Featured Photo Credit: Healthy Living, Heavy Lifting
With Spring and Summer coming at us faster than ever (thankfully), there is no longer room for excuses! It’s time to work off that winter fluff and get that bikini body ready for those summer vacations and beach getaways. The following exercises are broken down into three categories:
Depending on your current fitness level, you can decide which exercises work best for you!
BEGINNER AB EXERCISES
These ab exercises are great for people just starting their fitness journey, or people who are looking to work different areas of their core.
Lying Leg Raises
Lie on your back on the floor with your feet stretched out. Place your hands under your hips in a triangle shape or use an ab mat and put your hands beside you for a more comfortable position. Keep your feet together and toes pointed up and raise your legs towards the ceiling. Pause when your legs almost reach a 90 degree angle and slowly descend your legs at 6 inches above the floor.
Bent Knee Hip Raise
Lie on your back with your arms stretched out by your side and your knees bent. Keeping your arms and and back on the floor, raise your hips off the floor. Your knees should remain bent. Lift your hips until your knees are right above your chest. Keep your core contracted and slowly return to the starting position. Use an ab mat to help follow the motion of the exercise.
Place hands under your hips in a triangle shape or use an ab mat for a more comfortable position. Raise your legs to a 90 degree angle while keeping your upper back against the floor. Raise hips off the ground, while keeping your legs perpendicular to your torso. Pause shortly when you reach the top and slowly control your body to bring it back to the starting position.
Lay on your back with your arms behind your head and legs fully extended. You can either lie directly on your back or use an ab mat for enhanced results. Slowly bring your right leg towards the chest by bending your knee as it comes towards your chest area. Bring the opposite arm towards the coming knee and contract your core as your upper body slightly lifts off the floor. Once the knee and opposite arm touch, kick out your right leg and bring forward the left leg to repeat the process with the opposite arm. Keep extended leg off the ground at all times to really engage the core.
INTERMEDIATE AB EXERCISES
These are great ab exercises for people who have completed the exercises above and can do them easily.
Start in a modified push up position with your elbows bent on the floor. Make sure your elbows are right under your shoulders and keep your body straight to minimize injuries. Contract your core tightly and keep your eyes on your hands, not in front or behind you. Keep the position for at least 30 seconds without bending your knees or bumping your butt up.
Start in a push up position with your back straight and your hands right under your shoulders. While keeping your hips low, bring the right knee towards your chest without touching your feet to the floor in the process. When your right knee reaches your chest, kick it back and bring the left leg up right away. Repeat the process, as if you were climbing without touching the floor with your feet in the process. Make sure your core is engaged and your weight is evenly divided between your upper body and core.
Lie down on your back with your hands in a triangle formation under your hips or use an ab mat for a more comfortable position. Stretch out your legs and raise them about 5 inches off the floor. Cross the led left over the right leg while engaging your core and repeat with the opposite leg. When uncrossing the legs, lift one leg up while the other is slightly lowered.
Lie flat on your back with your hands stretched over your head and your leg stretched out. You can also lie on an ab mat for a more comfortable position. Engage your core and lift your back off the floor at the same time as you lift your legs off the ground. Keeping your arms straight in front of you, try to touch your toes as your upper and lower body lift towards each other. When at the top, pause for a short period and then slowly bring yourself back to the starting position.
ADVANCED AB EXERCISES
These are great for those who already completed the exercises above and can do them easily.
BOSU Bicycle Crunch
Position yourself on top of a bosu ball or an ab mat to start. Raise both feet off the ground while keeping your balance on the bosu ball or the Ab Mat. Place your hands behind your head and keep your legs straight in front of you. Your core should be tightly engaged. Bend one knee to bring it towards your chest and twist the opposite arm to meet the knee. When your elbow and knee touch, kick your leg back to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg.
Lie flat on your back with your hands by your side or use an ab mat with your hands by your side. Start off with your legs in a 90 degree angle. Lift your legs towards the ceiling until your glutes are no longer on the ground. Bring your thighs to your tummy and your knees towards your head. Engage your core to hold the lifted position for a few second. Slowly bring yourself back to the starting position.
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