If you are a home workout warrior, you are always searching for just the right mix of daily exercises to get rock hard abs. You stay informed and in charge of your workouts, but you also feel the urge to dig yourself out of a rut now and then by mixing up your routine. Simply adding a new heart pumping cardio routine or treating yourself to some new home gym equipment or fitness technology can often solve the boredom rut. But to really reach your fitness goals, you need to be armed with the right moves and with proper technique.
Don’t neglect one of the most important areas of your body! With these daily exercises, you can get the rock hard abs you have always wanted.
I’m talking about rock hard abs. You use your core more than any other area, all day, every day. Your core is the center of all movement your body makes. Balancing, twisting, bending over and even just standing up, you are relying on your abdominal muscles to get you through the day.
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Core strength can make you faster, stronger and more agile, making you a better all-around athlete. We all know that strong, lean abs give you that six-pack look that says you work out!
Even if you are not an athlete, having a strong core can protect the rest of your body from injury, improve your performance in daily activities and strengthen your back, preventing slouching and improving your posture.
How to work your abs and when to work them is often a topic of discussion among workout enthusiasts and professionals alike. The old rules about abs are changing. Ab-specific exercises, like crunches, focus on just one area of your core and won’t give those muscles time to recover.
Instead, in order to work your core every day, you need a more comprehensive set of exercises that focus every area of your abdominals.
The four main abdominal muscle groups are your transverses (stabilizing abs), your rectus (think 6-pack abs) and your internal and external obliques which allow your body to turn and twist.
You use all of these muscle groups daily, so building a workout should aim to strengthen each of these areas. We gathered some of the best and most efficient core exercises in various types of workouts from Yoga to Crossfit to put together 5 exercises you can perform daily to get the abs you want.
Rock Hard Abs | Warrior III
Taken from a yoga practice series, Warrior III is a balancing pose that focuses on your stabilizing muscles. It requires you to move from a high squat position to a hip hinge position, balanced on one leg.
To do Warrior III, start in a high or half squat. Shift your weight to one leg and raise the other leg. Drive the raised leg behind you while hinging at your hips and reaching your arms out over your head. Keep your hips squared to the floor.
While maintaining the hip hinge, bring your extended leg in, pulling your knee toward your chest. At the same time, pull your elbow in toward your knee. Do this movement slowly and focus on maintaining stability and feeling your core engage.
To complete the repetition, remain hinged and try not to tap your toe down for balance while extending once again. When you have completed your repetitions, do Warrior III on the other side for proper balance.
Rock Hard Abs | Mountain Climbers
If you have taken any type of circuit class or done online fitness programs, you likely have come across a set or two of Mountain Climbers. This is a fantastic move for getting your heart rate up, burning calories and working your abs along with a ton of other muscle groups.
Starting in a plank position with your hands a little wider than shoulder width on the floor, keep your abs engaged and support your body by tightening the glutes and quads as well. Begin by alternating legs, pulling your knee up toward your chest keeping the toes just slightly off the ground.
Then return to the plank position. Repeat this with the other leg. Proper form and a flat back are important, so if you need to, start slowly and with just a few repetitions.
Rock Hard Abs | Pilates 100s
Pilates is a very core-centric exercise method and the Pilates 100s are one of the most well-known moves from this popular workout form. This move holds your core in a contracted state, building your strength and endurance.
To begin, lie on the floor on your back and then lift your upper body up until your shoulder blades are slightly off the floor. Be sure to tuck your hips or pull down through your lower abdomen, keeping your spine in contact with the floor.
Your lower back should not arch up off the floor at any time during the exercise. If you need more of a challenge, lift your legs off the floor into a pike position, being careful not to let the lower back arch.
Reach your arms out along your sides and toward your feet. Then, pulse your arms up and down, about 2-4 inches, keeping your elbows straight. Inhale for 5 pulses and exhale for 5 pulses for one set. Do 10 sets and you have completed your 100.
Rock Hard Abs | Half Turkish Get Up
The Turkish Get Up is straight out of your local Crossfit type gym. It’s a functional exercise move that is a little more complicated than other abdominal exercises, but its benefits are numerous. It trains the body for stability and strength, gets your heart rate pumping and is great for building mobility.
The Half Turkish Get Up is exactly what it sounds like, which is half of a full Turkish Get Up. This means you will not actually work to standing but your abs will still fully benefit.
The Get Up is usually done with a kettlebell, but you can also use a barbell or any other easy-to-hold, weighted object. You also have the option of no weight at all, especially if you are a beginner.
Start out slow. It is more important to maintain proper form than it is to move at a fast pace.
To begin, lay in a fetal position on the floor. If you are holding a weight, it should be in the outside hand. Pull the weight to your chest and roll to your back. Your knees should be bent up. Then push the weight straight up from your chest.
Keeping the arm holding the weight extended and the same knee up, extend the other leg and arm out from your core at close to a 45-degree angle.
Push up through your hips to roll to the side and onto the elbow that is on the floor in one smooth movement. Keep elongated through your spine and the weight still extended up with your elbow locked.
Pushing up once again, come up from your elbow to your hand, being careful to maintain a firm core. Then, reverse the move, step by step, until you are back in the fetal position on the floor to complete the repetition.
Rock Hard Abs | Dumbell or Weighted Squat
Your core is the center of your strength so it makes sense that strength training, even weightlifting, would engage your abs as well. A weighted squat is a great way to engage your core and build strength at the same time.
In fact, if you didn’t have a supportive core, it would be impossible to perform a weighted squat at all.
Whichever position you choose for your squat, you will work your abs. However, holding a dumbbell in both hands in front of your chest will provide the most challenge.
Do not allow the weight to cause you to hinge. Maintain an upright upper body and use your abs to resist the pull of the weight in front of you.
To perform the squat, hold the weight either in front of your chest, down at your sides, or up at shoulder height with bent arms. With feet slightly wider than shoulder width, sit back into your heels being careful not to extend your knees past your toes.
Sit to a 45-degree angle and pause. Then pushing up from your heels while contracting your abs as well as your hamstrings and glutes, come back to standing.
Rock Hard Abs | Final Note
With these 5 lower intensity exercises, you should be able to perform 3 or 4 sets of 12-16 repetitions. Because they focus on little or no weight, you could do one or more of these moves every day. Listen to your body.
If you are new to ab workouts and you are sore, give yourself a rest day. This gives your muscles the time they need to heal and become stronger. Once you have built a base, you may be able to complete an entire core routine almost every day without getting sore.
But even if you aren’t there yet, just know that every time you complete a set of these ab exercises, you are getting one step closer to the abs you want and a strong overall core.