Looking for a killer ab workout you can do anywhere? This one’s sure to deliver.
Before you begin, however, there are some important things to know about building up your core properly and allowing all your hard work to shine through.
When to Train Your Abdominal Muscles
Contrary to popular belief, you won’t see progress by training the same muscle group(s) every single day.
When you exercise, you cause microscopic tears in your muscle(s). It’s not until you are resting that your muscles can repair and grow themselves.
So if you train your abdominal muscles every single day, you aren’t allowing them sufficient time to repair themselves, which can lead to injury.
It’s also a waste of time.
Depending on how strong you want them to be, you can train your abs 1-4x a week, with sufficient rest days in between.
Most importantly, however, you should make sure you’re targeting all of your abdominal muscles for maximum core strength.
There are 4 different abdominal muscles:
- Rectus abdominis: Commonly referred to as a “six-pack,” the rectus abdominis muscles run vertically along the abdomen and consists of 8 different muscle bellies. This muscle is important for proper posture and flexing your lumbar spine.
- Transverse abdominis: Located behind the rectus abdominis and obliques, the transverse abdominis is the deepest of the 4 abdominal muscles. It runs horizontally across the abdomen and is used almost any time you move. Its main purpose is to help stabilize the pelvis and lower back when moving.
- External obliques: The largest of the abdominal muscles, the external obliques are situated on either side of the rectus abdominis. This muscle allows you to twist your torso, while also improving posture.
- Internal obliques: This muscle lies between the external obliques and transverse abdominis. These muscles help you bend and rotate.
As you can see, each of these abdominal muscles play an important role in core stability and should be exercised regularly.
Proper Nutrition for Popping Abs
Nutrition is such an important part of your everyday life and it directly impacts the results you see from working out.
Before your abdominal muscles can show themselves off for the whole world to see, your diet needs to be in check.
You can train abs 3 times a week and not see any changes if you aren’t eating the right foods.
In order for all your hard work to actually pay off, you have to eat properly.
This means consuming natural whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also means not overeating. Overeating leads to weight gain, which means you’ll have a layer of fat covering your abs, making them impossible to see.
Consuming the right foods and proper portions, along with proper training, will allow your hard work from this ab workout to pay off big time.
The Killer At Home Ab Workout
For this ab workout, you will perform each exercise for the desired reps and move straight on to the next one with no rest in between.
Once you finish the circuit, take a 45 second rest, then repeat it 2 more times. For more difficulty, you can increase reps, reduce rest time to 30 seconds, or complete more rounds. The opposite goes for a less challenging ab workout.
It’s important to perform the same number of reps each time through. So if it seems a bit challenging, opt for the lower end (8 reps) for each exercise so you can perform the same amount for all 3 rounds.
Now let’s get to it!
Plank Hold on Elbows
The plank is a staple to any ab workout, and for good reason.
The plank works all of your abdominal muscles and then some, including:
- Rectus abdominis
- Transverse abdominis
- Internal obliques
- External obliques
To perform a plank:
- From push-up position, bend your elbows 90 degrees so your forearms are resting on the floor. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders, with your hands in front of your face.
- With your neck and head inline with your spine, align your hips with your shoulders. You don’t want your hips sinking or piking up, as you won’t get proper engagement this way.
- Engaging your core, hold for 45 seconds.
The Russian twist is an exercise that rotates the trunk of the body. Since you are rotating your torso from side to side, your oblique abdominal muscles are being exercised.
The obliques are an important factor of core stabilization, so it’s important to incorporate abdominal exercises that work them.
To perform a Russian twist:
- Begin by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Next, lean back until your upper body is at a 45-degree angle with the floor.
- Bring your arms out in front of you, either with your hands clasped together or holding a weight, and slowly lift your legs off the ground.
- Now rotate your upper body from side to side, bringing your hands down next to each side, while keeping your back straight the entire time. You don’t want to be hunched over.
- Perform for 30 reps, 15 on each side.
Leg raises are probably one of my favorite ab exercises.
They work the interior hip flexors, rectus abdominis, and oblique muscles. Needless to say, they’re a great addition to any ab workout.
To perform leg raises:
- Start by laying supine on the floor with your legs flat and hands placed under your glutes, palms facing down.
- Keeping your legs as straight as possible, slowly raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor.
- Next, slowly lower your legs back down so they are just above the floor but not touching.
- Perform 8-12 reps.
While a standard crunch works the upper portion of your rectus abdominis, the reverse crunch works the lower portion. In addition, the obliques and transverse abdominis are also being targeted.
To perform a reverse crunch:
- Begin by laying supine on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and hands face down under your glutes.
- Inhaling, lift your legs and hips off the floor while moving your legs towards your chest.
- Slowly lower your legs and feet back down to the starting position.
- Perform 8-12 reps.
The bicycle crunch is quite the challenging ab exercise if I do say so myself.
Proper form is extremely critical, as you don’t want to strain your neck while performing this crunch.
To perform a bicycle crunch:
- Start by lying supine on the floor with your legs in tabletop position so your calves are parallel to the floor.
- Gently place your hands behind your head while opening up your elbows, making sure to keep your head relaxed.
- Extend one leg as far as possible while rotating your upper body so your elbow is touching the opposite knee.
- Now bring that leg back up while returning your torso to a neutral position. Extend the opposite leg while rotating your torso to touch your elbow to the opposite knee.
- Perform 12 reps, 6 on each side.
Now take a 45 second rest and repeat this circuit 2 more times.
And there you have it! This ab workout will leave your abdominal muscles screaming, but it will feel oh so good.