Do you ever finish a workout and think 'I should squeeze in some core exercises to work on my abs' but end up just laying the idea off? It's easy to do this but not when you have a manageable number of ab exercises to hand that also require zero equipment, meaning zero hassle — much like this four-move equipmentless ab and core session.
The best abs workouts are so popular because they help us define our stomach muscles and build a more ripped physique, right? But actually, one of the biggest and most important benefits of ab training is that it builds you a stronger core. With a stronger core you're able to improve your posture and maintain stability in your trunk, which comes in useful when you work out and when you complete everyday tasks.
So if you want a time-efficient and fuss-free ab and core workout, we suggest you use this routine from personal trainer, Lisa Lanceford (opens in new tab). Lanceford has compiled just four core strengthening moves to develop better muscle endurance in your midsection and add definition across your more superficial muscles, the abdominal rectus.
You will perform 10 repetitions of each exercise and complete three rounds of each. Lanceford hasn't included any breaks in the routine but if you are new to training your abs, or haven't worked your abs in a while, you should factor in 20-30 seconds between each move to allow yourself time to build up your strength again before tackling the next exercise.
Watch Lisa Lanceford's Four-Move Ab Routine
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There is often some confusion around ab and core muscles and whether or not they are the same thing. Your abdominals, the exterior set of muscles, form a section of the core. But the core muscle area is much bigger and accounts for the muscles in and surrounding your torso. In short, a workout that works both the core and abs will be most beneficial.
Lanceford's video demonstrations not only show you how to perform each move with proper form (to help you avoid injury and improve your results) but the clips also provide body heat maps to show you exactly which stomach muscle you are targeting with each exercise.
Regardless of what your go-to form of exercise or sports hobby is, training your core will have an impact on your performance. Perhaps you enjoy weight lifting and want to better your deadlift form or squat heavier. Having a strong core will help you keep your back neutral and assist you in maintaining heavier loads.
Or you might be an avid runner looking to make your running more efficient or improve your running form. Well, having greater stability in your midsection will enhance your running posture. A study published in PLOS ONE (opens in new tab) found that just eight weeks of core training can increase core endurance and running economy (the amount of oxygen your body needs to run at a certain pace).
For those who need an extra layer of challenge or intensity added to their core training, you should consider using one of the best ab rollers or structuring in some weighted ab moves with some of the best adjustable dumbbells. They are still a lot less fuss than machines and can help continue your core strength gains.
Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition.
When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.
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