As someone who is constantly working with a busy schedule — whether we’re somewhere around the country at the races or even pushing out a full day of work at home in NC, it’s important for me to stay fit! Of course, everyone wants to stay fit, but it can definitely be hard when you don’t have the time to get into the car, go to the gym, fight for a machine, and then do your workout.
That being said, I’m taking some time today to show you some of my favorite exercises that keep my abs toned that you can do before work, on your lunch break, while dinner is in the oven or right before bed! All you’ll need is a soft surface to rest your back on (I’m using a yoga mat!) and a small weight (if you’d like). The weight is totally not mandatory, but you’ll get a little extra burn with it! If you don’t have any weights at home, you can use anything you can hold in your hand that feels to be about 5-10 pounds (or really whatever feels comfortable for you!).
Today we’re focusing on abs! A toned tummy is always a great feeling, but it’s a lot of work. To me, abs were always the part of my body that I would save to the end to workout, but I’d conveniently run out of time or my body simply wasn’t having it, so I’d skip them. While they’re definitely a ton of work, they’re one of the most rewarding parts of the body to see results. Now, I always make time for abs adding in a circuit like this right after my warmup or on a day that I dedicate completely to my tummy.
Leg Lowers – 15 Reps
For this exercise, start by holding a weight above your head, keeping your arms as straight and still as possible. Raise your legs up as far as you can while keeping your back on the ground, then lower them back down slowly. Bonus points if you can keep them off the ground throughout all the reps!
Butterfly Kicks – 30 Seconds
With the weight still above your head, raise your legs up straight in the air, and proceed to kick them alternating which one is up and which one is down. Try your best to keep your legs completely off the ground the entire time.
Heel Taps – 30 Seconds
Lifting your shoulders from the mat, put your hands — palms up — at your side. Lift your legs from the mat and slowly move them out and in, tapping your heels together when you bring them inwards. Keep your feet off the ground for the entire 30 seconds!
Half V’s with Weight – 15 Reps (each side)
Start completely flat on your back on the mat. Raise your left hand straight above your head with the weight in-hand. As you rise up, lift your shoulders from the mat connecting the hand holding the weight with the opposite foot. If you can’t tap your sneaker, get as close as you can. Remember to repeat this exercise using the opposite hand connecting to the opposite foot.
Full Body Crunch – 15 Reps
With your hands by the sides of your ears, raise your shoulders off of the mat while you’re also raising up your knees and crunching them in towards your face. For an added challenge, lift your bum off the mat as well, rolling upwards and slowly rolling back down. As you release the crunch, straighten out your legs and keep them as low as possible without touching the ground.
Low Plank – 60 Seconds
This one looks easy because you’re not making constant movements, but my abs say otherwise! Hold yourself up with your forearms flat on the ground, push down with your hands for extra stability, and pop up on your toes, and voila! You’re in a low plank! Pro Tip: Keep your butt down. Your body will automatically want to rise it up, but keep pushing it back down so you have your back as straight as possible.
Hip Dips – 15 Reps (each side)
Holding yourself up with your arm in a plank position (just one), stack your feet on top of each other, and slowly lower your hip to the ground. With the top arm, I find it easiest to rest it on my hip. Don’t forget to do the other side!
Side Plank with Arm Reach – 15 Reps (each side)
With your body starting off in the same position as the hip dips, stretch your top hand to the sky and then circle it in front of you, reaching in between your body and the mat. Try 15 reps of this exercise on both sides, and your abs will thank you (later though, definitely not now.. They’ll be crying now!!).
Reach & Squeeze – 30 Seconds
For an exercise that looks like you’re just laying on your back, it truly works every muscle. Start off lying completely flat on your back. Then, reach your arms straight above your head, lift your feet off of the ground (but stay as low to the ground as possible) and simply SQUEEZE every muscle in your body! This one’s a killer, so you’ll be happy that it’s over but will feel incredibly accomplished when you can release, plop down to take some deep breaths, and congratulate yourself for working the heck outta your abs!