Knowing the best ab workouts can be tough. Summer is coming up fast and you know what that means, cute bikinis, fashionable crop tops, and adorable two piece sets just waiting to be worn! But with all the sweater weather, holiday activities, and parties we’ve been basking in, we may have been letting our fitness goals slide juuuust a tad. Not to worry, we’ve put together the best ab workouts to get your summer body back on track.
Plank Walk Outs
Plank walkouts, sometimes referred to as inch worms, is one of the best ab workouts out there. You’re targeting your entire core, plus your shoulders, pecs, biceps, and forearms. Start by standing with your feet hip distance apart, and then begin to hinge your hips forward. Once your hands make contact with the ground (you can bend your knees if needed) begin to walk them out until your shoulders are stacked over your wrists in a plank position. You can make this exercise a little harder by choosing to do a push up from your plank (totally optional) otherwise begin to walk your hands back towards your feet, keeping your core tight, return to standing position. Aim for 3 sets of 5-10 reps.
Boat pose or navasana, is a great yoga pose used to strengthen and tighten your core. But you don’t have to be a yogi to get all the benefits of this ab move. Start by sitting on your butt with your feet planted on the ground. Slowly start to lift your feet off of the ground, keeping your stomach tight, and your back straight. There are several modifications to take for this move. If you’re just starting out, you can keep your feet planted on the ground and just tighten your core, or place your hands behind your thighs for support. If you want to make it a little harder move your feet off the ground, making your shins parallel to the floor and hold here. Still need a little more? Try extending your legs out completely keeping your back straight. Form is the most important thing so don’t jump till the next level until your ready! Aim for 3 sets of 30 seconds each.
Hanging Knee Ups
This is one of the best ab workouts because your abs will need to work the whole time. Start by hanging off of a bar at the gym, or at home if you have one. Using your ab muscles, pull your knees to your chest. Release down slowly with control so your abs can work as you lower as well. Make sure that your keeping your core tight and using your muscles, not the momentum, to pull your knees up. If your body is swinging you’re not in control. You can also turn this one into an oblique exercise by pulling your knees to the side rather than straight up. As this becomes easier for you, try to keep your legs straight as you go up. Try to do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Leg raises are a pretty popular ab exercise, so you may have done these before. They are great for tightening up your core. Lay on your back (if you need a little modification you can place your hands underneath your butt) lift your legs straight up into the air. Squeezing your core start to lower your legs back down to the floor. Stop them about an inch before they actually touch the ground. Using the same core activation bring your legs back up till your feet are facing the ceiling. Remember your form with these. Keeping your legs straight is the most important thing, even if you can’t lift your legs all the way up. Eventually you’ll get there! Do 3 sets of 15-10 reps.
V-Ups require control of not only your abs, but your legs as well. Start by laying down on the floor with your arms over your head. Using your abs, start to lift your arms, torso and legs towards each other, forming a V when you reach the top. Lower back down with control. That’s one rep. Aim to try 3 sets of 10-15 of these. This is one of the best ab exercises to torch your midsection!
The side plank is a doozy and not just because you have to do it on each side before you finish your set. You’re balancing your body on your forearm (or wrist) using not only your abs, but your shoulders, and arms, effectively toning the whole body at once. Start by laying on one side of the body and pulling yourself up onto your forearm with your feet stacked on top of each other. Hold tight and make sure that you don’t allow yourself to sink into your shoulders. You should feel solid throughout your set. Once you have completed on side, roll over and complete the other one. Aim for 3 sets of 30 seconds each side.
Bird dog is another one of the best ab workouts used in the yoga community. It fires up your abs quick, which still teaching you to maintain control and focus. Take this exercise off the mat, and get the benefits of it any time you chose! Start with your hands and knees on the ground in a table top position. Your shoulders should be stacked over your wrists and your knees will be in line with your hips. Taking your left arm and stretch it out in front of you, doing the same with your right leg. Extend them out and pull into your body bending your elbow and knee to touch. Do 3 sets of 10-15 then repeat on the other side.
Plank taps are not only one of the best ab workouts around, they are also considered a great cardio move because they get your heart rate up. Start in a strong plank position and bring your right hand to touch your left shoulder, switch to the other side. Continue alternating and remember to keep your core tight, you shouldn’t let your butt sag. Try to do 3 sets of 20 reps.
Roll ups are one of the best exercise if you have a little lower belly flab that you’re looking to loose. Start by lying flat on your back with your leg straight out in front of you so your body is in a straight line. Using your abs, slowly pull your torso off of the ground until your body is upright. Think of it as kind of like a sit up, only your legs are on the floor. Lower back down to the ground with control then repeat the motion. Try 3 sets of 15-20.
Plank jacks are another great way to knock out your ab workout and cardio all in one. This exercise will get your heart rate up really quickly. Starting in a plank position (you can choose a forearm plank if you want) start to jump your feet out past hip distance then back in until your feet touch. As always, remember to keep your core tight! Even though you are jumping your feet out and back in, you should not let your butt drop. Go for 3 sets of 15-20 reps. This is one of the best ab workouts!