In a time crunch?! Try this quick ab routine that will take you three minutes, tops!
We all crave to be able to walk on the beach with our six-packs this summer. Luckily, having a strong midsection has even more benefits than just that. Strong abdominal muscles contribute to daily functions in many ways. They help to ward off back pain, improve our posture, provide us with better balance, and help us avoid injuries. Our abs create a foundation for almost every movement we make, and making sure they are strong is vital to our everyday functions.
So, whether you are short on time or you just need a quick ab routine to add into your workouts, this 3-minute ab routine gets you the most bang for your buck. In just 3 minutes, this workout will hit each main abdominal muscle group to ensure a strong, sleek, and well-balanced core.
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To get the most out of this workout, try to do each exercise back-to-back with little to no break for the whole 3 minutes. This workout can be repeated for 1-3 sets and it can be done up to 5 times a week.
Opposite Hand to Foot Crunch | 30 seconds per side
This exercise works the Rectus Abdominis (our “6-pack” muscles) as well as the Transverse Abdominis (our “corset” muscles), providing a killer combination of strength and stability.
To begin, lie on your mat face up. Bend your right knee so that the foot is on the ground, and let your left leg extend straight out. Place your left hand down alongside your body and extend the right arm straight back behind the head. You can also bend the right elbow and place the right hand behind the head to add extra support for your neck.
Inhale as you hover the left foot an inch above the ground and reach behind you through the right fingertips. As you exhale, lift the left leg and the right hand to meet above your body so you form a crunch. Inhale to lower everything back down to the starting position. Repeat this motion for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, switch sides so that you are using the right leg and the left hand.
Note: Make sure to keep the chin tucked in towards the chest to protect your neck and keep the movements slow and controlled.
Forearm Plank with Hip Taps | 45 seconds
This exercise strengthens and stabilizes by working the Transverse Abdominis and the External Obliques.
To begin, lie down on your belly. Prop yourself up on your forearms, making sure they are at 90-degree angles. Tuck your toes under, engage your core, then lift your hips so that they are parallel to the ground. While you are in your plank, make sure to keep the legs, glutes, and belly firm. Press your forearms into the ground to slightly puff up the space between your shoulder blades. Hold this plank position for 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds have passed, keep your plank position and begin to slowly tap your right hip to the right side of your mat. Bring the hips back up to center and then slowly tap your left hip to the left side of your mat. Continue going side to side for 15 seconds.
Note: If you begin to feel low back strain, lower to your knees to modify the exercise.
Supine Leg Raises with Flutter Kicks | 45 seconds
You should be feeling the burn! This exercise strengthens the lower part of the Transverse Abdominis through repetition of the leg raises and the isometric hold of the flutter kicks!
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Bend your elbows and place your hands behind your head. Tuck your pelvis under so that you can feel your low back pressing into the ground. Keep that engagement through the core as you begin to straighten your legs and lift your feet up towards the ceiling.
Keeping the hands behind the head, slowly lift the shoulders off the ground while keeping a slight tuck of the chin. As you inhale, keep your legs straight and lower your feet halfway down towards the ground. If you begin to feel your low back, don’t go quite as low. Then, as you exhale, pull the belly in as you lift your feet back up towards the ceiling. Repeat for 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds, keep your legs straight and lower them about halfway towards the ground. Holding your feet there, begin to the cross the right ankle above the left. Switch and cross the left ankle above the right. Repeat this motion for 15 seconds.
Yogi Bicycles | 30 seconds
This exercise is great for strengthening the Transverse Abdominis, the internal and the external obliques. This combination provides you with more day-to-day functionality.
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Keep engagement through the core as you lift your feet off the ground, straighten your legs, and reach your feet towards the ceiling. Keeping the hands behind the head, slowly lift the shoulders off the ground. Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, lower the left leg out so that the foot hovers a few inches above ground and twist the upper body to the right so that you reach your left elbow towards your right knee. Inhale to come back to center. Exhale to lower your right leg towards the ground and twist your upper body to the left so that you reach your right elbow towards your left knee. Inhale to come back to center. Continue going side to side for 30 seconds.
Note: Remember to keep your shoulders lifted and your elbows wide the entire time. If you begin to feel your low back, try doing traditional bicycles by bending the top knee.
(Your Next Workout: 41 Core Exercises to Flatten Your Belly)