After a winter of very few workouts, we are ready to step up our fitness just in time for spring. While signing up for a class or two crossed our minds, we thought it would be wise to get back in the game with a workout that we can do in the privacy of our own homes (because baby steps). To kick-start our springtime fitness routine, we reached out to Ethan Marine, body architect at Anatomy Miami, for the three best at-home ab workouts to get us back in the gym.
According to Marine, a strong core is essential to properly perform most exercises, so it is the perfect place to start when rebooting a fitness routine. He says, “Ab strength is important because it is responsible for bracing and stabilizing the muscles surrounding your trunk and hips when performing just about every movement.” He further adds, “If your core is weak, every other muscle group and exercise will suffer.” To start building your core, keep on reading for Marine’s three favorite ab exercises that take less than 30 minutes.
1. Anti-Rotation Plank
To strengthen your core, Marine recommends the plank with a little bit of a twist. To perform what he calls the "three-point plank," grab a yoga mat for grip, like Yeti Yoga's Aries Mat ($60), and assume the standard plank position. Make sure to activate your core and tighten your glutes so as not to allow the hips or trunk to tilt or shift in this position, says Marine. Then, when stable, extend one arm out in front of your body and hold. The amount of time you hold depends on your skill level. Take a breather, then perform the exercise once again, but this time extend your other arm out in front of you.
2. Anti-lateral flexion
Also known as the single-arm farmers walk, this ab-strengthening move requires carrying a weight by your side like a bag of groceries. While weight selection depends on your fitness level, try using a kettlebell, like one of the many in Marcy's Kettle Weight Training Set ($43). With your weight in your hand at your side, walk a specific distance (depending on your skill level) without allowing "any significant lean or shift in your hips or trunk," says Marine. Once you have finished your walk, walk back with the weight in your other hand. If you are more advanced, you can perform this exercise with a weight in both hands. Challenge yourself and see how far you can walk while properly holding the weight (or weights). However, when you start leaning or shifting your body, take a breather or move on to another exercise.
The overhead squat is a great move to add between other exercises or heavy lifts, as it both lengthens and tightens the body. To perform this exercise, Marine says, "Raise your arms overhead like you're the Y in YMCA (with or without weight), and squat all the way down without allowing your back, shoulders, or hips to round." As for reps, it depends on skill level, but try doing at least 10 really good overhead squats if you can.
For more at-home workout exercises, check out these five super-easy full-body workouts (no weights required).