In search of killer abs this school year, but at a loss of where to begin? Well, that is often the hardest part of working out. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten to the gym and totally blanked on what exercises to complete, especially after looking around at those who seem to have a memorized routine. I spend more time on Google, searching what are good workouts for certain muscles, and the largest area of confusion for the longest time for me was what exercises are good at strengthening the core. After looking for many years, I believe the following workouts to get you the core strength you’re searching for, and hopefully, they leave you shredded in the process!
Now the title may be a little funny, but it is no joke how much the “Dead Bug” works those core muscles. By digging deep into your inner core muscles (transverse abdominals, multifidus, diaphragm, and pelvic floor), the Dead Bug burns that belly fat right off, while building upon intended areas of interest.
How To Do: Start by lying on the floor on a yoga mat, with your arms stretched out above your head. Bring your knees to your chest as far as you can and stick your arms out straight in front of you (this is your resting position). Then straighten one leg and return the opposite arm to above your head. To keep doing the exercise do so with the other leg and arm. Keep doing this for about 10-12 reps on each side.
This is one of my favorites. While the thought of doing these I use to dread, as it meant certain lower back pain and sore stomach muscles the day to follow, I now find them to be a source of power. I barely even feel the pain the next day, from adapting the correct technique. These work your mid ab region and also not only help with core stability but strengthen leg and back muscles as well!
How To Do: Start by lying on a yoga mat. Then lift both legs up in the air as far as you can while still keeping your back flat on the ground. Start to kick your legs in a flutter like motion. Do this for about 30 seconds and then stop and repeat after a rest period for about 2 more reps. Make sure you are resting and giving your muscles a chance to recover or else you could find yourself pulling unwanted muscles in your back and glutes.
To plank or not the plank…that is the question! Planking is one of those tough exercises that if done wrong, can make your heads feel like they’re going to erupt or our shoulders feel as though they’re going to collapse. But if done properly, planking can have some really great benefits in workings those inner core muscles, providing you with benefits like stronger ab muscles, great balance, and even help reduce back pain.
How To Do: Start with your elbows at a 90-degree angle on a yoga mat and extend your legs as if you were going to do a pushup. Hold this position for about a minute, keeping your back as flat as possible. Rest and repeat for two more reps.
Since regular crunches can get old, why not make them a little more exciting. The scissor crunch provides the benefits of a crunch, while also working your legs in the process. You’re going to love how stretched out both your core and back feel after you’re done!
How To Do: Start by lying flat on a yoga mat, with your hands resting behind your head as if you’re about to do a crunch. Kick up one leg and twist your body in the same direction, with the opposite arm. Do the same for the other leg. Repeat for about 10-12 reps on each side.
Again if you’re bored on plain old crunches or sit-ups, you should consider V-Sits. They work not only your core muscles but also your arms and legs as well. Plus they’re a lot more engaging. You could even add a medicine ball into the mix if you become really good at them!
How To Do: Start by sitting on a yoga mat with your knees bent and feet raised slightly off the ground, as well as your arms extended in front of you. Keeping your arms extended, straighten your legs and lower your back to the floor, with your shoulders remaining above the ground. Return to the original starting position and then repeat. Do this for about 10-12 reps.
Another funny named exercise, the “Bird Dog” is not exactly how it sounds, as you probably picture some sort of fluttering downward dog. No that is not the case at all…but the exercise does help work your rectus abdominus, as well as arm and back muscles too, which is an added bonus. Fair warning, this exercise does take a bit of balance and may not be recommended for those recovering with knee injuries.
How To Do: Start on a yoga mat with your hands and knees on the ground, keeping your hands aligned with your shoulders. Extend a leg behind you, and extend the arm forward opposite to the leg, while keeping the other knee and arm on the mat for support. Repeat with the other leg and arm. Continue like this for about 10-12 reps on each side.
As with any exercise you do, make sure you are being careful and do not go beyond your limits. This could lead to injury and make you less likely to stay on your regular workout cycle. You can even read up ahead of time, instead of Googling mid-exercise. So just be cautious and if you start to feel any pain that seems out of the ordinary, stop.