So, you want a flat, sculpted stomach? You aren’t alone. Many people have it as their top fitness goal. Even if you already have strong ab muscles, it’s still wildly difficult to create that chiseled definition people crave.
But it’s not impossible. You will need commitment and determination. And if your ab muscles aren’t super strong, you need to do exercises to get you there. Here are exercises and a 15 minutes abs workout designed to help get those abdominal muscles showing.
To get warmed up, we recommend starting with a 2-minute Jumping Jack HIIT.
Jumping Jacks are a simple exercise that makes a great warm-up to any training session. They get your heart rate up and increase blood flow through your muscles. Jumping Jacks are a full-body workout, using muscle groups in your arms, legs, butt, shoulders, and chest. They require balance and coordination, which will use your core muscles, including your abs.
To Start: Stand straight, feet together, arms at your sides. As you jump, spread your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your arms above your head, clapping your palms together above your head. On the next jump, return to the original position, except clap your hands behind you. Repeat these jumps.
Alternate 15 seconds of jumping jacks with 15 seconds of rest, then repeat for 2 minutes.
4 Rounds – 15 seconds on / 15 seconds off
15-Min Abs Workout Routine
The abs workout below takes only fifteen minutes, including the jumping jack warm-up. Since these are all bodyweight exercises, you can do it at home or anywhere, with minimal equipment.
Bodyweight Squats (also known as Air Squats,) is a fantastic exercise for an ab workout. They work your glutes, core, hamstrings, and quads.
To start: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Tighten your core and lower your hips down back and down, like you were going to sit in a chair. Keep your back tight and your heels on the floor. When your thighs are parallel or slightly lower, squeeze your glutes, push through your heels, and stand. Each squat counts as one rep.
Notes and Variations:
If you have mobility problems with your hips or ankles (like I do), getting low in a squat can be difficult. Squat only as low as you can while maintaining proper position. You may find it helpful to squat to a target, like a chair. As you lower, don’t sit or rest on the chair seat, instead, tap gently and stand back up.
There are several squat variations, but one you might try to help get your six-pack is a weighted squat with a dumbbell. Hold a dumbbell in your front rack position, with your hands on either side of the weight. Keep the heads of the dumbbell against your collarbone as you squat.
Complete three sets of 10 squats. Rest thirty seconds between each set.
Sit-ups work your abdominal muscles and your hip flexors. They are one of the classic six-pack exercises for a reason. They are easy to do, and as your fitness increases, you can add weight to build more strength.
To do a proper sit-up, you will need to secure your feet. I have two variations for you. Pick the style that works best for you.
Version One, Knees bent
Lie on your back. Put your feet on the ground with your knees bent. You will need to secure your feet. One way to do this is to slide your feet under something substantial, like a pair of very heavy dumbbells.
Version Two, Butterflied lags
I prefer the “butterfly” position since it requires no equipment. While you are lying on your back, bend your knees and open your legs, dropping your knees to the floor on either side. The heels of your feet should be facing each other.
From either position, place your hands behind your neck, at the base of your skull. Tighten your abs and pull your upper torso to an upright position. Keep your back in a straight line. Lower your body back to the floor to your starting position. This counts as one rep.
Notes and Variations
Like the squat, you can also add weight to your sit-up. Hold a small dumbbell against your collar bone, with the head of the weight in either hand. If you start to break form and cannot keep your back straight, reduce the weight.
Some people have problems with chafing at the base of their spine when doing these movements. You may want to fold a small towel or have a mat underneath you.
Complete three sets of 10 situps. Rest thirty seconds between each set.
Planks are fantastic abs exercises. There are many different variations. We are going to focus on the side plank movement for this workout.
To begin: Start by laying on the floor on your right side. Keep your legs straight with your right forearm on the floor. Stack your feet. One should be on top of each other. Tighten your core and lift your hips. Keep your body should be in a straight line from your ear to your ankle. Your hand should be on your hip. Pause for a few seconds and then return to the starting position. This is one rep. You will do the same on the opposite side.
If you have problems with stability, you can stagger your feet, one in front of the other. You can also bend your knees to create extra support.
If the side plank is too challenging for you right now, the classic plank position on your forearms is also effective for abs.
To make the Side Plank more challenging, keep your arms straight. In this variation, you will start with your left arm straight, palm on the floor, and as you raise your hips, you will also straighten your right arm, hand to the ceiling.
Complete three sets of 4 side planks, each side. (Alternate with 30 second holds in the forearm plank position if needed.)
Bicycle crunches work your lower abs – the rectus abdominis, plus the obliques, and hips.
To start: lie on your back. Keep your legs extended straight out in front of you. Interlace your fingers and place your hands behind your neck, supporting the base of your skull. Brace and crunch your midsection, pressing your lower back into the floor; at the same time, lift your head, shoulder blades, and your feet off the floor. Then, bring your right knee to your left elbow. Straighten your right leg and lower back, so your elbows are parallel to the floor, then bring your left knee to your right elbow. Keep your core under tension and toes pointed. Your feet should stay off the floor between each rep if you can.
If keeping your feet off the floor is too difficult at first, you can either rest the heel of your foot or the tips of your toes on the floor between movements.
Complete three sets of 20 reps of Bicycle Crunches. Rest 30 seconds between each set.
Sticking with the lower abs, your next movement in this ab workout is Russian Twists. These exercises work the muscles around your stomach, along with shoulders and hips.
To start: Sit upright and bend your knees. Lean back onto your tailbone, lifting your feet off the floor. Keep your lower back in a straight line. Clasp your hands together. Use your ab muscles to twist to the right, bringing your hands over your right leg, then return to center, then to the opposite side. This is one rep. To prevent back pain, make sure you keep your spine long. Don’t sag in the middle.
Like the bicycle crunch, if keeping your feet off the ground is too difficult, you can keep your heels on the ground. If unweighted twists are too easy, you can easily add a medicine ball or a dumbbell. As you move the weight or ball, tap it to the floor by your hips during your reps.
Complete two sets of 20 reps of Russian Twists. Rest 30 seconds between each set.
The last exercise to workout abs is the leg raise. Leg raises are excellent for lower abs, as well as hips.
To start: lie flat on the floor. Then simply raise both legs together as high as you can. Ideally, you want your legs to be straight, with your shins parallel to the wall behind you. Then slowly lower your legs back down.
Complete two sets of 4 Leg Raises. Rest 30 seconds between each set.
Please keep in mind that ab workouts aren’t the only thing you need to get your six-pack abs.
If your goal is visible abs with high definition, you are going to have to combine training with good nutrition. Exercise can help you get in shape, but to take the weight off your waistline, you need to have a healthy diet with plenty of good, whole food. The truth is, the best plan for good health and a slimmer waist will have quality movements combined with healthy eating.