The abdominal muscles are commonly targeted in exercise regimes due to the association with the ‘six-pack’ image, however, there are many benefits to ab exercises beyond the physical toning of your body. Ab exercises have a positive impact on some fundamental bodily functions including balance, posture and reducing back pain. Here are 5 exercises you can do at home so you can reap the benefits too using just your body and surroundings – no equipment required!
Vertical Leg Raise
This is a simple exercise which holds massive potential for abdominal muscle gain. Start flat on your back on a yoga or exercise mat, raise your legs and bend your knees whilst keeping your toes pointed so you’re in a foetus position on you back, extend your legs so they are as straight as you can get them and lower them without touching the ground - repeat. During the process keep your back pressed as close to the mat as you can and keep your eyes fixed directly on the ceiling above; this refrains the exercise from putting too much strain on your spine and neck.
The Plank (side plank)
There are several ways to approach the plank, however, the traditional plank is carried out in the following format. Rest your body weight on your forearms in the press up position with your legs hip-width apart and hold for 30-60 seconds. Increase the duration of your hold as your muscles begin to develop. Another version of the plank is the side plank, this follows the same procedure, however, instead of using both arms you rest your body weight on one forearm and change. This targets more muscles beyond the abdominal and core sector; it also extends the workout to the upper thigh and hamstrings.
This particular exercise requires a chair to complete properly. Sit upright and place your hands on either side of the seat, raise your legs upwards and then push your body upwards with your arms and hold for 12-20 seconds before lowering yourself back down. Try and do a few reps of these. It goes without saying, but make sure you have soft surroundings to refrain any imbalances from resulting in accidents.
Opposite Arm and Leg Raise Balance
This is a pretty trying exercise but incredibly rewarding! Start this ab exercise on your hands and knees, slowly extend your arm and opposite leg (i.e right arm and left leg) outwards until they’re both straight, hold for 20-30 seconds. You can begin practising this movement by individually extending your arms and then your legs – when you get used to this you can move on to the real deal. This works not only your abs but your hamstrings, shoulders and glutes too!
Simply lie on your back, extend your legs whilst keeping a slight bend in the knees, then raise them up and down in a scissor-like movement. This is a great exercise to add to the end of a routine in order to push yourself that tiny bit further.
So, there you have it 5 exercises to get you started. Remember to fuel yourself with protein after exercise for an efficient recovery, start by trialling our TREK Protein Energy Chunks which is packed with a whole 12g of protein whilst being incredibly tasty! If you found this article helpful then you'll enjoy The 4 Things That Will Happen When You Start Weightlifting.