A flaccid belly shows a lack of body strength. Most people do ab workouts to try and get a flat belly. However, the purpose of the workout is not to reduce body fat percentage but to gain strength.
Getting thin should not be the purpose of any workout. This is because abs are hard to get and take more time than any other muscle. Hence, most people lose hope and stop trying after a couple of months. Therefore, you should only focus on your core strength and getting more stability.
If you are a male athlete, you especially need to have a strong core. If you are a fitness fanatic who values a strong body, a good ab routine should be your priority. The best part about ab workouts is that you don’t need gym equipment other than a reasonably thick yoga mat and a bench with handles pointing out one side.
Essentials for Before and After an Ab Workout
An ab workout is the easiest thing you can do at home without equipment. But there are some things you should consider when you decide to start an ab routine.
- Adopt a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is the first step toward getting a well-toned belly. Your health should be your biggest concern. Similarly, you cannot expect to lose fat and get curves unless you cut out the fat from your diet. A good diet along with a good workout routine can show you the most effective results in the least amount of time. You can also take pre-workout supplements to enhance your strength during the workout.
- Sleep on Time
Most people don’t give much importance to a good night’s sleep. But this is a documented fact that a disturbed sleep cycle or irregular sleep patterns heavily affect physical gains. If you need good results fast and effectively, you should sleep on time and for at least 8 hours. This helps your body to recover from the rigor you put your body through and keeps your health in check.
- Get a Yoga Mat
If you can get a good yoga mat, it can give you some cushioning when you are resting against the floor. Infact, this might be the only investment you need for an effective Ab workout. You can lay it anywhere and start doing your exercises at any time at your ease. You can start off by doing some cardio.
Best 10 Min Ab Workout Exercises
We have compiled some of the most common yet effective exercises to help you get those dream abs. After a total body warmup, here are some exercises to target your rectus abdominis and love handles.
- Bicycle Crunches
The American Council on Exercise conducted research back in early 2001 on the most effective Ab exercises. The results were a surprise. They found that bicycle crunches were the most effective exercise to target the rectus abdominis and the obliques.
This is a very simple exercise to perform. Lie flat with your back on the ground, and keep your hands close to your ears with your elbows sticking outwards. You should avoid taking your hand behind your head as it would force you to raise your head between the reps. Now, bend your knees a bit and raise your legs a bit. Next, start by bringing your right leg back to your chest and touching your knee with your left elbow while stretching out the left leg. Now do the same with the left leg and right arm. Your shoulders will remain in the air in between the reps. Furthermore, you need to hold every position for at least two seconds before changing to the next.
Russian twists are ideal when performed with small dumbbells, but you can use any homemade alternate equipment. You can create one using any water bottle cutouts or broken jugs, along with some quick-set cement. Once you have your weights, sit on the floor with your knees bent close to your chest.
Once you are in position, now lean back a bit. Now, raise your feet from the ground while keeping your knees bent and closed, like a semi-cradle position. Next, pick up the dumbbells and twist your upper body to one side while keeping your legs steady in the same position. Go as far as you can on each side and change to the other. The purpose and objective of this exercise are to engage your core while maintaining balance and momentum. Repeat this 15 times for each side per set.
This is another great alteration to bicycle crunches which engage your core while controlling your leg momentum. You can perform this exercise while lying down. But, if you want to challenge yourself more, you can also use the hanging ones.
Lie down on the ground with a flat back. Now raise your straight legs, creating an almost 90-degree angle. Stretch your arms out on the floor on both sides to give you more control of your momentum. Now, move your legs to one side while keeping the top abdomen still and your head flat with the floor. Hold for two seconds, and then swing them to the other side and continue alternating.
The plank is the most common exercise used to engage your core. They surely deserve all the praise too. But as commonly as it is performed, the majority still do not follow the true posture and duration. Although there isn’t any movement involved in this exercise, you can still get injuries if performed incorrectly.
The key is to keep your back and hips straight and in sync like a board. The purpose of this is to maintain a posture where you are engaging the core without putting any strain on your spine. Just get in the pushup position and rest on your elbows and forearm rather than your hands. Keep your hands and feet at shoulder width apart while keeping your legs and back straight. Ask someone at home to be your spotter to keep a check on the correct posture. There are various planks like the forearm plank, side plank, knee plank and the high plank.
First-timers must focus on their core muscles and keep their back and legs straight. Hold the position for as long as you can.
Swiss ball roll out
If you have a stability ball like a common swiss ball, here is another new spin to the traditional planks. Rest your elbows and forearm on the ball and get in the plank position. With this starting position, try to roll the ball a bit away from your body and then into your body while holding the pose. This helps you engage your core muscles more effectively while keeping your back straight.
You can make your regular plank more difficult by elevating your feet, either resting on a bench or stairs. If you want to dial it up another notch, just use the same swiss ball to rest your feet. This training aims to raise your lower body a bit higher than your chest.
- Side Plank
If you feel confident with the regular plank, let’s dial it up. The side planks are another way of engaging more muscles along with the front core. It is mostly done to target your obliques or love handles. They are also very simple yet challenging.
Start by lying down on the floor on one side. Now stack your opposite foot on the one you are resting on, and now lift your body with your elbow and forearm on the floor. You must ensure you don’t arch with your hips going down. Keep your back in line with your legs and hold the position. This is particularly challenging as you put all your weight on just one foot and elbow.
Side Plank with Twist
Want to dial it up a notch? Start with the side plank position and bring your arm next to your ear with your elbow stretched out. Now try to touch your resting forearm with your elbow. But you must ensure that you control your core and only move your upper body. These twists are meant to activate your upper body and not your hips, so hold the axis of your spine without any arching.
Dumbbell side bend
This alternative to the side planks requires you to use some heavy weights over 10 pounds. Stand up straight with your legs a bit apart. Now hold a dumbbell in each hand, and bend to one side slowly while keeping your back straight. You will be moving along your hip bone laterally. Repeat the motion to the other side and keep doing it slowly 10-15 times on each side.
- Reverse Crunches
ACE did another research some time ago, which concluded that traditional sit-ups are not as effective as they are considered. Moreover, they also have a higher chance of giving a lower back injury. This is because most people go over enthusiastic and do rapid sit-ups without any actual posture control. But, there are some effective alternatives to sit-ups. Sure, you can also do the regular ones, but why settle for less when there are better options?
You need to lie on the floor with a flat back. Now, you can either put your arms on the floor with palms down or bring them close to your head. Now bend your knees and bring your legs closer to your chest. Keep going with the motion, and this time add your hips to it and raise them a bit. The purpose is to bend your torso to curl up and then use the abdominal muscles to control when going back down. A slow and well-controlled reverse crunch will make you feel immense pressure on your core, which is good.
Here is another interesting alternative to reverse crunches. It is a relatively difficult one but is very effective in engaging your abdominal muscles. For this exercise, lie flat on your back with your arms straight in the air. Now, raise one leg with your knee bent. Keep the other one straight. Bring them back till they are at a 90-degree angle with your body.
Now from this starting position, slowly lower and extend the leg without touching the floor. Now do the same with the other leg, and repeat slowly on both sides for 15 reps. This will force you to keep your core intention and will also target your obliques.
Hanging Leg Raise
Hanging leg raises or the typical chair-style leg raises are very effective in targeting your lower abs. But you would need a smooth pole to hang with. You can start by hanging straight with a horizontal bar high enough that your legs don’t touch the floor. You must lift your legs from this starting position, keeping them straight and your shoulders steady. However, you can also raise them with your knees bent.
Furthermore, you need to keep your upper body still. Don’t create momentum by swinging your legs. Raise your legs and then slowly take them down to create reverse tension in your abs. You can do 20 – 25 reps per set. If it becomes too easy after some time, you can hold a weight between your legs to increase the tension.
Bonus Exercises To Add To Your Abs Routine
Here are some additional exercises you can incorporate to help you out more.
- Crescent Tucks
The name comes from the unique-shaped path human legs make as they are moved side by side. You start by raising your torso, balancing on your hips, and taking support with your arms. Now you bend your knees, bringing them close to your chest and then straightening them on the way back.
- Backward 7’S
You go in a plank position but with your arms stretched all the way, making a 7 shape. Now you move one leg inside by bending your knee while keeping the other leg straight. Remember that you don’t touch the ground when your knees are bent. Keep pressing hard into the ground with your hands to keep continuous tension in your arms as well.
This is a unique one. You raise your torso while resting on both your palms and feet in a downward C position. Now you stretch the right arm towards your left side and your left leg towards your right while balancing on your left hand and right foot. You start slow while changing sides. This helps you work your abdomen as a whole unit in collaboration with your legs and arms. It is a great exercise to improve balance.
- Side Cycles Left and Right
You can start this one by lying on one side with your legs, and one arm stretched straight. Now move the above leg back a bit and then start taking it to the front while bedding your knee towards your abdomen. Then take it down and back again while straightening it out. This is a cyclic motion done on one side at a time. It appears as if you are riding a bicycle while laying down.
- Mountain Hip Dips
This is a simple one. You go in a backward 7 position, and this time you move your hips. Move them sideways and downwards while taking a dip on each side. Just ensure you don’t touch the ground when on the lowest.
FAQs Related To Abdominal Training
- Are Workout Video Tutorials Helpful?
Hiring a certified trainer to create a workout plan for you is best. They can help you maintain stature if you are just starting your ab routine and assist you in those final hard sets. But if you cannot afford a personal trainer, you can also seek help from Youtube and other social media video tutorials.
Video tutorials are also a great way to get you started. With some basic tutorials, you can learn some techniques to activate those abdominal muscles. But you should research the trainer to see if they are eligible enough to give public advice on good physique and health.
- How Often Should I Train Ab Muscles?
Generally, you should give appropriate recovery time to every muscle group you train. But, still, some trainers might recommend you target this muscle group every day with every workout. But as a general rule of thumb, if you have a two-day regime targeting a particular muscle group and then a two-day resting time for that muscle, the same should be followed for abs as well.
Although most people aim for the ideal six-pack abs with a slant belly, realistically, it would take you years to get to that stage. But you shouldn’t lose hope because consistency is what helps you achieve goals. Start with low-intensity exercises and work your way up to the pro routines.
- How Do I Reduce My Belly Fat?
This is a commonly misunderstood concept. Most people go straight to the gym and start doing what they see others doing. The truth is, no amount of workout can help you lose belly fat unless you are willing to bring changes in your overall lifestyle. The most important changes you need are diet, sleep timeline, and daily exercise to burn calories.
You need to decrease the fat consumption in your diet and substitute that with some cards and more protein. Proteins require more effort to break down, and this helps your body to activate your digestive system effectively. Now that you have controlled the fat intake, next you need to find ways to utilize the already existing fat on your body.
Hence, you need to add some exercise to your daily physical chores for this purpose. This means that you need to do mild but continuous exercise in the fresh air. Hence, this helps you intake more oxygen which helps break down the fat deposits more effectively. This includes brisk walks in the park or going up and down the stairs. You only need to push yourself to the limit where you break a sweat and feel a mild adrenaline rush.
- How Do I Structure an Ab Routine?
The most common Ab routine has 4 main components. First, you should warm up these muscles with some stretching and bending. Then you should exercise your lower abs first, moving gradually to the upper abs. Another general rule is to do any twisting exercises first and then the straight upper ones. You shouldn’t go beyond 30 reps per set. Also, remember to hold between the reps for a moment to keep those muscles in continuous tension. Start with the easiest exercises that you can take into longer sets. Furthermore, it is important to take a rest in between sets to let the muscle relax for a bit. Otherwise, you might get an injury or muscle tear. It is very much important for you to take post-workout supplements, as it helps in the recovery of muscles faster.
Conclusion: Is 10 Minutes Enough For An Ab Workout?
Whether you are training at the gym or want to develop and tighten your abs at home, these four exercises will surely engage core muscles. But the rule is different for everyone. Remember, everyone has their own metabolism and develops muscle at their own pace. You might not be able to get instant results, but you will observe some change. you can also look for weight loss supplements to reduce your belly fat easily.
Furthermore, you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. You only need to take care of your diet, eat healthy, sleep on time, and continue alternating between different workouts. If you pair these exercises with a healthy lifestyle and some cardio, you will reap six-pack abs and burn more calories. But you have to remain dedicated. There are also benefits to checking in with your doctor with everything else.
Moreover, you need to give your body time to heal. Pushing your limits won’t help much, but it can cause serious injuries. Hence, you only need to stay consistent while controlling your habits; your physique will be what you dreamt of. We hope this 10-minute ab workout helps you get in shape.