Ten Minute Abs

A woman is exercising her abs at the beach.Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still take a few minutes to tighten that core, crunch those abs or flatten that belly.

Your Abs

Your abs are made up of four major muscle groups: External obliques, internal obliques, rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis. Each of these muscles helps keep you upright during your early morning run, sitting at your desk throughout the day and at the impromptu kickball game later that night. These four muscles lie beneath a layer of subcutaneous and visceral fat. These two layers of fat is what can get a little out of hand when you start to pack on the pounds.

Take 10 Minutes

Here are a few exercises that will help you shape the muscles above at the gym or at home.

A woman demonstrates the basic crunch exercise.

The Basic Crunch: Lie on your back. Pick a carpeted area or use a yoga mat for comfort. Bend your knees at 90 degrees and plant your feet. Cross your arms across your chest so your hands are touching your shoulders. Crunch and bring your elbows to your thighs. Try not to let your chin touch your chest. Lower back down. Start at 10 reps and work up to 30.

A woman demonstrates the oblique crunch exercise.

The Oblique Crunch: Lay on your right side with your legs on top of each another. Place your left hand behind your head, and with your knees slightly, bent move your left elbow to up as you would for a basic crunch. Crunch as high as you can and hold for one second, then slowly drop back to the starting position. Repeat for your left side. Start at 10 reps and work up to 30.

A woman demonstrates the Russian Twist exercise.

The Russian Twist: Sit on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Hold your hands straight out in front of you and keep your back straight. Your torso should be at a 45-degree angle. Twist your torso as far as you can to the left and then as far as you can to the right. Start with 10 reps and work up to 30. When you’ve gotten comfortable with 30 reps, incorporate a weight or medicine ball for more resistance.

A woman demonstrates the penguin crunch exercise.

Penguin Crunch: Lay on the floor with your feet planted and your knees at 90 degrees. Put your hands down by your side. Raise your head off the mat and with your left hand, reach toward your left shoe. Then reach with your right hand toward your right shoe. Move from side to side for 10 reps per side. For a modification, move your feet closer to your butt. When you’re comfortable with higher intensity, move your feet father away from your butt.

A woman demonstrates the boat pose exercise.

Boat Pose: Sit on the floor with your hands by your side, your feet planted on the ground and knees raised. Using your core and keeping your back flat, lean back about 30 degrees. Lift your feet off the ground and straighten your legs. Hold for five seconds. Slowly lower your feet then sit up straight. Repeat five times.

A woman demonstrates the plank exercise.

Plank: Start on the floor on your hands and knees. Lower your forearms to the floor so you form a 90-degree angle. Make sure your elbows are under your shoulders and your hands shoulder width apart. Step your feet back, one at a time. Maintain a straight line from heels through the top of your head, looking down at the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds, working up to 30 seconds.

Speak with your physician before starting any new work out regimes. Need help getting started? Visit one of BayCare’s Fitness Centers to learn more about personal training options and its benefits. Find a Fitness Center location near you.