply want to improve your core strength for sports, ab training is a vital part of any effective workout.
Luckily, you don’t need expensive gym equipment or your own gym membership to work out your abdominals. These seven at home ab workouts will help you get the firm, fit stomach of your dreams without any special gym equipment.
Ready to get started? If you’d like to start working out right away, enroll in our 28-Day Amazing Abs course to get over two hours of advanced ab workouts you can do at home right now.
Understanding your abs
There’s more to your abs than just the famous ‘six pack’ you’re familiar with from fitness videos. Your abs are made up of three different sections: the upper abs, the lower abs, and the obliques – the muscles on the sides of your abdomen.
An effective ab workout shouldn’t focus on just one section of your abs. Instead, it should work out each section of your abs evenly for a well-rounded, balanced body that always looks and feels good.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, you should apply the same strategy to your ab training routine and perform the same exercises. Remember that most of your abs will be made in the kitchen with a great diet, not just from your workouts.
If you have belly fat to burn away, enroll in Healthy Eating: Beyond the Diet Hype to learn the fundamentals of preparing a diet that will help you burn away fat and get the perfect abdominal muscles.
How to train your abs
Try to train your abdominals every other day. If you feel pain more than two days after a workout, take another day off and let yourself recover. It’s better to stick to an injury-preventing routine than it is to overtrain and hurt yourself.
Do you need something to do on your off days? Try yoga to stretch and flex your ab muscles without putting them under any unnecessary strain. Our course, Yoga Poses Decoded, breaks down the techniques behind a successful yoga program.
The 10 best at home ab workouts
Building a home ab workout is simple. Take five of these ten exercises and perform them in a circuit, giving yourself a short and simple one-minute break between each exercise you perform.
Working out your abs doesn’t need to be too challenging. Give yourself about 20 to 30 minutes to complete the five exercises you choose, after you’ve warmed up your body with some basic stretching exercises.
The classic ab exercise, sit-ups are an essential part of any at home ab workout. Lie down and lift your knees until your thighs and lower legs are at a 45 degree angle to each other.
Once you’re in this position, put your hands behind your head (or, if you’re new to working out, crossed on your chest) and start lifting your upper body to your knees using your abdominal muscles.
Sit-ups primarily target your rectus abdominis – the long ab muscles that make up your ‘six pack’ at the front of your torso.
Crunches target the same muscles as sit ups, but put less of a strain on the joints of your back due to their smaller range of motion. Start by putting lying down in the same position you’d use to begin performing sit-ups.
Then, instead of lifting your entire upper body towards your knees, lift just the top of your upper body – your head, shoulders, and upper torso – so that your abs are curling up your shoulders and upper torso.
Like sit-ups, crunches target your rectus abdominis, and are great for developing the six pack look in combination with the right diet.
Unlike crunches and sit-ups, which target your upper abdominals, leg raises target the lower abs towards your pelvis. Begin with your body flat on the floor, lying on your back with your arms extended by your sides and your palms on the floor.
Now, lift your entire legs (keeping them straight with your toes pointed) towards the ceiling. You should be able to raise your legs to a 45 degree angle, compared to your upper body.
Leg raises target the lower abs and the upper abs, giving you a well-rounded look that’s essential for any great physique.
Learn more advanced ab training exercises in our course, No Equipment, No Excuses Home Workout.
Bicycle crunches are a fun exercise that you can add to spice up your at home ab workout routine. Start in the same position that you’d use to perform regular ab crunches – on the ground, with your legs in a 45 degree angle position.
Now, start turning your legs around like you’re cranking the biggest gear on your bicycle. The motion from turning your legs puts an incredible strain on your abs to give you a surprisingly effective and fun workout.
Since you can’t count number of bicycle crunches you’re doing, try to perform this exercise in intervals of 30-60 seconds.
Leg lifts also work the lower abdominals. Start in the same position that you’d use to perform sit-ups or crunches, albeit with your legs flat on the ground rather than in a 45 degree bent position.
Now, lift one leg up to your torso and bend your knee so that it comes up as far as it possibly can. At the same time, lift and bend your torso to bring the shoulder on the opposite side of your body close to your knee.
Alternate between legs and shoulders while you perform this exercise and to build up the oblique muscles on the sides of your torso.
You don’t have to move your body to train your abdominals. In fact, some of the best ab training exercises are all about staying still. Front planks test the static power of your abdominals – their ability to hold your body weight as you stay in one position.
Lie flat on the ground with your arms by your sides. Then, while keeping your body completely straight, hold yourself up using your arms. Try and keep your body in a straight line for 30 to 60 seconds at a time for a killer rectus abdominis workout.
Planks are difficult to perform, especially for first-timers who aren’t used to doing ab workouts. Start with short planks and increase the amount of time you stay in a static hold as your body begins to adjust and your abs get stronger.
Side planks are a variant of the front plank. Instead of training the rectus abdominis, they train the oblique muscles on the side of your body. Perform them just like you’d perform a front plank, except do it sideways using one forearm to support you.
Since you’re putting your entire body weight on one oblique muscle, you’ll find it far harder to perform a side plank than you would a normal front plank. Start with very short intervals – 15 to 30 seconds each – and add more time as you get stronger.
Although side planks are difficult to perform, they’re arguably the most effective at home ab workout for developing strong, sculpted oblique muscles. Try to add them to each of your ab workouts for the ultimate static abdominal exercise.
Ready to get started?
Working out your abs doesn’t have to be difficult. With these seven home abdominal exercises, you’ll be able to sculpt the six pack of your dreams without spending time or money on a gym membership.
Remember that six packs aren’t just built in the training room; they’re also built in the kitchen. Enroll in our course, The Science of Exercise, to learn more about how your diet will influence the results you get from your home abdominal training.