Who doesn’t want flat, toned abs? These are the five best floor exercises to get you that sleek, ripped midsection you’ve been dreaming about.
The road to six-pack abs is paved with nutritious foods and good abdominal exercises.
A powerful abdominal workout is one that works the upper and lower abdominals, as well as the obliques; and one that not only includes the right exercises, but also the right number of sets and repetitions (reps).
When you do your workout, fantasising about showing an enviable flat tummy on the beach, it’s important to rest as little as possible between sets – roughly 25-45 seconds at a time, but no longer than 60 seconds.
Also make sure you keep the number of reps at a doable amount. A range of 8-12 is optimal for muscular growth.
1. V sit-ups
A V sit-up is a variation of the traditional sit-up in which you crunch your upper body as high as possible and touch your legs, which are also elevated, so that you resemble a V-shape. Done right, it’s a very effective abdominal workout for both upper and lower abs.
To do it: Lie on the floor with your arms reaching above your head and both legs straight. As you breathe in, roll your head, shoulders and arms off the floor; as you exhale, lift your head, legs & entire upper body off the floor, reaching up as far as you can towards your feet. Ensure your core is engaged, keep your shoulders down and open your chest to ensure you are toning the right muscles without putting strain on your shoulders, back & neck. Try to hold this position for a breath or two, and then reverse the movement back down.
2. Russian twists
This exercise can be done using a medicine ball, dumbbell, kettle-bell, weight plate or any other object with eight that is easy to hold. It’s primarily an oblique exercise and can be made harder or easier, depending on your fitness and strength.
To do it: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and hold the weight straight out in front of you.
Keeping your back straight, twist your torso as far as you can to the left; now twist as far as you can to the right. This counts as one rep. Be sure not to use your arms to move the plate.
3. Boat pose
This is a popular core exercise used in both yoga and Pilates to strengthen the core and to tone the abdominal muscles.
To do it: Sit with your knees bent and together, feet lifted off the floor. Reach your arms forward and shift your weight into your tailbone. Keep your chest lifted and try to straighten your legs as much as possible. Hold this position for as long as possible.
4. Two-point plank
A tough variation of the traditional plank, this exercise targets the entire core region and works on your midline stability and balance.
To do it: Get into the top of the push-up position. Ensure your shoulders are down and above your hands. Take a breath in and raise your right hand and left leg out to form a straight line with your body. Hold for two counts; then return to the plank position. Repeat on the other side (i.e. use your left arm and right leg).
5. Glute bridges
Done right, this exercise is a great workout for both the glutes and the abdominals.
To do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart. As you breathe in, contract your abdominal muscles to flatten your lower back into the floor; as you exhale, lift your hips off the floor. Don’t push your hips too high. Also be sure to keep your abs strong to prevent arching your back. Inhale to slowly roll back down to the start position.