For those who hate spending hours in the gym working on their abs, we’ve got some good news: getting a strong core really doesn't have to take up a huge chunk of your day. We know it can often feel like there’s an endless number of ab exercises out there and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. So we’ve put together a list of 15 effective moves that you can quickly knock out at home that will have your core feeling as strong as steel.
In fact, when you pair the right moves with clean eating (it's true what they say: abs are made in the kitchen), you can get the job done in as little as 10 minutes a day. Whether you want to tack these moves onto the end of a cardio workout, or do them solo, they’re sure to have you feeling super powerful in no time. And if you’re more of a morning person, just grab a mat and do these workouts as soon as you wake up so you can get on with the rest of your day feeling stronger than ever.
- Lay on the floor with your legs fully extended and arms stretched out above your head.
- Simultaneously lift both hands and both legs up in the air, reaching your hands towards your toes, to form your body into a V shape.
- Repeat for 60 seconds.
Make it easier: Lift just one leg at a time, alternating sides.
- Lie on the ground with one leg extended straight out and one leg bent with your knee pulled in towards your chest. Both feet should not be touching the floor. Place your hands on the back of your head.
- Alternate bending and extending your legs, as if on a bicycle, while rotating opposite elbows towards the bent knee. Be sure to focus on fully extending your straight leg out.
Make it easier: Keep your hands down by your sides just cycle with your legs.
1. Start on your hands and knees. Lower down so your elbows are on the floor, placing them directly underneath your shoulders. Extend your legs out, coming up on your toes and lifting your body into a straight line.
2. Squeeze your abs, glutes, and legs to stay in a straight line. (Be sure not to let your hips lift up or sag down.) Hold for 60 seconds.
Reverse Dumbbell Chop
- Stand with feet hip width apart, knees bent into a half-squat, and hold the dumbbell in both hands to one side.
- While keeping your core tight, stand straight up and raise the weight over your opposite shoulder, twisting your torso as you lift.
- Bring the dumbbell back down, repeat for 30 seconds, and then switch sides.
- Lie on the floor with knees bent and your hands underneath your glutes. Hold your feet up just above the ground with your toes pointed.
- In one swift motion, bring your legs in towards your chest and push your feet up towards the ceiling, lifting your glutes off the floor. Repeat for 60 seconds.
Make it harder: Add in an isometric crunch by placing your hands behind your head and lifting your shoulder off the ground while you continue the reverse crunch.
- Get into a plank position with you hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Make sure your legs are fully extended and rest on the balls of your feet.
- While keeping your upper body still, jump your legs out and then back in. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Stability Ball Mountain Climber
1. Place your hands 18 to 24 inches apart on a stability ball, then bring legs back so you're in a push-up position. (Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe.)
2. Keeping core tight, bring right knee to chest, then return to start. Repeat with your left knee. Continue alternating until you've done 10-12 reps on each leg, or complete as many as you can for 60 seconds.
Make it easier: Ditch the stability ball and do this exercise on the floor, starting in push-up position.
1. Start lying down, hands by your sides, with your lower back pressed flat on the floor. Keeping your core tight, lift legs slightly off the floor.
2. Pointing your toes, bring one foot up, then the other, and repeat so they're fluttering without feet ever touching the floor. Continue for 30 seconds.
Make it easier: Place hands slightly behind your butt, making sure to still keep your lower back flat on the floor. (There should never be any space between your back and the floor, as that can lead to injury.)
Standing Cross-Body Crunch
1. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Keeping your left hand on your hip, reach your right arm overhead to a slight diagonal from your head.
2. With abs tight, lift your left knee to right elbow as you perform a standing crunch, then return to the starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
Long Arm Crunch
1. Start lying down with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Straighten your arms back behind you, lightly clasping hands behind you.
2. Engage your abs and lift your shoulder blades off the floor, reaching up toward the ceiling. Slowly lower back to the floor to return to start. Repeat for 30 seconds.
1. Start lying on your side, elbow directly underneath your shoulder and palm flat on the floor. Stack your feet, then lift hips up so your body forms a straight line. Hold for 30 seconds, switch sides, repeat.
Make it harder: After you're up in the straight line, lower your hips until they're just slightly above the floor. Quickly lift hips so you return back to a straight line. Repeat for 30 seconds, exhaling on the lift up and inhaling on the way down.
Side Squat Reach
1. Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, toes facing forward. Push your hips back and lower into a squat, making sure your knees don't go over your toes.
2. As you push out of your squat and return to standing, twist your body to the left, bringing your right arm overhead to reach toward the left side. (Your weight will automatically shift to your left side, and your right foot should twist to the left as your body does.)
3. Return to center, lower into another squat and repeat, this time twisting to the right and bringing left arm overhead to reach toward the right side. Repeat for 60 seconds.
Start lying on your back, legs straight out and hands flat on the floor by your sides. Engage your core and lift legs off the floor so the soles of your shoes face the ceiling.
Keeping your lower back flat on the ground, lift your glutes up off the floor as if your heels are trying to touch the ceiling. Lower your glutes back to the floor and lower legs slightly (without lifting lower back off the floor). Return to starting position. Repeat for 60 seconds.
1. Start lying on your back, legs straight, lower back flat on the floor. Bring your arms straight overhead.
2. Flex your feet and tighten your legs. Inhale and lift your arms straight up. As you exhale, use your abs to curl your head, neck, and shoulders up off the floor. Lift all the way up and over your thighs, reaching arms out in front of you.
3. Slowly roll back down to the floor one vertebrae at a time until you return to start. Repeat for 60 seconds.
1. Start sitting on the floor, knees slightly bent, heels on the floor. Lean back slightly to engage your abs.
2. Rotate to the left, touching your fingertips to the floor. Rotate to the right, again touching fingertips to the floor. Quickly alternate back and forth for 60 seconds.
Make it harder: Lift your feet off the floor. To make it even more difficult, hold a medicine ball as you rotate.
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