A washboard six-pack is something we all strive to get yet seems so unattainable. In addition to a flatter stomach, strengthening your core can help alleviate lower back pain, improve posture, and benefit other aspects of your workout. Find out how to make the most of your 8 min ab workout.
Now, not all ab exercises are created equally. Some are proven to be more effective than others, targeting the deep layer of stubborn fat. Additionally, it is important to target different sections of your core for the best results.
Benefits of a Quick Ab Workout
If you are short on time and stuck at home, no need to fret. You don’t need a gym or an hour long workout to get closer to those washboard abs. Following these exercises, a quick 8 minute ab workout before bed will help you see results in weeks. Read further on alternative ways to enhance your abs that doesn’t require 500 crunches.
The best workout is one tailor-made for yourself. Stephanie Mansour, a personal trainer certified in pilates, harps on the importance of focusing on the abdominal muscles that support your spine. In doing so, you target deep abdominal muscles that strengthen and tone your entire core. She also mentions that if you want results, it is important to stick to a routine and do them every day. Unlike squats, which target large muscle groups, ab workouts hit small muscles that don’t need a days rest, making results quick and easy.
Throw Out Your Old Routine
Have you ever noticed your hips tighten up in the middle of your core workout? Well, that is most likely because you are focusing the tension in your hips not your lower abs. According to Harvard Health, the crunch is outdated. Your lower belly tends to be the most stubborn to tone and this is due to poor form. Lower core exercises that require your legs to stay on the ground end up just tightening your hips and hurting your lower back. Keep reading for some tips and new exercises that will protect your lower back and blast your belly fat. Incorporating a few of the recommended exercises into your 8 minute ab workout will help you feel stronger, more stable, and slimmer guaranteed.
Effective Ab Exercises That Will Protect Your Lower Back:
This exercise is perfect for warming up your core and breaking a sweat. Engaging your whole body, along with the deepest layer of your core, this exercise serves as good cardio and shoulder toner. Start in a high plank with your hands positioned directly under your shoulders and feet touching. Squeezing your core, simultaneously jump your feet to the edge of your mat and back to touching. Similar to a standing jumping jack, repeat this action in and out action 20 times. For the best results, avoid a slouched arch in your back by tucking your pelvis under and pinch your navel to your spine.
**For a modified version with less impact, take turns stepping each foot out to the side and back in.
The ab curl hollow hold is great for strengthening the muscles around your spine along with your entire core. Start by laying flat on the ground, have your arms supporting and your legs raised to the ceiling. As you exhale, draw in your stomach drawing your belly button to your spine to protect your lower back. Then, without letting your back arch, slowly lower both your arms and legs as far as you can. Hold here for 3 seconds and raise again. Repeat 10 times.
Standing Side Crunch
This exercise can be done with just your body weight, resistance bands, or light hand weights. Targeting those pesky love handles and muffin top, this exercise focuses on both the internal and external obliques. Standing up with your arms relaxed at your sides, lean to the right as far as you can without compromising your posture. Feeling a deep stretch in your left side, engage your core, and stand upright. Repeat this 10 times on each side.
Targeting your entire core, this exercise will set your lower abdominals and obliques on fire. Begin in a raised plank, with your hands positioned directly under your shoulders and your feet hip-width distance apart. Crunching your side body, bring your right leg up to meet your right bicep and hold for one second. Repeat this, alternating between both sides. Complete 10 on each side, 20 in total.
For a modified version, engage in the same exercise but drop the plank down to your knees. This will help take some pressure off of your hips and shoulders.
Despite its dreary name, this exercise is great for your lower abs without putting stress on your lower back or hips. Start laying on your back, with your arms raised straight up, and have your knees up in a bent position with your feet facing the opposite wall. Make sure to tuck your pelvis down and draw your navel into your spine to protect your lower back and notice the best results. Slowly lower one arm and the opposite leg till they are parallel with the floor. Hold here in the low position for a second, and then bring them back up to the starting rest position. Repeat, alternating between both sides, completing 20 in total.
For a modified version, keep you knees bent while lowering and tap the floor.
Final Tips and Tricks
- Always keep a tight core.
- Again, this doesn’t have to require a whole trip to the gym. Stick to a routine everyday when you wake up or before you go to bed every day.
- Start where you are. Don’t get discouraged if you cant hold a plank or complete the full set. Each week try to add a few more seconds and reps to each exercise, building up your muscular strength and endurance.
- Adding this to the end of your workout, especially after cardio, when your body is warmed up burns fat quicker.