Target your abs with five exercises in five minutes.
Five minutes a day. That’s all it takes to begin the process of toning and strengthening your abdominal muscles. A short five-minute ab workout is something you can do during the next commercial break, incorporate into your daily workout routine, or do each night before getting in bed. When the five minutes are over, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re on your way to strong, tight abs.
Here are five simple abdominal exercises that can be done in five short minutes. Spend 45 seconds on each exercise, take a 15-second break, and then move on to the next exercise.
#1: Bicycle Crunch
Targeting more muscles than the traditional crunch, the bicycle crunch works the upper abs, lower abs, and the obliques. Lie on your back and place your hands behind your head. Lift your legs and bend them at 90 degrees. Then engage your abs, lift your head, and twist so your right elbow reaches toward your left knee while your right leg straightens. Hold for two seconds. Now extend your left leg and twist so your left elbow reaches toward your right knee. Hold for two seconds. Continue alternating sides for 45 seconds.
#2: Yoga Boat Pose
Strengthen your entire core with the full- or half-boat pose. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched straight in front of you. Then bend your knees, place your feet flat on the floor, and put your hands on your hips, fingers pointed towards your feet. Slowly lean your upper body back. A half-boat pose keeps the feet on the floor or lifts the legs and slightly bends them so the lower part of the leg is parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Rest five seconds. Then hold for another 20 seconds.
To do the full-boat pose, lean your upper body back, lift your legs off the floor, and stretch your arms straight in front of you so they are beside your legs and parallel to the floor. Your body should be in a V shape. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Rest five seconds. Then hold for another 20 seconds. Be sure to breath while holding the boat pose.
#3: Opposite Arm and Leg Raises
Another abdominal workout that challenges your balance is the opposite arm and leg raise. Get on all fours on the floor. Your knees should be directly under your hips and your wrists should be straight under your shoulders. From this position, raise your right arm in front of you to shoulder height, parallel to the floor, and raise and straighten your left leg to hip height at the same time. Hold for a couple seconds while you reach forward with your fingers and stretch back through your heel. Now switch sides and raise your left arm and extend your right leg. Continue alternating sides for 45 seconds.
#4: Plank Crunch
A fourth great abdominal exercise to include in your five-minute abdominal workout is the plank crunch. Get in a plank position on your toes and forearms and hold your body up in a straight line. Bring your left knee up toward your left elbow and back to the starting position, and then do the same with your right knee, bringing it toward your right elbow and returning to the starting position. Keep alternating sides as long as you can or for 45 seconds.
#5: Abdominal Hold
The last exercise in your ab-tastic workout is the abdominal hold. You’ll need a sturdy chair to sit on for this one. Sit up straight on the chair and place your hands on the edge of the chair, facing forward, next to your body. Then, engage your abs and lift your rear off the chair and your feet off the floor, holding yourself up with your arms. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and then lower your body back to the chair for five seconds. Repeat two more times.
After these five exercises, your abs will probably be begging for some rest time, so give them just that until the next routine!