Although I don’t have a sixpack and this isn’t my goal either, I always like to train my abs to keep them somewhat toned. In most sports that I practice I train my abs without sometimes even knowing it, like boxing or running. But when I’m in the gym I always have my ab workouts ready.
Another thing that might surprise you is that I don’t workout with a personal trainer on a weekly basis. I like to workout by myself or with friends and every now and then I do a gruelling session with a PT to keep me focused on my body goals. These sessions also give me inspiration for new workouts which is great.
But since I know the abdominal area is one of the most important areas for both men and women, I thought it was nice to share with you my favourite ab workouts for this summer. These exercises are hard and effective, but also quite fun to do. Most of them I found by just googling but I also like to use workout apps like Instant Abs Trainer and Runtastic Sit Ups. Oh, and the app Swing Timer is very useful to count your reps and sets, and also tracks your rest ;)
Pike and Extend (source: fitnessmagazine.com)
Actually a little hard for me because I’m a bit stiff (my hamstrings are not that flexible unfortunately) but I see progress lol. This exercise is really good for your core and it will probably start burning after 15 reps or so. Trust me.
1. Lie faceup on mat with legs extended over hips, arms overhead. Crunch up, reaching hands toward feet.
2. Keeping legs straight, bring arms back overhead as you lower upper back and left leg toward floor.
3. Crunch up, lifting left leg over hips and reaching hands to toes. Switch legs; repeat. Do 20 reps, alternating sides.
Roll Up (source: abworkout4women)
Something similar to the Pike and Extend exercise but in this workout you actually roll up your body all the way through. Perfect for your deep abdominal muscles! Make sure you don’t go up and down too fast because there should be tension on your stomach. You can easily do this exercise at home, here’s how:
a) Lie flat and keep your legs squeezed together. Inhale and bring your arms forward.
b) Lift your shoulder gradually and try to touch your feet. Touch your feet with arms and then stay at this position for a few seconds.
c) Now, exhale and then gradually go to the initial position (minimum 15 to 20 reps)
Ab Ball Passes
Do you want to let your abs burn? Try the Ab Ball Passes exercise! For me it’s one of the most gruelling but effective ab workouts out there. In the beginning, after a couple of reps my body started shaking like crazy haha! But believe me, after a few weeks you will definitely see the difference.
1. Lie on your back with a Swiss ball between your calves. Engage your abdominals and raise the ball until it is above your hips.
2. Take hold of the ball in your hands, extend your arms back, making a ‘V’ shape with your hands and feet. Bring your hands and feet back together and pass the ball between your calves.
3. Lower your legs down slightly and extend your arms back forming the ‘V’ shape again. Continue passing the ball between your hands and feet, keep the belly in tight, building up to 12 reps.
Dumbell Pushup Row (source: womenshealthmagazine.com)
This exercise is not only good for your abdominal area but also for your lower back, shoulders and triceps. Ideal if you want to focus on more muscle groups than just your abs. Personally, I’m not a really big fan of pushups but this exercise has a little twist to it which makes me last longer.
a) Place a pair of dumbbells about shoulder-width apart on the floor. Grab the handles and position yourself in a pushup position.
b) Lower your body to the floor and then press back up slowly.
c) Once you’re back in the starting position, pull the dumbbell in your right hand up toward the side of your chest. Pause, then return the starting position and repeat with your left hand. That’s 1 rep. Try to prevent your torso from rotating each time you row the weight.
Seated Medicine Ball Knee Tucks (source: oxygenmag.com)
Another one of my favourite ab workouts! I like this one because it targets your lower abdomen which is actually the hardest part of your sixpack to show. And with this exercise you can decide yourself how hard you want it to be (on a scale from ‘very hard’ to ‘please don’t make me laugh because my abs hurt’).
a) Sit on the edge of a weight bench with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tuck a small medicine ball (4.4 pounds to start) between your knees and squeeze your legs together to keep it in place.
b) Then lean back so that your torso is at about a 45-degree angle. Slowly draw your knees up as close to your chest as possible, then extend your legs out in front of you. Reps per set: 12-15.
Standing Torso Rotation (source: oxygenmag.com)
Let’s not forget the obliques abdomen! For some reason I find exercises for obliques less hard then lower or upper abdomen, don’t you? But this is an important part too because it can really tone your body. So make sure to always add these kind of ab workouts to your routine!
1) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees soft. Hold the ends of a light dumbbell (five to eight pounds to start) in your hands, extending your arms straight out in front of you at about shoulder height.
2) Without lifting your feet off the floor, slowly twist to your left as far as possible, keeping your arms straight as you go. Reverse the motion by rotating all the way to your right to complete one rep. Continue to alternate from left to right for the remainder of your set. Reps per set: 12-15 each side.
Stability Ball Weighted Crunch (source: oxygenmag)
My second ab exercise with a big ball and this one is perfect for your upper abdomen. The ones that will first start showing when you’re doing an ultimate ab challenge or what not. Also with this challenge it’s important to do the reps slowly and effectively for the best results!
a) Sit on top of a stability ball with knees bent and feet flat on floor, holding a single weight plate with both hands. Slowly lean back and roll yourself down until just your shoulders, back and hips touch the surface of the ball.
b) Keeping your arms extended above you, slowly curl yourself up until your upper back is off the ball. Slowly lower yourself back down and repeat. Reps Per Set: 12-15.
So ladies, these are my 7 favourite ab workouts for this summer and I know it will help me stay fit and feel comfortable about my body. Like I said, I do not desire a rock hard sixpack. Therefore you need a lot more dedication than I have at the moment lol! But I do think it’s nice when your body is fit and toned.
Tell me, what are your favourite ab workouts? Are they effective, and do you change your routine a lot or are you doing the same exercises every time? Let me know in the comment section below!