Physical Activity

8 Easy Ab Workouts for a Stronger Core

  • Ab and core strength can help you perform everyday tasks safely and with ease.
  • You can do these easy ab workouts from the comfort of your own home.

Well-defined abdominal muscles (abs) look great on post-workout selfies, but there’s more to them than just aesthetics. Strong abs and innermost core muscles make it easier to perform everyday tasks like sitting, standing, picking up your dog’s bowl for a refill and carrying the groceries from the car to the pantry. Most (if not all) of your physical activities involve your core muscles, which is why you should make it a point to strengthen them. We’ve rounded up some easy ab workouts you can do from the comfort of your own home.

8 Easy Ab Workouts to Try Today

1. The Reverse Crunch

This crunch variation targets your lower abdominals. Start by lying flat on the floor. Place your hands to the sides, palms flat on the ground. Lift your feet up in the air, and lift your lower back off the floor while contracting your abs.

Want to target your upper abs at the same time? Place your hands behind your head and contract your abs, lifting your upper body off the floor. Then perform the reverse crunch as described above. You can either hold the pose for an isometric workout or perform repetitions.

Remember to keep your core engaged the whole time. If you lose tension in those muscles, then you’re not giving them the workout they need.

2. The Bird-Dog Crunch

This effective exercise targets your abs as well as your hamstrings, glutes and shoulders. It requires no equipment so you can perform it anytime, anywhere.

To do the bird-dog crunch, start by placing your hands on the floor directly underneath your shoulders. Your hips should be in line with your knees. (In other words, get on all fours.) Carefully lift your right hand and extend your arm in front of you while lifting your left leg straight back. Draw your left leg to your right elbow, extend each back out again, and then return your hand and leg to the floor. Repeat the same motion with the opposite side.

This movement should be slow and controlled. When your elbow and knee meet, really contract those abs.

3. Planks

When it comes to easy ab workouts, the plank reigns supreme. It strengthens your upper and lower abdominals as well as your glutes, if done correctly.

Start by lying face down on the floor. Keep your feet together and using your arms, push your body off the ground until you form a straight line. Hold the position for 20 seconds or more.

Note: you can plank from your hands or your forearms.

4. Side Planks

The side plank is a variation of the previously listed plank. This variation especially targets your external oblique muscles.

Lie on one side, prop yourself up on your forearm and lift your body. Your lower elbow should be positioned beneath your shoulder and your body should be straight. Push toward the ceiling and maintain the position for 10 seconds or more. Repeat on the opposite side.

To make this harder, you can rest a dumbbell on your side, around your hip bone.

5. Plank With Kettlebell Pull-Through

Planks are more challenging with added weight. The plank with a kettlebell pull-through makes plain planking a lot more enjoyable and a lot more difficult!

Place the kettlebell on its side and start with the basic plank position (on your hands). Keep your chest parallel to the floor and then pull the kettlebell underneath your chest with one hand to the other side. Repeat the same movement with the opposite side.

6. Russian Kettlebell Swings

This exercise works a lot of muscles — core, shoulders, quads, glutes — and is one of the best easy ab workouts you can do at home.

To do the kettlebell swing, first stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and find your balance. Hold your kettlebell and pull it back between your legs. Move your hips forward, keep your back straight and swing the kettlebell up until it’s almost shoulder-height. Pull the kettlebell back to the original position and repeat the motion.

For added difficulty, you can increase the reps or the weight of the kettlebell.

7. T-Pushups

Pushups work your arms, abs and your lower body. Add some dumbbells to the workout, and you increase the difficulty and make the exercise more effective for strengthening your core muscles.

To perform the T-pushup, start with the standard pushup position, only instead of placing your palms flat on the ground, hold onto a pair of dumbbells. Start with a regular pushup and as you’re pushing your body back up, extend one hand (with your dumbbell) up toward the ceiling. Follow the movement of your hand with your eyes. Repeat the same motion with the opposite hand.

Start with light weights so you can get comfortable with the movement first and get used to feeling that weight overhead.

8. Hollow Body Holds

Looks can be deceiving, and hollow body holds are a lot more challenging than they appear.

The most important thing to remember about this exercise is that you want to pull your belly button into the floor while also pushing your lowing back into the floor. Don’t let your core arch! That means it’s not engaged.

Check out the video above for a few variations of this movement. The closer your legs and arms are to the ground, the harder it gets.

Having a strong and stable core is essential for your overall health and fitness. Try these simple (but challenging!) exercises today and break a serious sweat.