Are you up for a challenge? Increase the intensity of your workout by incorporating these eight foam roller exercises for abs!
Using a foam roller strengthens your core faster, while burning more calories. The foam roller creates an unstable environment, recruiting additional core stabilizer muscles to keep you balanced during the exercise. The more muscles you recruit, the more calories you burn.
A strong core yields both functional and aesthetic benefits:
- A strong core allows your body to maintain proper movement patterns during exercise and day-to-day activities. When you are moving efficiently, your risk for injury and/or developing muscle imbalances decreases.
- A strong core also improves posture. It can both alleviate and decrease your chance of developing lower back pain.
- The aesthetic benefit of a strong core is one that we all would love to have—a tight and toned tummy that makes you feel confident and proud to show it off!
Core training is an essential component of any fitness plan and should be included in your workout routine two to four times per week.
If you’re just beginning your fitness journey, practice these exercises in a stable environment (i.e., on the floor) first. When you demonstrate proficient control and form in a stable environment, incorporate and master one to two of the foam roller exercises at a time. Aim for two sets of 15-20 reps.
If you’re more advanced, combine five to six of these exercises into a killer circuit-style workout. Try two or three rounds of 10-15 reps per exercise and take up to two minutes of rest between rounds.
- To make the exercises more difficult while lying on the foam roller, place your feet closer together on the floor. While completing the exercises, draw in the area on your stomach that is just below your navel.
- During all other exercises, make a conscious effort to brace your core throughout the movement.
Engaging in both of these tips will increase the number of deep core stabilizers that become activated during the exercises, thus increasing core strength and stability.
Bend at your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms. Make sure your elbows and your shoulders form a straight line. Adjust the foam roller so that your shins are resting on top, and squeeze your core while keeping your body in a straight line. Hold this position for as long as you can. The Plank exercise is great for toning the entire core at once.
2. Sit Up with Reach
Lay on the foam roller vertically so it rests between your shoulder blades. Extend your arms in front of you to form a 45-degree angle with the roller. Place your feet on the floor with knees bent and toes pointing straight ahead. Contracting your abdominal muscles, lift your torso towards your thighs. Lower your torso after it makes a 90-degree angle with your thighs. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
3. Cross Climbers
Place your hands on the floor with fingers pointing straight ahead. Shift your weight onto your hands, keeping your arms fully extended. Your shoulders should form a straight line with your hands. Adjust the roller so that your ankles are resting on it. Squeeze your abdominals and bring your right thigh towards your stomach, bending at the knee. Return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
4. Leg Pull-In
Sit on the foam roller horizontally so your weight is on your glutes. Shift some of your weight onto your fingers as you place them on the floor behind you, pointing towards the foam roller. Lift your legs off of the floor and extend them straight ahead. Using your abdominals, pull your legs towards your stomach as you bend at the knees to form a 45-degree angle. Repeat for the desired number of reps. The Leg Pull-In exercise especially tones the lower abdominal muscles.
5. Knee Pull-In
Place your hands on the floor with fingers pointing straight ahead. Shift your weight onto your hands, keeping your arms fully extended. Your shoulders should form a straight line with your hands. Adjust the roller so that your upper shins are resting on it. Using your lower abdominals, pull your knees towards your hands, allowing the foam roller to move along your shins until it is resting below your ankles. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
6. Opposite Hand to Leg
Lay on the foam roller vertically so it rests between your shoulder blades. Extend your left arm behind your head while lifting your right leg off of the floor. Contract your lower abdominals to lift your right leg into the air while contracting your upper abdominals to lift your upper back off of the roller. Bring your left arm to your right leg and squeeze your abdominal muscles before returning to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps and then switch to the right arm and left leg.
Sit on the foam roller vertically so it rests between your glutes. Place your feet on the floor with knees bent. Hold a medicine ball, plate, or dumbbell in your hands, keeping it a few inches away from your body. Pivot your torso by contracting your oblique muscles and shift the weight from side to side. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Lay on the foam roller vertically so it rests between your shoulder blades. Place your feet on the floor with knees bent and toes pointing straight ahead. Hold a medicine ball, plate, or dumbbell in your hands and extend your arms fully, creating a 90-degree angle with your torso. Move the weight from side to side as much as you can while keeping your arms fully extended and your spine firmly on the foam roller. Repeat for the desired number of reps. The Side-to-Side exercise especially targets the obliques and upper abdominals.
Watch the Video Below!
(Your Next Workout: 13 Foam Roller Exercises for Sore, Tight Legs)