Have you ever considered incorporating beginner ab workouts into your exercise routine? Not only will you feel great, but you also won’t need to join a gym or buy any fancy equipment. Even better, you can perform all of these exercises from the comfort of your home.
But remember, safety and proper form is extremely important when it comes to any type of exercise. Tony Horton encourages you to exercise, of course, but also to do it in the safest manner possible. No matter what kind of exercise routine you may be starting, you’ll want to first talk to your doctor beforehand. Once you’ve been given approval, it will be important to learn the proper form for each exercise. The last thing you want to do is to risk an injury.
Here are some safe, effective ab exercises that will help sculpt your body and leave you feeling great. You’ll also learn why working your abs on a regular basis is important to your overall health.
Benefits Of Beginner Ab Workouts: Use Just Your Body Weight To Shape, Tighten, And Tone Your Tummy
Whether you want to lose weight or build a strong core, ab exercises are something you might want to consider. Your core muscles are critically important to your body – more important than you might realize. They not only help keep your legs stable but also help support balance. A strong core is also key to helping you avoid injuries.1,2
A strong core makes it possible to perform just about any sort of movement you can think of. For example, you engage this part of the body when you pick up a gym bag or your groceries, and even when you sit down.3
Some of the most important core muscles in the abdomen include the oblique muscles in your torso and the transversus abdominis. This is a group of muscles that help support a toned abdomen.4
Strengthen Your Core Muscles With Different Kinds Of Crunches: Traditional, Advanced, And Reverse
You’ve probably heard of crunches before. You might have even tried a few reps. This exercise is typically designed to help strengthen your upper body, including the abs. One of the best things about crunches is that you don’t need any expensive equipment. The only thing you use is your body weight.
Here are just a few different types of crunches you might want to consider adding to your routine.
One of the most important things to remember when doing crunches is to use the proper form. Otherwise, you might put too much stress on your neck and back, and heighten the risk of an injury in the process.5
Here’s the right way to do a crunch:
- Lie flat on your back. For added comfort, try laying on top of a mat or towel.
- Look at the ceiling, making sure you keep your neck straight.
- Bend your legs at the knees and keep your feet flat. Both feet should be the same width as your shoulders.
- Cross your hands and put them on your shoulders. Or, if you prefer, put your hands behind your neck, keeping your elbows behind your ears,
- Lift your shoulders a couple of inches and exhale while contracting your abs. Think of your shoulders, head, and neck as a unit, and lift them all together.
- Go back down gradually toward the floor, keeping your abs contracted. Don’t touch the floor with your head.
- Try 15 reps, holding proper form.6
If you want something a little more challenging, try this vertical leg crunch exercise. Here are the instructions.
- Lie flat on your back and raise your legs upward while keeping your feet flexed. The soles of your feet should be pointing at the ceiling.
- Raise your arms towards the ceiling.
- Keep the lower portion of your back flat on the floor while you lift your shoulders and chest. Try to touch your toes with your fingers.
- Lower yourself back to a flat position and repeat.
- Try to do this for 10-12 reps.7
The reverse crunch is another form of advanced exercise. Here’s how you do them.
- Lie on your back. Have something solid and sturdy behind your head that you can hold onto. Try holding onto the underside of your couch or the legs of a heavy chair.
- While holding on, make sure your arms are stretched straight out above your head.
- Bend your knees and keep your feet firmly planted on the floor.
- Move your lower back toward the floor.
- While exhaling, pull your knees toward your chest. Lift your pelvis off the floor.
- Inhale while moving back to your original position.8
Planks are also a good way to develop your abs and boost your core strength. Here’s a look at how to perform high-tension planks.
- Get into an “all fours” position, with your knees and forearms on the floor.
- Turn your hands towards the ceiling. Keep your thumbs on the floor. Raise your knees off of the floor, positioning your head to that it’s on a straight line with your heels.
- Squeeze your quadriceps and glutes.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles and press your forearms into the floor.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds (or as long as you can) and then relax. Repeat three or four times.9
Remember To Start Small And Slowly Increase Your Number Of Reps As You Progress With Your Ab Exercises
No matter what type of exercise program you may be starting, you should always begin gradually. This will help reduce the chances of suffering an injury. Also, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to start a workout routine.
Once your doctor says you can perform ab exercises, ease into them. Don’t try to do too much, too soon. At first, you’ll probably want to shoot for a 15-20 minute workout. As you get stronger, you’ll find you can work out for more extended periods of time.10
Many people start ab exercises believing they will ultimately achieve a sculpted six-pack. However, there is a lot more to getting this look other than exercise. The best course of action is to strive for a healthy lifestyle by combining things like a safe exercise routine with a sensible nutrition plan and restful sleep.11,12