All of us want to look great at the beach, and that is accomplished with a slim waistline and a flat stomach. However, only a few of us that don’t prance around in our bathing suits actually do anything about it. We have tons of excuses for why we can’t go to the gym; however, there are simple ab workout routines that we can do at home. There’s no reason any of us can’t do these simple exercises while listening to music or watching television. Especially since strong abs don’t just add to our self-confidence, but have other health benefits, such as increasing our flexibility, supporting our posture, preventing back pain, and helping us to breathe better. Here are some easy abs workout ideas to do at home:
The plank is one of the easiest ab workouts to do at home since it doesn’t require any equipment (although you may want to use a yoga mat or a towel to provide cushion for your elbows). This exercise works out your entire core, not just your abdominal muscles, including your shoulders and back. There are variations of the plank that you can do when starting out, and then making the exercise harder to build endurance.
Start by getting into a push-up position on the floor, with your elbows in a straight line under your shoulders, and your body in a straight line from head to feet. Resting on your forearms, take deep breaths in and out (sucking your stomach in), staying in that position for as long as you can. If you can’t hold that position for 30 seconds or more to start, lower your legs to rest on your knees.
You can make the plank harder by raising from your forearms to your hands, and also trying various variations. For example, you can lift and hold one leg and then one arm up at a time, or try a spiderman plank crunch, which, according to Men’s Fitness, requires you to do reps of raising your right knee to your left elbow, and vice versa.
The crunches are traditional ab workouts that can be done anywhere in as little as a few minutes. Just like with planks, there are a multitude of variations to help you build up your strength and stamina. This is a great step-by-step guide for beginners:
1. Lie with your back on the ground, knees up and feet flat on the ground.
2. Hands should be kept at each side of the head with elbows in, without locking the fingers.
3. Keep your lower back glued to the ground, while raising your shoulders up to four inches.
4. Concentrate on pulling in your abs and slowly breathing out when raising up your shoulders.
5. Slowly come back up while inhaling.
There are many ways to spice up the traditional crunch and get a great abs workout. RealSimple recommends this super crunch exercise routine: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, elbows out and legs up in the air with knees bent. Suck in your stomach while lifting your head and upper back off the floor and then back down. Do this eight times, holding for eight counts and then pulsing eight times on the last count.
I found it hard to believe when my pilates instructor, Jillian Dijak, told me that to tone your abs you need to do cardio. However, I then read that over and over in articles from other physical trainers. Therefore, it is true that to turn your belly fat into abs, you must do cardio to get rid of the fat. This can easily be done with different exercises, such as running, jumping jacks, jumping, swimming and even bike riding. Shape goes a step further to explain which cardio exercises do the best job at burning belly fat, such as burpees, high knees, crossovers, etc (get detailed instructions here). I also found another great guide that features six ab workouts here.
If you simply can’t motivate yourself enough to do these ab workouts, consider purchasing a home DVD that you can follow along. Our top choices are: Jillian Michaels: Six Week Six-Pack; INSANITY Fast and Furious Abs and 10 Minutes Solutions: Blast Off Belly Fat.
For more tips on exercising and living a healthy lifestyle, visit www.SimpleNaturalSolutions.com.