Guest post by Evolve MMA, Asia’s premier championship brand for martial arts. It has the most number of World Champions on the planet. Named as the #1 ranked martial arts organization in Asia by CNN, Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports, Evolve MMA is the best Singapore BJJ gym.
If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve suddenly found yourself with a ton of free time. The entire world is shutting down, and everyone is inside their homes with their families during these difficult times.
The coronavirus pandemic has people staying indoors, but that doesn’t mean we are limited to what we can do, especially with our workouts. We just have to be creative enough to find ways to work up a sweat.
Of course, good health and fitness equates to a strong immune system. We must watch what we eat, and strive to eat clean. At the same time, we have to work on our fitness by working out at home.
One of the most important aspects of our overall fitness, and an aspect that should be addressed in most strength and conditioning workouts, is our core strength. If we build a strong core, we improve our health as a whole, increase our athletic capacity and capability, and become healthier individuals.
Don’t be limited with what you think a core workout should be like. You don’t have to be in the gym to exercise your core. A lot of the workouts specifically targeting the core can be performed in the comfort of your own home.
We’ve come up with a few core workouts you can surely give a try. What have you got to lose? You have all the time in the world to try these out.
Today, Evolve Daily shares five great ab exercises you can do at home.
The core muscle group is not just one muscle, it’s a series of muscles that make up your entire trunk, interconnecting your hips, spinal cord, neck, and shoulders. The six-pack you see on TV is just part of it.
The first workout on this list is the humble plank. Everyone knows how to do planks, and it’s where you should start. They are easy to do, and engage the core muscles specifically. Plank long enough, and you’ll definitely feel the burn.
To perform the basic plank, place the palm of your hands flat on the ground, hands shoulder-width apart, with your shoulders aligned directly with your wrists. Extend your legs straight behind you, feet close together. Now squeeze your core midsection, buttocks, and quadriceps. Try to hold on for as long as you can, then take a minute rest and do it again.
Mix things up by changing your mount from hands to forearms. You can even change levels and make it a dynamic plank. Either way, you’re stimulating and developing your core. An even more challenging variation is the plank drag, where you drag a weight across your body while planking.
This particular exercise targets the deltoids, latissimus dorsi, glutes, and much more.
2) Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers are a fun and challenging little workout that you should definitely add to your daily home workout routine.
Often featured in High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts, mountain climbers offer a steep degree of difficulty. The workout itself is simple enough to perform, and doesn’t have much of a learning curve. You can probably get the form down on the first try.
But this incredible exercise burns so many calories and targets your abs like crazy. Do mountain climbers every day, and you’ll get a rock solid six-pack in no time.
Start in the plank pushup position, hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core and midsection tight, bring your right knee forward all the way to your chest. Once this movement is complete, return your right leg to its original position, but in the same motion, bring your left knee forward all the way to your chest. Repeat this sequence and continue to alternate, as if you were climbing a mountain wall.
It sounds simple enough but is very exhausting and burns a ton of calories. It’s one of the best home workouts you can do, especially if your goal is to gain a stronger core.
3) Leg Raises
Leg raises should always be a main component of your home ab workouts. Right after you do your usual set of crunches, make sure to incorporate leg raises to target the lower abdomen.
Lie facing up as you would if you were doing sit-ups. But instead of bending your knees, keep your legs straight, extended out and flat on the mat. Your arms should be on the floor by your sides, palms facing downwards.
In this position, slowly lift your legs up toward your face, keeping your feet together and your legs straight. Don’t bend your knees. Just when your legs are about vertical, bring them back down slowly. You’ve just completed one rep.
Do four sets of 20 reps, with a 30-second rest in between sets. Before you know it, you’ll have a chiseled midsection thanks to leg raises. They are that effective.
The key with leg raises is to do them slowly, paying attention to proper execution and form. Don’t swing your legs because the momentum will take away from the natural resistance of gravity. You want to feel every burn.
4) Bicycle Crunches
In the same sit-up position as if you were going to do leg raises, you’ll want to start bicycle crunches by placing your hands behind your head, and your elbows pointing out towards the sides. Use your abdominal muscles to lift your shoulders off the floor, one by one.
Bring your left knee up towards your chest and, at the same time, twist your right elbow towards to meet your left knee in the middle. Move back slowly to the starting position, and alternate this time with your right knee and left elbow. This counts as one rep.
Strive to also do four sets of 20 reps. It’s going to cut up your abs and get you absolutely shredded, showing off the six-pack with muscles you never knew you had.
This emulates the simple movement of being on a bicycle, hence the name of the workout.
Bicycle crunches are a tough ab workout that even professional athletes, particularly boxers, like to do to strengthen their core. The more you do them, the easier it will get. So don’t worry if you can’t do many on your first try.
Last but not least is the jackknife.
Lie in the same position as the bicycle crunches. This will be your starting point. But instead of putting your hands behind your head, extend them all the way above your head with your palms facing up towards the ceiling. Your arms should be kept close to your ears.
Now in the same motion as leg raises, lift your legs up towards your head, and at the same time, lift your arms up, keeping them straight, to meet our toes in the center of your balance. Your body should form an almost closed triangle shape.
Slowly bring your arms and legs back down in a deliberate and controlled manner. This counts as one rep. Do four sets of 20 reps to complete a satisfying ab workout you can do while we’re all stuck at home.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay indoors, and get fit!
Rolling Strong combines scientific exercises and routines specifically geared towards grappling.
Phil Daru is a performance coach for over 200 Elite Level Fighters in all aspects of combat sports.
Learn a comprehensive approach that covers everything from proper warmups to exercises designed to improve your guard!