The reverse plank is another great exercise that works the core. It targets the muscles at the back of the core and the obliques.
Sit on your mat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Straighten your arms and have your fingers pointing forward towards your toes. Push up using your arms with your hips lifting towards the sky. If you have weak wrists come down on your elbows. Hold your core tucked in and remember to breath. Try to hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. To make it more challenging you can lift one leg up.
This exercise works your core, arms and lower body. It is a great body toner. Nothing sculpts your legs and glutes like lunges and squats. They are my favourite exercises. You can use dumbbells, a weighted bar or a weighted plate. I personally prefer to use the weighted plate as I find it easier to hold. However not having access to a gym I use my dumbbells. For this exercise I used one dumbbell only. You can use two. Use the weight that suits you. Some people like to lift heavy and others don’t. Remember to always keep abs in tight when using weights to protect your lower back and your knee should never go over your toe.
Begin by standing feet together, abs tucked in tight with your dumbbells, weighted bar or plate above your head. Your arms should be straight. If holding dumbbells palms should be facing forward. Step your right foot back into a lunge, when your back knee almost touches the floor return to standing and repeat on the other leg. Continue alternating legs.
It is important not to lean forward or backward with your dumbbells/weighted bar/weighted plate. Make sure abs are in tight and chest should be lifted. Do not look down during the exercise. Always look in front and remember to keep the weight on your heels not your toes. Do 2-4 sets 20 reps. Do as much as you can and find a weight that suits you. Do not start with super heavy weights if you are not used to lifting heavy.
This exercise works your core, obliques and abs. It is a challenging exercise. Position yourself in a side plank with your feet stacked together and your elbow directly under your shoulder. Place your left hand on your hip and slowly lift your hips off the ground and slowly bring your right knee into your chest and hold. Hold the position keeping your hips off the ground. Hold for 30-45 seconds and change sides. As you get stronger you can hold the pose for 1 minute.
This exercise works your core and arms. Toning and sculpting your body for the summer.
Start by sitting on the mat with your feet on the floor, knees bent. Lift your knees and bring yourself into boat position like the picture above. Your arms should be at your side holding dumbbells with your palms facing up.
Curl your arms up to your shoulders, rotating your palms away from you, pressing the weights above your head. Keep your core tight and back straight through out the entire exercise. Reverse bringing your arms back down. This is one rep. Do as many as you can in 1 minute.
Ab workouts do not always have to be done lying down on a mat. Exercises where you are standing place less of a strain on the neck and are just as effective, improving strength and stability.
Start by holding a dumbbell in both hands above your head and left shoulder, pointing your right foot out to the side. Hold your abs in – always to protect your lower back, then in one movement draw your elbows down as you bend your knee into your chest. Return to start position and repeat 12-16 reps 2-3 sets.
The bicycle crunch is one of the most effective exercises to sculpt your abs. It works all the abdominal muscles.
Start by lying on your back with your hands behind your head and bring your legs up to a 90 degree angle. Pull your left knee into your chest and bring your right elbow to your knee. As you are pulling the left knee to the right elbow you should extend your right leg. Keep alternating in a controlled movement. Do the first 10 reps slow stopping after every two. So you go left knee to right elbow, right knee to left elbow, then you stop and you repeat. After 10 reps do the remaing without stopping but still in a slow controlled movement. To avoid hurting or straining your neck be careful not to pull your neck forward. Do 3-4 sets, 20 reps.
This 15 minute routine can be performed in the very comfort of your home. If you do this at least three times a week you will get strong sculpted abs. Make sure you warm up first by doing some cardio. This can be skipping, jogging etc. Complete 4 rounds of all the exercises resting for 30 seconds.
Side Plank with a twist
This is such a great move. Very effective for sculpting those abs and probably my favourite. Start in a plank position and place your right hand in the middle of the mat and push your hips up to the side as high as you can. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your heels. Extend your left arm above your shoulder and look up at the left palm. Hold for 8 counts then tuck your left arm under your body and do 10-16 reps on each side. if this is to difficult you can come down on your elbow.
Start in a boat pose and slowly extend your legs out in front of you and hold for 30 seconds or as long as you can. Return to start position with your knees bent towards your chest. Keeping your core in tight slowly extend backwards extending your legs at the same time. Do not allow your shoulders and feet to touch the mat. Return to the start position and repeat. Do 10-16 reps.
This exercise strenghtens your core and lower back so ideal to do when you are doing abs. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Begin by lifting your hips off the mat pushing upwards from the heels of your feet. Careful not to hyper extend your back. Once up really squeeze your glutes and hold for 5 seconds then release, drop back down and repeat. Do 20 reps.
Crunch With a Leg Raise
Start by lying on your back. Keep your left knee bent and straighten your right leg. Place your hands behind your head and crunch up lifting your right leg keeping it straight and strong. Crunch up and down and at the end keeping the leg straight pulse for 8 with your leg in between your arms. Do 10 -16 reps on each leg.
Hands and Knees Balance
Start by getting on your hands and knees on your mat. Make sure your hands are parallel underneath your shoulders and your abs are held in tight. Begin by lifting your right leg holding it straight at hip level, then lift your left arm holding it at shoulder level. Hold this position for 5-6 breaths making sure to hold your abs in tight. Return to start position and do the other side. Alternate from side to side. do 10 reps.