Summer is a time of rest, relaxation and travel. But for many of us, when activities gear up and family life takes over, our workouts get pushed to the side. That's why we've designed this quick, effective and multi-level ab workout that you can take along to the cottage, the beach or on a vacation. The best part? It takes less than five minutes! Now come on, we all have time for that.
Do 12 to 15 reps of each exercise. Perform 2 to 3 sets three times per week.
This super-tough ab exercise challenges your core strength and stability. You'll feel this exercise across your entire abdominal region. If you're just starting out, bend your knees to make the exercise easier.
Start: Lie on a mat and extend your legs into the air. Make sure there is a 90-degree angle at your hips. Extend your arms out to the sides.
Movement: Contract the core (think someone is punching you in the stomach), and gently lower the legs to one side. Go as far as you can while maintaining proper form. Pause for a moment and then return to the start. Repeat on the other side. Move slowly and remember to breathe.
Make It Easer: Bend the knees to 90 degrees.
Make It harder: Keep your legs straight (slight bend in the knees) and lower all the way to the side, stopping just before your feet touch the floor.
When it comes to challenging your abs, the roll-up may be 30% more effective than a standard crunch say researchers at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama. The reason? It recruits more muscle fibres because it works within a fuller range of motion.
Start: Lie down on a mat with your arms extended over head and your pelvis and spine in neutral position.
Movement: Leading with your finger tips, begin with your tailbone and slowly roll up and reach towards your toes. Feel a gentle stretch in the back of your legs. Slowly lower down, placing each vertebra on the mat. The arms return overhead.
Make It Easer: If you are just starting out, begin by rolling only partway up. Pause at the top of the movement and then gently return back down.
Make It harder: Move through the entire range of motion, reaching past your toes. Slow down the movements to feel the contraction in the abs.
Target your lower abs with this effective move. Place your hands firmly on the ground. Remember to breathe and perform kicks slow and controlled.
Start: Lie on your back and contract your core. Extend your legs, and lift your heels off the floor.
Movement: With your core contracted throughout the entire exercise, gently make rapid up and down kicking motions with your feet. Avoid using your entire body to kick, instead just focus on the hips and abs.
Make It Easer: Bend the knees to make the move easier. You can also raise the legs, but make sure your core remains contracted.
Make It harder: Perform the exercise with your legs about 3 to 4 inches from the floor. Remember to breath.