When putting together effective at home ab workouts it is important to remember my #1 rule for getting flat abs.
The fact is crunches and sit ups just are not effective for flattening your tummy or giving you 6 pack abs. In fact, the damage they may be doing to your back may outweigh any good that they do for your abs.
There are dozens of better and more effective ways to work your core to increase strength and endurance.
Recent research shows that those who have a higher level of core endurance is less prone to low back injuries. Also, individuals with existing back ailments find an increased level of core endurance actually lessons the symptoms of that condition.
So where do we start?
Here are the 3 best ab exercises you can do at home to increase core strength and endurance.
1. Plank – To do the plank, get down on the floor facing down with all of your weight distributed between your toes and your elbows. Position your arms so that they are bent at a 90 degree angle and your elbows are directly below your shoulder. Use your core to hold your body in a straight line, perpendicular to the floor. Do not cheat and put your hips up in the air! Straight line!
Hold the plank for 20 seconds to start. Gradually work your way up to 30 seconds, then 45 seconds, then 1 minute. After that, set new goals for yourself, but 1 minute should be the absolute minimum you should do before advancing your core training.
2. Side plank – To do the side plank, get down on the floor on your right side with all of your weight distributed between the right side of your right foot and your right elbow. Your right arm should be bent at a 90 degree angle and your elbow should be directly below your right shoulder. Use your core to hold your body in a straight line between your feet and head. No sagging hips!
Hold the side plank for 20 seconds to start. As with the plank, gradually work your way up to 1 minute and beyond. Switch to the left side and do the same thing.
3. Superman – This exercise will help build endurance in the rear side of your core – lower back, butt, and hamstrings. Lay on the floor facing down with your arms straight out in front of you, as if to prepare for take off! Legs should be straight out inline with your body. With a very small movement, lift your head and feet off the ground by only about 4 inches. This should be just enough to have you balancing all your weight on your stomach. Do not lift your arms and legs so far that it hurts your lower back. Less is more here.
Hold this pose for 20 seconds to start. As with the previous two exercises, gradually increase the time you can hold this pose to 1 minute and beyond.
After you master these 3 best ab, no crunch exercises you will be ready to move on and tackle more dynamic movements safely.