1) The side bridge
Great for glutes and also shoulders, this one is done by lying on your side and propping your upper body up on the weight of your elbow closest to the floor, hand on hip with arm closest to ceiling. Have your knees bent for balance and lift your hip off the ground. For beginners, aim for between 3 and 10 seconds and slowly build up to 60 seconds as you get stronger. Remember to repeat on each side.
2) Scissor kicks
Lie flat on your back with your arms fully extended and on the floor, lift your legs with a slight bend in the knee so your heels are roughly six inches above the floor to get into the starting position. With knees still slightly bent lower one leg so the heel is about two or three inches from the ground and raise the other leg at a 45 degree angle. Repeat by switching right and left legs into upper and lower positions. Remember to breathe throughout because this one is a toughie!
3) Reverse crunch
There are many variations to the crunch and this is one of the most highly regarded out there for working your abs healthily. Start with your legs extended on the floor and arms at your sides, palms flat on the floor unless you are advanced, in which case you can do as the picture shows. Move legs up into the air with knees bent so your legs are at a right angle, thighs perpendicular to the ground and while inhaling, lift your legs towards your upper body, allowing your pelvis to roll forwards as you raise your hips off the ground. Allow knees to go as far as you can manage safely without straining or losing form, hold for a few seconds and exhale as you move your legs back to the right angle shape they were at before. This is a reverse crunch and boy, will you feel it!
4) Superman plank
A great variation to the normal plank. Get into the normal plank position, on your elbows with your lower weight on your toes. Move your upper body up one arm at a time so your arms are fully extended, spread your fingers to help spread the surface area. While inhaling, raise your left arm and extend out in front of you with the top of your arm level with your shoulder and your right leg up in the air so it is level with your back. Breathe throughout while holding this pose for the desired time, then exhale as you lower your limbs back down into the arms extended plank. Repeat with right arm and left leg.
5) Butt up!
Begin in a plank position with your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle. While arching your back outwards slightly, raise your butt up to the ceiling, squeezing your abs tight – in this exercise you will need to breathe out as you raise up and inhale as you come back down into the starting position. Remember to not let your back collapse down towards the floor as you go back to the starting position.
6) Ugi twists
Begin sat with your butt on the floor, bearing your full weight on it as you lean backwards with your upper body and raise your legs off the ground, this is your starting position. Bend one knee and contract your leg towards your hips, keeping the sole of your foot level to the ground. As you do this, with a ball/cushion/whatever you have that’s easy to hold, twist above the hip to touch the ground with your object, holding it with both hands (see picture). Twist your upper body back to the centre and extend your leg back out to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg and side. In regards to keeping your balance, doing this move quickly is best as opposed to slowly but make sure you do not lose your form.
7) Hanging leg raise
There are plenty of variations on this exercise, but we’ll go with the one pictured here, minus the leg twist. Using a dip station or similar weight-bearing gym equipment. stand central and place your hands on the bars. If it is above your waist, you will need to push your bodyweight up in order to extend your arms, but if it’s a dip station, you won’t need to worry about exerting yourself to get your arms straightened out. With your arms straight have your legs stretched out and straight at an angle just over 90 degrees, making your body an L shape (pictured). Inhale as you raise your legs with your knees bent, bringing your knees to touch your chest, hold for a few seconds while breathing normally and exhale as you straighten your legs back out so your body is back to the L shape. Repeat for desired reps. If you are losing form, do less reps.
8) Lower back curl
This one’s easy to do and great for your abs. Lying with your torso flat on the floor, arms by your sides and leg weight supported by tucking your toes under as if you were doing a plank exercise (see picture), inhale as you lift your chest up off the ground. Hold that position and don’t allow your shoulders to slouch and keep your chin parallel with the ground. Exhale and slowly return to the starting position with control.
9) Dumbbell side bends
Good for your abs and those pesky love handles you’re dying to shift! Stand straight and tall with your desired weight dumbbells, one in each hand. Keep your abs tight and exhale as you lower one dumbbell towards your knee, allowing your torso to lean from the hips over to that same side. Make sure you keep your weight evenly distributed on both your legs and while inhaling, slowly return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
10) Cross body crunches
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent at a 60 degree angle, feet flat on the floor, hands loosely behind your head. As you exhale, curl up and bring your shoulder and elbow on your left side across your body while lifting your right knee to touch your left elbow. Contract your stomach muscles as you are doing this and think about reaching with not just the elbow the shoulder too. Inhale as you slowly return to the starting position – keep it controlled and don’t collapse in a heap! Repeat with the right elbow and left knee.
Tip – when doing the alternating exercises, remember to work each side evenly!
Enjoy these exercises, do them with correct form and don’t strain yourself. Please note I spent a long time sourcing images of the movements and writing quick guides on how they are executed, so if you do use this on your blog/site, be sure to mention fitterstrongerbetter. Thanks!
Images are not my own and are credited when source is known.