Home Exercises for Abs

There’s no reason not to strengthen your abs–part of the core muscles that stabilize your torso–at home. The Mayo Clinic recommends building core strength by starting with five repetitions of each core exercise and working up to 10 to 15. You can also build endurance by performing as many repetitions as possible until you can no longer maintain proper form.

Alternating Supermans

This exercise is also called the Quadruped. Position yourself on your hands and knees, hands directly below your shoulders, knees directly below your hips. Squeeze your abdominal muscles to keep your body in a straight line from your hips to the top of your head.

Raise your right arm off the floor and reach straight ahead. At the same time, raise your left leg off the floor and extend it straight back. Keep your abdominal muscles tight to maintain your body position throughout this exercise. Hold for a slow three count (don’t hold your breath) and then lower. Repeat the exercise with your left arm and right leg. This constitutes one repetition.

If keeping your spine stable during this exercise is too challenging, lift each arm and leg individually instead of in pairs. If you want to make the exercise more challenging, do it on a Bosu trainer.

Abdominal Crunch

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Cross both arms over your chest. Exhale as you squeeze your abdominal muscles together, lifting your head and shoulders off the ground and bringing your lower ribs closer to the top of your pelvis. Inhale as you slowly lower your body to the ground.

For an extra challenge, hold your arms straight out in line with your body (overhead) instead of across your chest. This will make each repetition harder.

Oblique Crunches

Oblique crunches target the abdominal muscles that wrap around either side of your torso. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Place both arms on your left thigh or as close to it as you can get. As you squeeze your abdominals and lift into a crunch movement, reach both arms up toward your left knee. Your right shoulder will come up a bit higher than your left as your obliques engage.

Complete the desired number of repetitions on this side, then switch to the other side (both hands on your right thigh, reaching toward your right knee with each crunch) and complete the same number of repetitions.

About this Author

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics at the University of Alaska Anchorage and contributes regularly to various online publications. Print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.