I know I won’t be able to fit in my regular workouts over the holidays. Even though it’s kind of like vacation, I don’t want to totally fall off the fitness bandwagon… And I still want to fit into my pants come December 26! What are the best moves I can do on the road to get flat abs without any equipment? —Ali M.
Abs are my favorite.
But not for the reason you think. Sure, it’s nice to have a toned tummy—but these muscles protect all the important stuff. Having a strong core can keep you from hurting yourself if you slip on an icy sidewalk, protect your back as you sit through long plane rides, and improve your posture so you’re always Instagram-ready. They’re the GREATEST.
And if you’re still doing basic crunches to strengthen your abdominal wall, it’s time to change it up. Working those muscles at new angles challenges them in different ways, and they usually respond by getting stronger and more toned. Cool, right? These are my five favorite, non-basic ab exercises you can do anywhere—including your bedroom!—to get a super strong and defined core.
So don’t cheat this one, because it works your lower and upper abdominals really efficiently—you’ll feel sore if you do it right! Think of it as two movements: The first is just a regular crunch with your shoulders off the mat. The second is lifting your hips straight up toward the ceiling as you pull your belly button down. Then, put it all together. Crunch your upper back off the mat and draw your knees and elbows together, trying to get up high enough to touch your elbows and knees above your belly button every time. Watch the video for proper form!
Reverse Half Burpee
This one is like a push-up on steroids (in a good way). Starting in a plank position, and pull your hips all the way back toward your heels. You should kind of look like a stretching cat—cute, but make sure to pull your abs in here! Roll all the way forward, and lower your body down into a push-up. Repeat 15 times to get those lower abdominals burning.
Side Plank Kick
This tones your glutes and your abs—too good! Start kneeling. Lean directly to your side to place the right hand down on the mat, and extend the left leg out. Lift the left leg up so it’s parallel to the floor, and then lower it back down. Once you lower the top leg, kick your supporting leg straight forward. Repeat this 20 times on each side; you should feel your obliques and glutes fire up.
Toe Tap Crunch
Alright people, this one creates those long, lean abs you love. Start on your back with legs straight out in front of you, and reach your arms above your head. If you start to feel your lower back lifting off the ground, try to draw your core in and flatten your back against your mat—that makes this exercise more effective. Laying flat, sit up tall to touch your fingers to your toes. Then roll yourself all the way down to lay flat (without letting your belly go!) and do it on the other side.
Almost there—can you feel that six-pack coming in? Here’s your last move: Start laying flat on your back. Make a little diamond with your hands (see the video) and place it under your tailbone to protect your lower back. Extend your legs out and up at a 45-degree angle off the floor while lifting your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat. Quickly kick your legs, dolphin-style, for 30 seconds. Then release back down to a resting position, and repeat.
Try these exercises separately, or for a particularly challenging ab workout, do each movement for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, and then go on to the next exercise. Questions? Want more fun workouts? Let us know in the comments below!
Produced and Directed by: Liza Glucoft
Director of Photography: Naeem Munaf
Editor: Stephanie Provence