The ultimate at-home abs and core workout routine
No equipment needed
“What if I tell you there’s a better way to get the coveted six-pack than doing abdominal crunches and its variations?” asked Pete Geracimo. London-based Geracimo has been a fitness coach for over 26 years and has formerly trained international pop sensation Adele, back when she lived in the UK. If you dream of achieving a solid core but slack off while doing crunches, you’re doing more harm than good. Pete Geracimo explains, “Your core is where you draw strength from to lift objects.” The wrong posture while exercising can lead to injuries and he adds, “You’re putting your spine at risk, particularly your neck and lower back.”
Like any other workout, you can’t expect to achieve a six-pack overnight. Pete suggests starting your workout slowly, paying attention to your form and engaging your core muscles for max benefit. Build up the intensity of the abs exercises and if you’re a plank novice, he recommends starting on your forearms until you build your stamina. “Do not ignore mobility training when you’re working on your core,” he says. Improving flexibility helps reinforce your core in a wider range of motions, which ultimately ups your overall strength.
Feel free to add a few of these exercises to your routine or do them all as an abs circuit workout. If you’re a beginner, Pete Geracimo advises working out for 20-30 seconds and resting for 30-40 seconds. To make it more challenging, workout for 45-50 seconds with 10-15 seconds intervals. Pick the number of rounds depending on your fitness level and get started!
Below, Geracimo explains the benefits of each exercise that’ll take you one step closer to a stronger core…
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Low plank rolls
Targets: Abs and obliques
Start in a plank position on your forearms or on your hands, and do not allow your hips to drop. Engage the glutes and core, to take the pressure off your low back and create tension throughout the body.
While your upper body is locked in position, slowly roll your hips to one side. Go as far as you can until you can no longer maintain your form.
Return back to start position and roll to the opposite side.
Depending on your fitness level, continue for time.
Side plank dips
Targets: Abs, obliques, quads
Start on your side with your feet together stacked on top of each other or one in front of the other. Rest on either your forearm or on your hand, making sure your elbow or hand is directly under the shoulder joint. Place the other hand on the hip or straight up in the air.
Create tension throughout your body, and raise your hips to the ceiling until your body is in a straight line.
Once you reach that position, slowly dip your hip down to the floor (or as far down as you can go before your form breaks) and then return to starting position.
Repeat and perform for time.
High plank donkey kicks
Targets: Abs, lower back and glutes
Start in a high plank position on your hands directly below your shoulders. Tense your body and tuck your hips to lockdown your core.
Slowly bend one knee towards the elbow on the same side and contract your abdominal muscles.
Kick your leg back and upward contract your lower back and corresponding glute muscle. Repeat the same side for time and then do the same on the other leg.
Targets: Abs, diaphragm, hip flexors, quads
Lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Keep your legs bent or straight and press your lower back into the floor.
Pull your belly button in, contract your abs and lift your shoulders off the floor. Raise your legs and hold this position for a specific time according to fitness levels.
Targets: Shoulders, abs, glutes, hamstrings
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your hands behind your butt with fingers pointing forward.
Press your hands and feet into the ground to lift your body into a perfectly flat ‘table top’ position.
Squeeze your glutes and hold this position for 2 seconds before lowering your body back to the floor.
Repeat the up-down movement for time.
Targets: Back, shoulders, glutes
Lie face down on your stomach with your arms and legs extended and keep your neck neutral.
Simultaneously raise your arms and legs off the floor, creating a shallow U-shape.
Keep your legs off the ground and bring both your arms back (in a breaststroke movement) towards the glutes. Squeeze between your shoulder blades, lower back and glutes and lift your chest off the ground.
Return your straight arms forward in the same sweeping motion, lower your chest, arms and legs to the ground. Repeat for time.
Photograph: Instagram (Disha Patani)