META: The core is the foundation for the rest of our body, which is why it’s essential that it remains strong. Consider these three daily ab workouts.
No matter where you are on your fitness journey, you should ensure that you are dedicating ample time to core work. This goes for people who are looking to get into shape for the first time to those who consider themselves to be fit. The core is the foundation for the rest of our body, which is why it’s essential that it remains strong. Consider these three ab workouts that you can easily do every day.
The Benefits of Daily Core Work
When people think of core workout, they often think about washboard abs seen on fitness models. However, the benefits of daily core work extend far beyond how your abs will look. The core is the foundation for our body. Taking the time to strengthen it could have long-standing positive changes on your health according to Martha Purdy, a physiotherapist with Halifax Health Centre.
First and foremost, a strong core can help prevent injuries. That’s because building a strong base not only means strengthening the abdominals but building internal muscles that are close to the spine. This can help stabilize your spine and serve as a foundation for the rest of your workouts. Strengthening these muscles will improve your overall fitness level and cut down on your risk of injury.
In addition to cutting down on your risk of injury, a strong core can also help reduce chronic back pain. Many people with chronic back pain fail to realize that one of the most noteworthy culprits is a weak core. When the core is soft, the body must rely on the back to compensate and carry the load. The back becomes stronger as a result until the point it dominates your core.
Lastly, a strong core can help improve your posture. Unfortunately, sitting at desks and in front of computers has ruined the stance of many people, causing them to hunch forward. Sitting for so long on a daily basis tends to weaken the core. However, dedicating time to core strength can result in a stable, upright posture that demonstrates confidence.
Adding Daily Core Work to Your Routine
Adding daily ab workouts to your routine is something that any person can do. For example, the author of this MSN Lifestyle guest blog detailed how she worked out her core for ten minutes per day, every day for two weeks. She admitted that she was not the person you see on the cover of fitness magazines and that she never was one to have an effortless six-pack.
She made a vow to only select bodyweight exercises so that she could not rely on a lack of equipment as an excuse for skipping the workout. During her time on the program, one of the first things she realized is that ten minutes was nothing. The time flew by, and it was a small chunk of her day that ended up providing incredible results.
To stick to the program, the blogger chose five different exercises and did each one for a minute. She repeated this cycle twice. A few days into the program, she adjusted to 30-second intervals, repeating the cycle four times. At the end of two weeks, the blogger said that her pants fit better than before but that more importantly, she felt healthier and more confident.
Daily Ab Workouts
If you’re looking to improve your core strength, consider the ab workouts we’ve listed below. You’ll find the drills and exercises broken down into those which you can do anytime and anywhere, and those that may cause you to break a sweat. If you have a favorite ab workout or exercise that you don’t see listed, please feel free to share in the comment section below.
Ab Workouts for the Home or Office
If you’re looking to practice the principles of quality core strength, or are perhaps beginning your fitness journey for the first time in a while, be sure to complete these exercises daily. You can finish them consecutively or stagger them throughout the day.
- Begin by drawing your abdominal muscles in toward your spine, or pulling your belly button away from your pants. Once fully-drawn, hold for a count of five breaths and then relax. Repeat this exercise ten times. If possible, try to do this exercise ten times per day.
- Then, lie on the floor face-up to complete hip bridges, which are an excellent tool to help improve the posterior chain. This not only includes the abs but the glutes, hip, and lower back as well. While on your back, bend your legs at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Using your glutes and core, raise your hip toward the sky until your knees, waist, and chest are in a straight line. Hold for three seconds and then slowly lower to the ground. Repeat these ten times.
- After completing the hip bridges, roll over for the “Superman.” This is an excellent choice to strengthen your glutes and spine stabilizers. When lying on the floor face down, stretch both arms out in front. Lift one arm, your head, and the opposite leg in the air, approximately two to three inches off the ground. When doing so, squeeze your core as if you were trying to hold a marble in your belly button. Slowly lower to the ground and then repeat on the opposite side. Repeat five times each side for a total of ten repetitions.
- Lastly, push up so that you are on all fours. You’ll now perform a move called the Bird Dog. Raise one arm straight and then raise the opposite leg. This is the most challenging exercise of the bunch. If you cannot hold the arm and the leg together at the same time, consider starting more slowly trying one limb at a time. Repeat this exercise five times each side for a total of ten repetitions.
The Crunches Workout
If you are looking for a quick core workout with limited space and equipment, consider this crunches program. This workout relies on nothing but bodyweight, making it an excellent choice for those on the go. The only material that you’ll need is a bench, chair, or shelf to rest your feet on for one of the exercises. The Crunches Workout relies upon only four moves. Repeat the cycle in order three times.
- Frog Sit-Ups—Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, creating a 90-degree angle with your knees. Rotate your feet outward so that the soles of your shoes are touching and your knees are outside of your ankles. Cross your arms at your neck. Then, contract the core to perform a sit-up. Perform 12-15 reps. Rest 30 seconds, and then move to the next exercise.
- Jackknife Sit-Up—Remaining on your back, extend your legs outward so that they are straight, and raise your hands above your head. Then, lift your feet until they are at a 45-degree angle while simultaneously performing a sit-up. Ideally, your hands will touch your shins or toes. Perform 12-15 reps. Rest 30 seconds, and then move to the next exercise.
- Oblique Crunches—Rest your feet on a bench, creating a 90-degree angle with your knees. Hold your hands behind your head. Contracting your core and using your obliques, touch the right elbow to the left knee. Lower slowly, and then repeat on the opposite side. Perform 12 repetitions per side. Rest 30 seconds, and then move to the next exercise.
- Reverse Crunch—Lie on your back as you just were. Your knees should remain bent at a 90-degree angle, although your feet should be hovering in the air and not resting on a bench. Raise your knees to your face. Be sure to contract your core when performing this exercise. Do not rock back and forth on your hips. Perform 12 – 15 reps. Rest 30 seconds and repeat the cycle.
The Gym Workout
If you are looking for a core workout that involves adding resistance and weights, consider this gym abs workout. The equipment that you’ll need includes a decline bench, a dumbbell, a swiss ball, and a flat bench. Rest approximately 30 seconds between each exercise. Once completing the cycle, perform two more sets. Complete the cycle in the order listed below.
- Decline Crunch—Lay on a decline bench with your hands behind your head. Slowly contract your core and raise yourself upward. Perform 8-12 reps.
- Dumbbell Side Bend—Choose a dumbbell of moderate weight. Hold the weight at your side with your arm extended. Place the opposite arm on your hit. Slowly lower the weight as if you were simulating pouring a teapot. Then, using your oblique, bend toward the opposite side until you entirely bent to the other side. Perform eight reps on one side. Then, switch hands and perform eight reps on the other side.
- Swiss Ball Crunch—Lie on a swiss ball with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Complete a crunch without letting the ball roll out from underneath you. Complete 12-15 reps.
- Flat Bench Leg Pull-In—Lie on a flat bench with your legs extended outward. Your glutes should be on the end of the bench so that your legs are hanging off the end. Place your hands underneath your glutes. Using use core to pull your knees to your chest, and then extend your legs straight back outward. Perform 12 reps.