Work Your Abs From All Angles With This 15 Minute, Zero Impact Workout

Fitness // Chooky Biordi, BSc (Statistics)

A quick scroll through your social media feed is pretty much all that’s needed these days to grasp the power and allure of perfect looking abs. But, if you’ve ever seriously tried to achieve a ‘rack’, then you very well know that they don’t magically grow overnight. The happy news? If you were to include abdominal core strength exercises regularly in your fitness regime then you’ll be well-positioned to receive much more than what’s displayed on social media. When you’re consistently targeting all 4 major abdominal muscles, you can confidently look forward to improvements in balance, stability and physical capability. I’ve got you covered with this ab circuit below! 

Abs can be sculpted without the need for fancy equipment or studios. Here to prove that point is my favourite quick and effective 15 minute no impact ab blaster – where the props are optional! 

Aim for 30 seconds active exercise followed by 30 seconds rest before moving to the next exercise. At the end of the set take an extra 1 minute breather then repeat them all again top to bottom!

Single Leg V-Snaps 

Video ^^

This is a deep, lower abdominal core kicker! It’s simply lying straight, alternating scissor legs with the added joy of pulsing your upper body upwards towards the feet. See how many you can complete with solid form in 30 secs!

Safety cues: 

Keep lower back always grounded.

Eyes look to the top foot with the chin just off the chest; support the head if needed.

Less intense options: 

#1 Just scissor the legs and keep your head, shoulders and arms grounded.

#2 Keep your head, shoulders and arms grounded and perform alternate toe taps with bent knees

Side-Rolling Planks (floor or fitball)

Video ^^

Set up a forearm plank with feet slightly wider than shoulders for stability and forearms folded underneath the chest. The forearms can either be resting on the floor or, for advanced plankers, on a fitball. Slowly roll to one side coming all the way onto the sides of the feet and bottom elbow. Simultaneously the top elbow rises directly above the shoulder into a side plank, taking your eye gaze with it. With control, roll back down to a forearm plank then try the other side. This one targets all ab areas, so good luck!

Safety cues: 

Keep abs braced, shoulders directly over the elbows and the hips, knees and spine aligned throughout the movement. If you hit the speed wobbles with the fitball option, drop straight down to the floor version to build up your confidence. This is an excellent way to progress!

Less intense options: 

#1 Drop to the knees instead of toes and roll sideways onto one supporting knee with the top leg extended. 

#2 Set up on the floor rather than using a fitball.

Oblique V-Snaps

Video ^^

Time to hit up the side abdominals to keep you steady on your feet! Sitting upright with bent knees in front of you and your hands just out back for support, roll your weight over to one glute and lean back a little, ensuring your back stays super straight and your chest lifted. Draw the knees to the chest and see if you can hold this form before lifting both feet off the floor. Still positioned on the one glute, lean back on the hands and extend both feet out long to a ‘V’ position then lengthen out again. A single arm pull can add to the intensity! Try 4 each side before switching allegiance (i.e. other glute).

Safety cues: 

Keep the back straight and strong with the abs switched ON throughout. If your back begins rounding then reset and take a less intense option.

Less intense options: 

#1 Bend knees and use both arms for support.

#2 Just draw the top knee only into the chest and extend, rather than both legs at the same time.

Rollouts (bar/wheel/skateboard)

Video ^^

Another big hitter which requires some decent shoulder stability, and using a barbell rather than an ab roller wheel is a more stable option. Starting in ‘horse’ stance, either grip the roller handles on each side or a light barbell (shoulder-width grip) with straight arms and slooowwwly roll outwards from the knees to lower chest and armpits towards the floor…just don’t go so deep that you are unable to roll back! N.B. Improvisation using a skateboard does the trick too!

Safety cues: 

Keep the back straight and strong with both abs and glutes switched ON throughout. If your tummy starts dipping or your shoulders feel vulnerable then try mini-distance rolls instead.

Less intense options: 

#1 Lose the roller and try a Superman Plank hold, with arms extended on the floor in front of your shoulders, either on your feet or knees.

Dish rocks

Video ^^

A little lie down with a difference! Form a ‘dish’ shape lying on your back with arms and legs elevated off the floor. Lift both arms up by your ears, narrow your waist by drawing your belly to your lower back, brace your core and then start rocking the boat! 

Safety cues: 

Keep the lower back pressing into the floor at all times. If your back begins arching up then reset and take a less intense option.

Less intense options: 

#1 Lower arms from above to reach down either side of the body.

#2 Drop one end – either lower the head and shoulders OR the legs to the floor for a break.

Side plank pulses

Video ^^

Subtle, yet effective! Look out obliques – we’re back!! Set up in a side plank with feet stacked OR the top foot a little forward if you need a more stable base. Extend the top arms to the sky then perform teeny tiny pulses of the top hip straight up and down. You don’t have to move far to feel it A LOT! Try 4 slow reps each side before flipping.

Safety cues: 

Bottom hand or elbow supports directly under the shoulder. Press into the ground to stabilise the shoulders and lift the top hip. Keep the top hip lifted to allow the spine and pelvis to align.

Less intense options: 

#1 Drop down to elbows and knees in the side planks if you feel your form slipping or if you have wrist issues.

Elevated-Leg Russians

Video ^^

This exercise can make you feel like you’re unable to make up your mind! You can use a light weight, e.g. dumbbell, kettlebell, or plate for a bigger burn, but this works just as well with no props at all! Set up, evenly weighted through both glutes in a strong V-position, but with both knees bent slightly. Gripping one fist with the palm of the other hand, draw both hands and eye gaze over to one side of the body while both knees head the opposite way at the same time. Then reverse and again, again, again!

Safety cues: 

Keep back straight and strong with abs switched ON throughout. If your back begins rounding then reset and take a less intense option.

Less intense options: 

#1 Feet down.

#2 Lying side on with knees drawn up and upper body facing the sky, pulse the top hand down the back towards the heels for 8 reps while supporting the head with the other hand. Flip over and repeat.

Important:

Slow and steady wins the race with these types of exercises. Slow things down, breathe deep and work hard to keep good form from start to finish. If you feel it slipping then take a break before giving that exercise another go. Trying a less intense option is a safe way to build strength and confidence in your progressions. If you’re consistent in your efforts, you’ll be able to complete this set in one smooth run before you know it! 

 

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