Ok, so you want to do a full ab workout at home.
But before we get into it, I need to ask why?
What are you hoping to achieve doing this workout? What are your goals?
Are you looking for increased core strength after pregnancy?
Or, are you looking to get rid of the baby belly? Maybe look at bit more toned in that area?
I’m not judging either way. Whatever your goals, it’s all good with me.
I just need to tell you that if you’re looking to get rid of the baby belly an ab workout on it’s own won’t be enough.
Don’t get me wrong...it has lots of advantages, so it’s definitely worth doing, I just want you to be clear, up front, You’ll have to do more than this workout.
To lose the baby belly you not only have to build the ab muscles, you have to burn the layer of fat that’s covering them.
The way to do that is have a good well rounded exercise program that includes cardio, strength and ab work. And make sure you have a healthy diet. A well balanced diet.
So, take a look at what you’re eating as well as how you’re moving.
Ok, so back to ab workouts.
Because, your abdominal muscle group are made up of four main muscles, not upper abs and lower abs.
To get a great full ab workout you need to make sure you’re working all them.
Doing crunches on their own won’t cut it.
If you know what the muscles are, and where they are, you’ll be able to spot an ab workout that makes the grade.
You know this one. Even if you don’t think you do...it’s your 'six-pack abs', or your 'upper abs'.
But it does have quite an important role.
It keeps your body stable, especially when your using your arms and legs. It also helps you bend forward, creating space in your lower back.
Your oblique muscles, which are essentially your waist, run to the side of the rectus abdominis.
They help you bend to the side and twist your body.
You have two sets of obliques, internal obliques and external obliques.
Their jobs are very similar so I haven’t covered them separately, but make sure when you’re doing an ab workout the exercises hit both.
This is the deepest layer of your ab muscles. It wraps around your waist like a corset, or belt.
This muscle is really important, it's the one associated with good posture. It helps with breathing, stabilising your back and supporting your abdominal wall.
These aren’t technically ab muscles, but they are connected.
If your core, ab muscles, are a bit weak, which they often are after pregnancy, both your lower back and hip flexors will take up the slack and become a bit tight.
Most core exercises are body weight exercises, so you don’t need anything.
Once you become a bit more proficient with the movements and you want a harder workout, you might want to ad in some weight. Exercise ball, dumbbells, kettlebells can all do this job very well.
A lot of the exercises are lying down, so you might want to invest in a comfortable exercise mat. But you could do it on a rug, or carpet just as easily.
I know there is lots of ab specific equipment out. Some promising to assist your sit ups. Some promising to give you a six pack just by wearing a belt while you go about your day.
If I were you, I wouldn’t bother with any of it.
Ab machines do tend to take up a lot of space and they are very specific. They can’t be used for anything else.
Concentrate on bodyweight exercises. Add in some weight when you’re ready and you’ll have great full ab workouts at home for many years to come.
Go out for a nice meal with the money you’ve saved.
Let’s get to what you’re actually going to be doing.
I’m going to include the muscle groups you’ll be hitting, so you can make sure you’re getting a full ab workout.
These are like your traditional sit up, although you don’t lower down to the floor each time. You’ll be hitting the rectus abdominis and the obliques with this exercise.
Lie down on your back, with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart and firmly planted on the floor.
Place your arms across your chest, or finger tips at the side of your head around your temples. Don’t be put your hands behind your head as you will be tempted to use your arms to bring you up.
Engage your abs and breathe in.
As you breathe out, lift your upper body off the floor, keeping your head and neck relaxed.
As you breathe in again lower until your just your shoulders are off the floor. Breathe out, lift your upper body off the floor.
Repeat this move until you’ve finished the required number of reps and then return to the starting position.
Concentrate on your breath with this move. Breathe out, lift up. Breathe in, lower down.
This lovely little exercise hits your obliques, your hip flexors and your lower back. Lower your legs as far as you feel comfortable. Don’t over do it with this one.
Make sure your lower back stays on the floor. Squeezing your glutes can help protect your lower back.
Lie down on your back with your knees slightly bent.
Engage your abs and raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor.
Press your lower back into the floor and lower your legs as close to the ground as you can without lifting your lower back off the floor. Make sure this is a controlled movement.
Return your legs to the start position and repeat.
Another one with your legs in the air. This time we’re hitting the entire core. Yep, all of your ab muscles, rectus abdominus, transervse abdominis and your obliques. It also works your back muscles.
Lie down on your back. Raise both feet in the air so they are perpendicular to the floor, pushing your lower back into the floor and leaving a slight bend in your knee.
Lower your legs slowly to a comfortable position where your lower back is still pressed into the floor. Move your legs in a criss-cross motion either side. One leg one way the other leg the other way.
Repeat until you’ve completed the required amount/time.
This is very similar to the crunch but you take one knee to the opposite elbow. The twisting motion will put more emphasis on your obliques and you’ll also be working your hip flexors and lower back.
Lie down on your back, with your feet planted on the floor about hip-width apart and your knees bent.
Bring your fingertips to the side of your head.
Engage your abs, lift your knees to 90 degrees and raise your upper body off the floor.
As you breathe out, twist your upper body to bring your right elbow and left knee toward each other.
As you breathe in return to centre.
Breathe out, twist your upper body the opposite way to bring your left elbow and right knee toward each other.
Breathe out, return to centre.
I really like doing these. Well as much as anyone can ‘like’ doing ab exercises. They work your obliques and rectus abdominis.
Lie down on your back and raise your legs to a 90-degree angle so they’re perpendicular to the floor.
Spread your arms our straight either side to support you.
Rotate your legs to one side, going as close to the floor as you feel comfortable, but not actually touching the floor.
Then rotate to the other side.
Don’t take your legs all of the way to the floor with this one. Only as far as you feel comfortable. Remember you have to bring your legs back up again.
To make this one harder bring your arms closer to your body so they offer less stability.
This is a really important exercise as it works your deep core muscles. Your transverse abdominis. It also hits your pelvic floor and your erector spinae which are the muscles either side of your spine. So this is a really good one to do after pregnancy.
This one isn’t about getting as many reps in as possible. It’s about slow, controlled movements. Quality is definitely better than quantity here.
Lie down on your back with your arms at 90 degrees, pointing to the ceiling and your legs bent, shins parallel to the ceiling.
Engage your abs and push your lower back into the floor to maintain a neutral spine.
Slowly extend one leg out and down to the floor, so it hovers above the floor, whilst you extend the opposite arm overhead.
Pause and return to the start positions.
Repeat with the other arm and leg.
This is kind of like a reverse sit up. You’re doing a very similar motion but with your back. They work your lower back muscles, your erector spinae, your glutes and your shoulders.
Lie down on your front. Bring your hands up to your temples, with your elbows out the sides.
Engage your glutes and your core and lift your shoulders and chest up off the floor.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together and then lower back to the floor.
These are difficult. I don’t want to put you off, just warn you. Take your time. Concentrate on form and you’ll be fine. They hit all of the ab muscles, so it’s well worth the investment.
Lie down on your back.
Engage your abs and raise your legs and your upper body off the floor so both are about 45 degrees to the floor. Think of the shape of a V.
Then lower down stopping before you reach the floor.
Pause. Then repeat.
This is a classic. And it’s a classic for a reason. It’s a great all rounder, hitting all of the muscles of the abs.
Lay on the floor, face down.
Bring your elbows under your shoulders, hands flat on the floor and core engaged.
Raise up onto the balls of your feet and hold that position, making sure your core, glutes and back are engaged.
The classic turned on it’s side. This exercise again works all of your ab muscles, but this time with more emphasis on your obliques.
Lie on your side with your feet together and one forearm directly below your shoulder.
Engage your core and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from your head to your feet.
Hold this position without letting your hips drop.
This is another tough one, but worth it as they work all of ab muscles. Focus on good technique and don’t expect to hold for the full amount of time on your first go. If you’re starting to struggle, come back to the floor and reset.
Lie on your back with your arms and legs out straight on the floor.
Engage your abs and with control lift your arms, head, shoulder blades and legs off the floor.
Ok, this one is going to be slightly different than the other workouts on Mamas that Move.
Don’t attempt to do all three rounds together, even if you do have the time.
These are much better spaced throughout the week.
Tag them onto other workouts, if you have the time.
Complete each exercise for 1 minute. Rest for 1 minute and then repeat. Three times through will give you 15 minutes of work.
Once, twice, or three times. Do whatever you have time for.
Set a timer for 30’s work, 30’s rest (although you won’t be resting).
Do each pair of exercises four times and then rest for a minute before moving onto the next set. That will give you a 15 minute workout.
Hold each position for 1 minute and move onto the next. Don’t worry if you can’t hold for the full minute. It is a long time, especially when you’re starting out.
Rest. Reset and go again.
Eventually you’ll get there.
Rest for 1 minute after you’ve finished all the exercises and then go again. Three rounds will give you a 15 minute workout. If you haven’t got the time, or you’re tagging it onto another workout, don’t do the full 3 rounds.
Have fun with this one. They’re tough workouts, but you’ll soon be feeling, and seeing the benefits.
Remember, if you’re interested in a plan to help you lose the baby belly, let me know. I’ll keep you updated with progress and you’ll be the first to know when it’s ready.
In the meantime, if you want workouts delivered straight to your inbox remember to sign up for my newsletter...