This new series of five training-from-home workout blogs brought to you by Inside Fitness concludes with the one muscle group that perhaps commands the most attention of all: your abdominals.  In our first four installments, we discussed how to train your various upper and lower body muscle groups from home; let’s now take a look at your mid-section, the one area that can truly make or break you.  All of the hard work you put into training your major muscle groups can be either accented or negated by the shape of your abs, regardless of what level of training experience you’re at.

ABDOMINALS TRAINING
You may have a familiarity with basic popular movements to train your abs, however, there are various tricks of the trade to exercise selection, particularly if you’re among the majority of the public who desire a narrower waist.  Some of those “favourite” exercises from years ago (e.g. sit-ups) do develop your midriff, however whenever you push outward from your core you can inadvertently increase the width of your waist.  That’s why this home workout is designed strictly using moves that draw your abs inward, to help you not only develop the muscles but also promote a narrowing of your waist.

Leg Crunch
Lie on the floor facing upward and elongate your body with your back and legs straight, and your head in line with your spine.  Keep your feet together.  Draw your hands together behind your head and raise your elbows slightly off the floor, to ensure you don’t counter the momentum.  When ready, draw your legs straight in an upward arc until they’re perpendicular to the floor.  Feel a good contraction in your abs by pausing for two seconds, then lower back to the start.

Sets:  4     Reps:  10-12     Rest Between Sets:  1:00 min.

Pelvic Tilt
Again, set yourself into position on the floor lying upward and elongate your body in a similar way as the preceding exercise.  Spread your feet to about shoulder width and keep them securely on the floor.  Draw your hands together and hold them over top of your lower pectorals.  Begin the action by simply pressing into the floor with your lower back, then contracting a tight squeeze in your abs.  Hold the contraction for two or three seconds and relax.  There’s a short range of motion here but it’s very effective for your abs.

Sets:  4     Reps:  10-12     Rest Between Sets:  1:00 min.

Plank
Set yourself into position facing the ground supported by your forearms and toes.  Spread both of these body parts out to the width of your shoulders.  Keep your body as elongated as possible, with your back and legs straight and head in line with your spine.  Once you have assumed this position, your job is merely to hold it.  Strong abs will allow you to perform this for extended periods of time; similarly, this move will develop core strength from an inward direction to help you narrow the width of your waist.

Sets: 
3     Reps:  30 secs.     Rest Between Sets:  1:00 min.

Obliques Heel Touch
Position yourself flat on your back on the floor, with your body elongated.  Open up your legs just slightly such that your feet are shoulder-width apart.  Draw your feet inward such that you create a triangle with the back of your legs and the floor.  Keep your arms long and close into your sides.  Begin the action by raising your head off the floor a couple of inches and reaching toward one heel with the same-side arm.  Upon contact, reverse direction and do the same for the other side, then keep repeating back and forth.

Sets:  4     Reps:  10 each side     Rest Between Sets:  1:00 min.

Table Top Twist
Position yourself on the floor in a “table” position, supported by your hands and your calves, from your knees to your toes.  Your arms should be extended and perpendicular to the floor, as should be your upper legs.  Spread both your hands and feet to shoulder width, and be sure to keep your head in line with your spine.  Kick one leg behind you in an extended position, then reach out your opposite side arm in front of you.  Keep your limbs in the same plane as your torso.  Then, draw your lead elbow inward as well as your back knee and bring them together (the “twist”).  Continue drawing in and reaching out for reps then flip sides.

Sets:  4     Reps:  10 each side     Rest Between Sets:  1:00 min.

HOME ABDOMINALS WORKOUT SUMMARY

Exercise                                 Sets     Reps                Rest
LEGS CRUNCH                         4          10-12               1:00 min.
PELVIC TILT                             4          10-12               1:00 min.
PLANK                                     3           30 secs.           1:00 min.
OBLIQUES HEEL TOUCH            4          10 ea. side       1:00 min.
TABLE TOP TWIST                    4           10 ea. side       1:00 min.