Hands down, working out is one of my biggest stress relievers. It’s just as much mental as it is physical, if not more. Exercising takes discipline and consistent effort. It’s an act of self-care, loving your body enough to keep it in shape.
After a workout I feel superhuman. There’s an extra pep in my step, and I’m ready to conquer the day, checking off my goal-list one by one.
People often ask what I do to keep my stomach tight, and I’m happy to share an ab exercise routine that you can do right at home. So pull out the mat and let’s get started!
First, The Warm Up.
First off, warm up those muscles. Whether it’s jumping jacks, a jog around the block, bike ride or the elliptical machine, show some love to your body before you work it. I can not emphasize how important it is to make sure that your body is loose and your heart is pumping to prep for exercise.
Stretching is honestly one of my favorite parts about working out, and I often do it more than once a day when I need to clear my mind, even during meditation. It also helps with your body’s fluidity and flexibility.
Okay, now that you’re all warmed up and stretched out, here are:
4 Ab Exercises to Help Strengthen Your Core.
1. Arm to Leg Raise
Lay flat on the ground, face up. Stretch one arm over your head, you can use no weight or a light weight to start (I used 5 lbs.), then raise yourself up with the weighted arm, touching the opposite leg.
Do this 10 times on each arm / leg. This ab exercise takes some getting used to but well worth it in the long-run.
2. Ab Bike
Ah, the infamous ab bicycle. Place both hands behind your head, then use your left elbow to touch your right knee and do the same thing for the other side, 10 touches per elbow. Be sure to keep your opposing leg off of the ground for a better core effect. This workout is great because it hits both sides of your abdomen, concentrating the exercise for better results.
3. Toe Touch
You can use a light weight, or none to start. Lift both legs straight in the air, perpendicular from the ground.
Next, raise your arms to touch your toes (or as close as you can get) 20 times. What’s awesome about this exercise is you can do it with or without a weighted ball. Just remember to keep that core tight!
4. V – Core Hold
Still with me? Here’s the last of the set.
Balancing techniques are powerful when it comes to strengthening your core. Simply lift your legs as high as you can from the ground, and sit up as far as you can. You can use your hands as support. Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
After you’ve done this position a few times, feel free to up the ante by holding your hands straight out, parallel to the ground, for deeper strengthening.
There You Have It
Repeat the combo above for 3-4 times (also known as sets), and viola, your 15-minute ab exercise is complete! I workout my core every time I hit the gym. Switch up the workouts once you’ve gotten too used to them by upping the reps (rep=repetition, amount of times you lift up and down), increasing the weights or simply trying out something new.
Now, Shake It Off
Oh, and before I forget, grab this free smoothie download for your post-workout regimen. Incorporating some type of protein shake into your diet is important to muscle strengthening. I’ve compiled a few favorite recipes to make your smoothie creations, well, smooth. To download, tap the pic below👇🏾.
Don’t forget to breathe through each exercise, squeeze your core tight and stretch before and after!
Let me know how you feel after this quickie. What ab exercise works best for your core? Let me know in the comments👍🏾