One desire from many of our clients’ that occurs often, is that they want to work towards achieving ‘abs’. In order for you to have a defined and toned look, it is important for you to understand what muscles are involved within the whole abdominal area. MotivatePT has gathered our go-to ab exercises which will target all the different muscles within the abdominal area. All of our exercises can be completed within the comfort of your own home and without any equipment.
Firstly, it’s very important to understand that your abdominals are made up of different muscles.
- The Rectus Abdominis, these muscles are superficial which means that they are on top of everything else. They run down the front of your body and with a low body fat percentage you can create the ‘six-pack’ look.
- Transverse Abdominals are located within your abdominal area and make up your ‘core’, even with a low body fat percentage you will not be able to see these muscles. They are cateogrised into two; local and global muscles, which stabilize the spine. Global muscles are responsible for large movements of the trunk and also assist in stability in more physically demanding tasks. Local muscles provide stability and are required when making smaller movements.
- The last group of muscles located in the abdominal area is the Obliques. These muscles allow you to bend from side to side and also allows twisting of your torso.
Our first go-to exercise is the extend and crunch.
- Lie on the floor on your back, ensure that your pelvis is tilted upwards so your back is flat on the ground and is not hyperextended or arched.
- Bend your knees so that they’re near your chest and crunch your torso, so that your shoulders are off of the ground.
- Extend your legs and raise your arms over your head, your shoulder blades should remain off of the floor. This is one rep, repeat this 10-15 times. To add resistance you can use a large resistance band or hold a weight in your hands.
- Firstly, start by positioning yourself in a push up position.
- Then lower your forearms to the ground. It’s important that your elbows are directly below your shoulders and your forearms are straight.
- Then hold this position and brace your abs. You should aim to hold this for at least 30 seconds – 2 minutes. If you are more advanced you can hold a side plank or a star plank. Each different variation works the abdominal muscles a lot harder, which is a great alternative as you become stronger.
- Begin by laying back down, on the floor with your arms and legs out straight.
- Then perform a sit up and raise your torso up so that your upper body is vertical.
- Lower your upper body back down to the ground in a controlled manor. You have now completed 1 Rep. You can add a barbell or sandbag to add added resistance to increase the intensity.
- Begin in the same position as the exercise previously, with your back against the floor.
- Then, extend your legs vertically making sure that they are as straight as possible.
- Extend your arms up also and then brace your abs and lift your shoulders off of the ground so that your fingers and reaching to your toes. Slowly release and lower your shoulders to the ground. This is 1 Rep. You can also increase the intensity by adding weights such as a medicine ball.
- Have a sturdy chair in front of you and place your forearms on the seat and step back into a plank position.
- Bring your right knee across your body to your left arm and then return to the starting position. Whilst completing the exercise, brace your abs and ensure that your hips are low and that your body is inline.
- Repeat with the opposite side and then you have completed 1 Rep. Continue for 10-15 reps.
- Begin by sitting on the floor in the top position of a sit up. Then find your balance and lift your legs off of the ground.
- Clasp your hands together and begin by rotating your hands to the right side and then return to the middle. This is 1 Rep.
- To add resistance you can incorporate weights by holding a dumbbell or medicine ball.
Complete 10-20 repetitions of each exercise and complete the circuit 3-5 times.