Want to get toned abs in just a few minutes a day? We’ve got a simple routine you can add to your daily workouts to make that midsection strong. The best part? You can do this workout anywhere. All you need is a few minutes to spare – and maybe some new workout goodies to get you motivated!
The 5-Minute Toned Abs Workout
Your “abs” are a complex system of several muscles. The best way to a stable core is to work each of these muscles individually and together. While your goal might be those 6-pack washboard abs you’ve seen on TV, don’t get caught up in appearances.
Many women won’t achieve that flat-tummy look (ladies who have given birth, I’m looking at YOU). But strengthening your core isn’t just about squeezing into your skinny jeans. Strong abdominal muscles have many benefits, including protecting you from injury.
Do each exercise for 45 seconds. Then rest for 15 seconds in between. Complete more than one round for even faster results.
1. Flutter Kicks
Flutter kicks are an excellent exercise for the lower rectus abdominis, or lower abs.
Begin on your back with your legs straight. Raise your head and shoulders off the ground, chin to chest. Make sure your lower back is pressed towards the ground, with abdominals engaged.
Lift your feet about six inches off the ground, being careful to avoid arching your back. Lift one foot upward while lowering the other down (not letting it touch the ground), then alternate. Maintain a tight core, being careful not to rotate your torso or shoulders during this exercise.
Continue alternating up and down movements for 45 seconds or as long as possible while maintaining proper form.
Tips: It’s important to keep your lower back pressed towards the floor and your abs engaged during this exercise. If you need extra support, place your hands under your buttocks to help maintain a lower lumbar curve.
V-ups are an intense movement targeting all major abdominal muscles, including the central abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis) and those “love handles,” the outer obliques. Think of it as the one-stop-shop of ab movements.
Begin in a position similar to your flutter kicks, in a “hollow body” (with your lower back pressed into the floor and your feet, head, and shoulders lifted off the ground). Legs should be extended and arms extended over your head.
Keeping your abs engaged to protect your back, raise your legs and upper body simultaneously, bringing your hands to touch your toes. Slowly lower back down to a hollow body position, keeping your feet and head off the ground.
Continue for 45 seconds or as long as possible while maintaining proper form.
Tips: Some might not have the abdominal strength to complete this exercise as prescribed. You can modify this exercise by beginning with legs and upper body flat on the floor. Bringing the right leg and left arm upwards until your hand touches your foot. Then alternate to the other side.
3. Side Planks
Ready to focus on those obliques? Side planks engage these outer abdominal muscles but also help strengthen your core overall.
Begin by lying on your right side, legs extended, and feet stacked on top of each other. Lift yourself up on the elbow of your right arm and place your left arm on your left side and hip.
Keeping your abdominals tight to protect your back, lift up through your elbow and the side of your right foot, creating a straight line through your torso. Do not allow your hips to sag, and keep your head in line with your spine.
Hold for 20 seconds on the right side, then switch sides and repeat.
Tips: This is a more intermediate movement. Beginners and those with weaker core muscles will need to modify this exercise and work up to a full side plank. Be sure to keep your belly button pulled in towards your lower back, engaging the abdominals throughout the movement.
We’re going to keep up with our oblique focus with these Spider Womans!
Start in a push-up position (also called a high plank position), with hands directly under shoulders and a flat back. Do not let your hips sag or stick your butt up in the air.
Bring your left knee outward towards your left elbow, turning your upper body towards the left side to perform a modified “side crunch.” Return to starting position and repeat on the right side.
Continue alternating for 45 seconds or as long as possible while maintaining proper form.
Tips: Think about squeezing your obliques with each repetition. Keep your core engaged to protect your back.
5. Forearm Plank
Ah, the trusty forearm plank. It’s a classic movement because it is a powerhouse move, engaging multiple muscle groups at one time. Here, we’re focusing on the entire abdominal area, stabilizing your entire core and back.
Begin in a kneeling position. Bend your elbows at 90 degrees and place your forearms on the floor, palms facing the mat or facing each other.
Keeping your core engaged, straighten your legs behind you, distributing your weight evenly through your forearms and toes. Maintain a straight back, making sure your hips don’t sag to the ground or stick up in the air.
Hold this position for 45 seconds or as long as possible while maintaining proper form.
Tips: If your abs are weak or you start to lose your form, drop your knees to the floor. Continue to maintain a flat back.