By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
This quick ab workout will be sure to leave you a little sore, but a lot stronger—especially if you repeat the 15-minute workout on a weekly basis. This ab series is simple yet effective and the best part is that it doesn’t require any additional equipment and can be done anywhere—even the beach! (In fact, since the beach is an uneven surface, doing the series there will bump up the intensity a notch). Enjoy this easy, effective summer ab workout!
Plank is a classes core power move. I love to start the ab series with this move because it helps to engage all of the core—which extends from below your hips really up to your shoulders. This move also targets the glutes and the quads because we have to engage them to keep our abs firm and stable while doing this move. You can do a plank on your hands or on your forearms; you can also put your knees down if needed, but if you do so it’s key to squeeze your glutes, quads and hamstrings as well. Hold really solid in this move and try to keep it for the full 60 seconds. If you can’t do that, try 15-second intervals with brief breaks in between. Or, you can plank in two 30-second segments.
Minute 2—Toe Touches:
Toe touches are another classic ab move. Because your arms and legs are up during this move, you target both lower and upper abdominals. If you need to keep your knees bent or on the ground that’s fine—just make sure to reach straight up as pictured. Remember to squeeze your glutes and quads and try to keep your shoulders off the ground throughout the move.
Lie on your back with your fingertips behind your ears, legs in the air and your knees pulled toward your chest. Then lift your shoulder blades off the ground and slowly alternate between squeezing your right arm into meet your left knee while straightening your opposite leg, and vice versa (as pictured). Uncomfortable having the leg you’re not using in the air? Modify the move by placing your leg on the ground.
Minute 4—Flutter Kicks:
Lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms by your sides or under your glutes. Then, extend your legs and have them be in a 45- to 90-degree angle with the ground (either as I have pictured or straight up toward the sky). Flutter (slowly) kick your feet while squeezing your glutes, abs and obliques to stay stable. Do it slowly enough so that you have control—and if you need to put your feet down to take a break, that’s fine!
Minute 5—Opposite Leg and Arm Raises:
This is perhaps the toughest move in the series, but it’s also probably the most effective one, too, as it works not only the core but also the glutes, quads and back too. Start in a plank on your hands and then test out your stability try lifting first one foot and then the other. Nex, add in the hands. If you need to put your knees down you can also do so throughout the move. Try to work on being able to contract the entire core throughout the move to promote stability and to help improve ease of lifting both hands and feet. This is a tough one!
Repeat this series two more times, for a total of 15 minutes and three rounds.
Remember to cool down and stretch to the best of your ability, and if possible, repeat the ab series twice weekly.