Since sheltering at home during the pandemic, working out may not be as easy as it used to be. So, it’s probably safe to say that a lot of us have lost some muscle that we previously had. For those wanting to tone up for the summer season before heading to the beach, there are still a ton of straightforward exercises to do at the gym or in the comfort of your own home. Without further ado, here are 10 exercises that’ll target and tone your abs just in time for crop top season.
1. Standard Crunches
Perhaps the most well-known ab workout, standard crunches are not only easy to do, but you can do them basically anywhere. All you have to do is lay on your back with your feet planted on the ground. From there, place your hands behind your head so your neck is cradled and bring your torso up to your knees. Then, bring yourself back down to the ground. This exercise is a great way to tone your abs and lower stomach, but make sure not to push yourself too hard.
We couldn’t create this list without mentioning the infamous and classic plank exercise. And no, we’re not talking about the former internet trend. This workout requires you to place yourself in the pushup position, and support yourself with either your hands or forearms on the floor. Make sure to clench your stomachs to target your abs, and stay in that position for about 30 seconds to one minute. A warning: it’ll be the longest minute of your life, but worth it for the muscles.
3. Leg Lifts
One easy and quick workout that’s a great way to tone your lower stomach and abs is leg lifts. This exercise calls for you to lay your entire body onto the ground, and make sure your legs are touching. Then, slightly lift your head and shoulders off the ground in order to activate your ab muscles. Once your upper body is activated, slowly lift both legs up at the same time until they’re at a 90 degree angle, and then lower them back down onto the floor.
4. Bicycle Crunches
This workout is different from the standard crunch mainly because it requires a bit more movement. Similar to the regular crunch, you’ll place your back and feet on the floor and slightly lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Then, you’ll lift your knees up so that your calves are parallel to the floor. From there, extend one leg out straight and bring your opposite elbow to the extended knee. Repeat this motion for each side.
5. Flutter Kicks
One of the most simple and straightforward ab exercises, flutter kicks are a great way to build both leg muscle and strength in your lower abs. Plus, it takes minimal movement. Start with your entire body being on the floor and then slowly lift your legs, head, and shoulders about an inch of the ground. Once in position, alternate quickly lifting your legs a bit higher. Keep this motion up for about 30 seconds to a minute and then rest.
6. Superman Lifts
This workout is pretty self explanatory, but what makes it great for targeting abs is that there are a few ways you can adjust the workout. First, place your stomach down on the floor while the tips of your feet touch the ground. Then, lift your shoulders and head up so that you’re staring at the ground. Hold this position for about one minute before lowering back down. A pro tip: you can also twist side to side while lifted up in order to work out oblique muscles.
7. Russian Twists
This exercise is great for targeting abs and obliques, and is relatively easy to do. Unlike other ab workouts where you place your entire body on the floor, you’ll need to sit down and have your feet and bottom on the ground. Once in position, lift your legs up so that your calves are parallel to the floor and you’re only balancing on your bottom. From there, bring your hands to your chest so that your elbows stick out and twist your body so that one elbow touches the ground. Alternate each side, but make sure your bottom stays on the ground and does not lift in order to fully target your abs and obliques.
8. Mountain Climbers
This workout can be more challenging for some people, but you know what they say: no pain, no gain. First you’ll need to put yourself in the plank position with your palms planted on the ground. You’ll then need to bring one of your knees to the inside of your elbow, and alternate each side. It’s completely up to you how fast you alternate each side, but if you want an oblique workout as well consider bringing your opposite knee to your opposite elbow and slightly twist your body.
9. High Knees
This a great ab workout for anyone starting, or getting reacquainted, with their fitness journey. Unlike other ab workouts, you’ll need to stand for this exercise and bring one knee up so it’s at 90 degrees. While bringing your knee up, lift your opposite arm and alternate each side. Try not to do this exercise too slowly, but it’s important to listen to your body and figure out what pace is right for you.
10. Reverse Crunches
This workout may sound intimidating for fitness novices, but it’s a great way to target abs and build muscles. You’ll start off by laying on your back, just like you would with any other standard crunch. Then, slightly lift your head and shoulders off the ground while bringing your knees into your chest. Once in that position, hoist your legs straight into the air and bring your tailbone off the ground. Repeat a few times before resting. This is a great way to target middle and lower abdominal muscles.
There you have it! Whether you’re experienced or just getting started, these quick and easy workouts are guaranteed to target and tone your ab muscles. Just make sure to keep it consistent and safe!