Abdominal exercises that work all the muscles in your core can be a godsend if you are interested in getting that enviable six-pack midriff. Workouts for a powerful core are just as important to help you progress in a meaningful manner. A strong core is crucial for supporting different types of weight-lifting workouts, so your fitness journey begins with workouts for a powerful core, and as a result you get those well-defined abs as well.
But for those who don’t want to hit the gym, the great thing about core workouts is you really don’t need much equipment at all to try them. These 12 exercises – our trusty dozen – for ripped abs, that not only help you burn more, but give you a strong core, that can take on pretty much any physical activity. And at the end, you might just end up with those six-packs you have only seen in the movies.
Jack Knife Sit Ups
An essential abs workout, the Jack Knife sit ups is very common in any core exercise regime. A pure bodyweight exercise that doesn’t require any equipment, this one helps shape your abdomen and targets the external obliques, pectineus and intercostals muscles.
Lie on the floor with your arms stretched behind your head and your legs stretched out in front. Lift up your arms and legs simultaneously towards the ceiling until your fingers almost touch your toes. Hold the pose for a few seconds and slowly go back to the start. To begin with, do this exercise for 8-10 times at a stretch for one set. Do 2 to 3 sets.
A comprehensive stomach exercise, this works on both the upper and lower abs, making it a good choice for overall muscle development.
Lunge split jacks
Stand with feet in a staggered stance, left foot in front of right, two or three feet apart, then lower body into a split squat. Jump up and scissor-kick legs, landing with right leg forward. As soon as feet land, lower body into a split squat.
A total ab workout, it involves your Quads, front hip flexors, lower abs. Depending on your level of activity or experience, Air Bikes can be done fast or slow, and with a couple of different movements – piston-like straight jabs or circular movements to mimic cycling.
Lie back with your knees bent and hold a reasonably full backpack with both hands, extending your arms above you. Tense your core as you lift your torso up so your upper body forms a V shape with your thighs. Lower under control back to the start position. Tuck your toes under something to keep them planted on the floor and make it easier to keep the rep under control. Under normal circumstances we’d call this cheating, but because you’re taking on the extra weight, we’ll give you a free pass.
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Long Arm Crunch
Unlike the classic crunch, this exercise puts a strain on the upper portion of the rectus abdominis, rather than the lower abs. You can up the difficulty factor by holding a backpack or a medicine ball with your arms stretched behind. Do 5-8 reps before taking a short recovery break and continuing for 4 more sets.
The Janda Sit-Up is quickly gaining prominence when it comes to six-pack exercises. It works by contracting the hamstrings and disengaging the hip flexors. Lie down on the floor with your hands placed under your head, your knees bent and your feet placed flat on the floor. You can get assistance from a friend to ensure you don’t wriggle around. Have them pin your feet down while you do the sit-ups.
Exercise Ball Pull-In
You will require a stability ball for this exercise. But in our experience a big cushion will do just fine with some minor variations. The exercise ball pull in is easily one of the best abdominal exercises for men and women which helps in developing perfectly flat abs, and adds strength to your core. It also helps in getting those enviable six packs.
Lie face down on the ball holding your body up with your hands. Slowly start inching forward, while keeping the ball stable under you. When using a cushion, this exercise becomes far easier, so use a ball for optimal results. Walk on your hands, till only your feet are on top of the ball and your body is nearly parallel to the ground. While keeping your back straight, bring your knees close to your chest such that the top of your toes bring the ball a little ahead. Wait for a few seconds and return back to the starting position.
This workout targets the lower Rectus abdominis, which is one of the core muscles in the ab region.
Plank and Lateral Arm Raise
To begin, come into a straight-arm plank with hands resting on the floor in line with shoulders, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. This is the standard plank position. Make sure your hips don’t buckle or curve outwards. Now slowly lift one arm up to shoulder height, and keep it hanging for a few seconds.
Then return to center, then lift the other arm to shoulder height. Ensure there’s no lopsidedness by keeping your body centred. Draw your belly button up and in, which should help in keeping your body centered. Do 10 reps for each arm and with each rep let the lateral raise stay in air for 6-8 seconds.
To add some more intensity and difficulty in this workout, use a resistance band and pull it away from your body with each lateral stretch. For this you will need a solid base around which the band can be wound, and you will have to turn around to work both arms.
Seated Leg Tuck
Tone the upper and lower Rectus abdominis and get a complete abdominal workout for the upper and the lower abdomen, as well as the whole leg region.
When your body forms the V-shape, you will feel a burn in your upper and lower abdomen, as your pelvis and rib cage squeeze the muscles together. Bonus: You get great toned legs too. A killer workout for core and lower body
Lie on your side with your right leg on top of your left, and let your right hand rest behind your head, elbow flared out. Keep the other hand in front of you to balance. Now contract your obliques and pull the right leg up while simultaneously bringing your elbow up. Then slowly lower both and complete the rep. Finish your reps on the right side before moving on to the left. If you feel discomfort in your obliques or hips, use a foam roll for recovery and to loosen the tendons.
Sit on the floor with your hands planted behind your back and your legs bent in front of you. As if balancing yourself over a box raise your hips upwards, so your hands and feet are holding up your body. Start moving forward using your hands and feet to propel you. For this workout to work, you have to keep your hips as high as possible as this ensure you work your core properly throughout the walk. Aim to go 20-25 m at first, and don’t worry about your reflection in the mirror.
A classic crunch exercise, this works on the lower portion of your rectus abdominis muscle. This one comes highly recommended and is a must-do for anyone serious about well-rounded core development. And if you read till the end, then you are finishing on a high note, as the Reverse Crunch is our top pick for crunch workouts.
Set each exercise aside for one day of the week and you will have ripped abs before you even know it. Combine these crunches with other bodyweight exercises such as squats and pushups, which do not require any equipment, for overall muscle development.