There are some simple ways to intensify your ab workouts at home. Two of the options can be done without buying any equipment. One option can utilize things you have around the house.
1. Work against Gravity
Even a mundane crunch can be made more challenging if you work against gravity. While there are incline boards that you can buy, all you really need is something to elevate your feet. Sit on the floor and rest your heels on a chair with your knees bent. Lie back with your arms crossed over your chest. Tighten your stomach muscles, exhale and raise your upper body off the floor. Inhale and lower your upper body back to the floor. This constitutes one repetition. Repeat the exercise 12 times. Work up to doing three sets of 12 reps each.
2. Add Resistance
If you have dumbbells, you can use them to make your abs work harder. Books can add resistance if you don't have dumbbells handy. Lie on the floor with your knees bent. Hold your dumbbell or book over your chest. Tighten your tummy as you exhale and lift your upper body to perform a crunch. Inhale and lie back on the floor. You have done one rep. Try to complete three sets of 12 reps each.
3. Use Your Legs
If you add leg lifts to your ab workouts at home, you will challenge your abs even more. Lie on the floor and extend your legs in the air straight above your hips. This is your starting position. Press the small of your back into the floor to zone in on your abdominal muscles. Exhale and lower your legs as close to the floor as you comfortably can. Inhale and raise your legs back to the starting position. That was one rep. Repeat 12 times. Work up to doing three sets of 12. Begin by lowering your legs a small amount. You can work up to lowering them closer to the floor as you get stronger.
4. Use a Stability Ball
A wise investment for serious abdominal work is a stability or exercise ball. Stability balls come in various sizes and cost less than $25. The purpose of a stability ball is to engage your entire abdominal region to stabilize your body as you perform exercises on them.
Sit down on your stability ball. Walk your feet out until only your lower back is on the ball. Lightly place your hands behind your head. Do not pull on your neck. Exhale and lift your head and shoulders until you feel the crunch. Hold the position for a second. Inhale and lower your head and shoulders back to the starting position. This was one rep. Complete 12 reps. Work up to doing three sets of 12 reps.
Tips for Success
- Do not hold your breath
- Keep your stomach muscles contracted throughout each rep
- Never tug on your neck
- Initiate the movement from your stomach muscles
- Always press the small of your back into your supporting surface
By using these four tips, you can increase the effectiveness of your ab workouts at home.