I hear people ask all the time for good ab exercises. I do want to make one thing clear: Abdominal fat is not just about exercise, its also about your diet and what you are putting in your body. That is an entire post in itself. Diet aside, the following routine is what I taught at the end of a kickboxing or cardio interval class at the University of Miami. It had many undergrads screaming for mercy, partly because we had just finished 50 minutes of intense cardio.
This workout is not meant to be done alone - it's something you should tack on to the end of a cardio session. Whether you have just completed a walk outside, a run on your treadmill, or your favorite workout video, try these ab exercises before your stretching session to help keep your mid-section trim and toned.
Remember to warm up before your workout, rest when needed, drink plenty of fluids, and cool down and stretch at the completion of your routine. Always consult a doctor before beginning any new fitness routine.
Sarah's 10 Minute Ab Routine
Work your way up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise, with no rest in between (unless otherwise stated). Each rep should be about 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down. I found that if you count in sets of 10, you will be less likely to be focused on the possibly intimidating number of 30. I have included different levels of some of the exercises to challenge all fitness levels.
- Crunches: 30 reps
Level 1 - basic crunch, hands behind your head
Level 2 - v sit-ups, lay on back, legs extended out in a v position, hands above head, pushing arms through your legs on way up
Level 3 - v sit ups with a medicine ball or weight
- Oblique Twists, also called Russian Twists: 30 each side
Level 1- sitting with heels on the floor leaning back slightly, hands together, twisting from one side to another and touching the floor each time
Level 2 - with medicine ball or weight
Level 3 - with medicine ball or weight and feet off of floor
-Planks: Hold for 30 sec, rest 30 sec, then hold for another 30 sec
Level 1: on elbows, form is everything, do not let your back droop or put your butt too high in the air
Level 2: in push up position
Level 3: with alternating arms and legs out
- Leg Push up: 30 reps
start with your arms by your side, legs in air bent at 90 degrees so that your calves are parallel to the ground; push your legs up to the ceiling lifting your lower back off of the floor. Do not rock your legs back and forth, use your ab muscles to push upward and back down.
- Double Crunch: 30 reps
sitting up with arms behind you, hands on the floor (finger tips pointing towards your body), elbows bent, leaning back and legs extended off the ground, bend your legs bringing your knees to your chest and then extend your legs back out as you lean backwards (moving your knees and chest both in towards and away from one another, hence the name double crunch)
- Side Crunch: 30 reps single leg, 30 reps double leg, repeat on other side
lay on your left side up on your left elbow, right arm behind your head, crunch sideways bringing your right leg to your elbow and back down. After 30 reps, bring both legs off the ground to your elbow and back down (you may have to roll off your hip and onto your left butt cheek to make this more comfortable). Do 30 reps of both legs. Repeat on your right side with your left leg first, then both legs.
- Bicycle Crunches: do 2 sets of 10 on each side slowly, then 2 sets of 10 each side in double time
hands behind head, legs extended off of ground, bring right knee to left elbow and then left knee to right elbow, alternating sides; legs should be moving in a motion as if you where riding a bicycle