Core muscles help stabilize your entire body. You need your core for balance, range of motion, and minimizing injury risk. If you frequently experience back pain, a weak core may be the underlying cause. Doing ab exercises could help you strengthen it.
Getting to Know Your Ab Muscles
Your core is made up of several muscles. Your rectus abdominus muscles, commonly referred to as your abs, are the parallel vertical muscles separated by your midline. The transverse muscles are your inner core muscles that wrap around your sides and spine. The erector spinae are your lower back muscles, and the internal and external obliques are your side abs.
If you want to strengthen your core, there are many everyday exercises you can do that don’t require equipment or a gym membership. Rotating these 15 ab exercises for around 15 minutes a day works your entire core and prevents injuries.
Ab Strengthening Exercises
Be sure to do 15 reps of each exercise. Doing both sides equals one rep.
1. The Deadbug
Lay on your back. Extend your arms forward in line with your chest and bend your knees to make a 90-degree angle. With your lower back on the mat, slowly straighten one of your legs as you engage your core. Lower your heel and your opposite hand until they come close to touching the ground. Take a breath and repeat this motion on the other side.
2. Standard Plank
Start by resting on your forearms. Make sure they’re lined up with your shoulders. Extend your legs, so the balls of your feet are touching the ground with your heels raised. Looking ahead, engage your ab muscles and hold this position in 30-second intervals.
3. Side-Plank Dip
On your side, place your forearm parallel with the top of your mat. Resting on your elbow, place your opposite hand on your hip with one leg on the other. Keeping your upper body still, lower your hips a few inches before raising back to starting position.
4. Side-Plank and Reach-Through
This exercise is similar to the side plank dip, except your arm is extended and tucked underneath your body as you curl your torso.
5. Cross-Mountain Climbs
Beginning in push-up position, bring one of your knees toward the opposite elbow. Return to push-up position and repeat with the other knee.
6. Toe Reach
Lie on your back and extend your legs in the air. With your back resting on the mat, extend arms in front of your chest, and raise your torso using your lower abs. Then, reach for your toes. Return to resting position and complete reps.
7. Bicycle Crunch
Lay on your back and pull your knee towards your chest. Extend the other leg 45 degrees above the ground and place your hands behind your head. Rotate your torso and switch leg positions.
8. Hip Dip Plank
Starting in the standard plank position, squeeze abs and butt muscles as you dip to one side. Make sure you don’t touch the ground.
9. Side-to-Side Crunch
Begin by laying on your back and bend your knees. With your feet flat and arms by your sides, slightly lift your head and shoulder blades off the mat. Use your hand to reach the corresponding foot and return to start.
10. Russian Twists
Sit on your tailbone with your legs crossed and torso raised. Holding your hands together, tighten your core, and rotate your body from side to side.
Once you’ve turned on both sides, you’ve completed one rep.
11. Windshield Wipers
Sit on your tailbone and place your weight on your forearms. Lift legs and create a half-circle. Keep your upper body in place as you move your legs from side to side. Your feet should come close to the mat without touching. Go back to the starting position and complete reps.
12. Bent Leg V-Up
Lay flat and bend legs at a 90-degree angle. Holding your hands over your chest, simultaneously lift your legs, torso, and arms. Make sure they touch before lowering.
13. Alternating Toe Reach
This exercise resembles the original toe reach. Instead of using your hand to reach your corresponding toes, use the opposite hand and toe.
14. Assisted Reverse Side Step
Lay on your side and rest your weight on your hip. Place your same side arm on the ground and raise your leg to a 45-degree angle. Lift your chest and meet knees before lowering again.
15. Leg Raise and Reach Clap
Lay on your back with your arms on the mat. Lift legs 45 degrees and curl your upper body from the floor. Clap your hands behind your knees.
Core strength is essential for everyday life. These simple exercises will keep your core healthy and strong. Furthermore, a 15-minute routine daily could improve your bone and muscle health. It could also help you manage your weight.