I don't know about you, but for me, my abs are the the most annoying part of my body during a workout. I'm a total workout fiend, and I don't know what it is that makes me get so frustrated about ab exercises. Maybe it's because it takes a little more effort to work your abs than the rest of your body. Well, make that a lot more effort. It is what it is, unfortunately. You probably don't exactly love ab workout either because let's be real here, who does? They're super irritating and are usually something that you totally and completely dread. But they're pretty important, especially if you feel like wearing a bikini every once in a while. If you're an ab workout hater like me, you might be looking for ways to work your abs that aren't as annoying as just sitting there doing crunches on the floor. Here are 15 more exciting and definitely weird ways to work your abs. You won't be sorry and you will definitely love the results.
15 Hang Out With Kids
Spending some time with the kids in your life is a great way to sneak in a workout since they require a lot of chasing and picking up. Not that you should consider having a child solely for the reason of the future potential for calorie burning, of course, but hopefully you weren't thinking that, anyway. But if you have some friends with babies who you've been meaning to visit, now might be a good time to head over and offer your babysitting services. Try hanging out with a two-year-old for a day and then tell me your abs aren't sore. They totally will be. Even better if you can turn this into a way to make money as well, such as perhaps selling your babysitting services. There might be some room for improvisation here that could include animals, like maybe a strong session of throwing a frisbee for a dog could work you out as well. The point is to play and move your body and get a sneaky workout in while you do it.
14 Flex Your Abs While You Drive
Even more subtle moves like flexing your abs can help add definition, and this is something that you can do anytime, anywhere. Some call this move the ab vacuum. Isn't that the best phrase ever?! What you want to do is pull in your belly button as far as you can and hold it there for ten to 20 seconds at a time before releasing and repeating as many times as you want. Of course, this move isn't going to help you burn fat per se, but it is going to workout the deeper transversus abdominis muscles. When those aren't getting enough of a workout they can lead to that poochy type thing happening, which is not what we want. When you get in the habit of strengthening ab muscles, what will happen is when you're at rest your muscles will stop dropping out so much and start to hold everything in.
13 Get Physical
You've probably heard that sleeping with someone does burn some calories... even though, of course, it's not exactly a replacement for exercise. But you can still totally tone your abs, depending on the position. Whoever is on top is most likely to get the best ab workout, so be sure to claim the upper position at least some of the time. You don't have to think about working your abs while you're doing it, of course, just keep in mind that switching things up is good for the bod. As a huge bonus, being on top will make the experience much more enjoyable for you, which is the entire point anyway. If you don't think of this as an ab workout, seriously just try it once and see what you think. You can always tell your boyfriend that you're trying to work your abs. He'll be happy either way, so it's not like he's going to turn you down.
12 Grab A Hula Hoop
Hula hooping is not just for kids, so go ahead and embrace your inner child because that's one great way to work your abs. Weighted hula hoops can be used to tone your midsection and it's actually really fun. Some hula hoop workouts can burn up to 200 calories in 20 minutes, and once you get the hang of it, it's something you can easily do while watching TV or listening to music. Hula hooping requires a lot of effort to keep it going, which is why it's a good workout. If the hoop starts to drop you generally have to speed it back up to regain control. When it starts to drop squatting down can help you get the power back in your legs to hoist it back up again. There are different positions that you can get into to make hula hooping an even more powerful workout, such as slightly leaning forward or testing out different levels of stances.
11 Go For A Run
Running on a treadmill or outside is a really great ab workout, as unlikely as that seems. Something about the side to side movement of the arms while you're swinging those bad boys can really engage the abs. This is probably also because you have to keep the core engaged to avoid toppling over while you're running along. Anyone who doesn't run a lot is sure to notice the ab soreness that pops up the next day. However, not everyone loves a good run. To make the concept of a run more appealing try breaking it up into intervals that alternate sprints, jogs, and even walking at an incline if you're on the treadmill. Sprints are obviously going to be the highest intensity of the three, but if you can try to see the fun in them sometimes they're even more bearable than the jogging portion which can be sort of boring. Pretend you're a kid on the playground again for motivation.
10 Do Plank
Planks are pretty great for working the whole body, since of course you have to hold yourself up while you do planks and, oh yeah, you're supporting your entire body weight. Planks are also a really good way to work your abs without feeling like you're actually doing an ab exercise. No crunches here. The act of having to hold in your midsection is really good for toning the muscles in the way that you want them to tone as well, because you're naturally wrapping them inward as opposed to bulging them outward as you sometimes do when you're doing a sit up or a crunch. When you are doing a plank you just have to make sure that you are pulling your abs in so that your body doesn't dip at the midsection, which not only puts unnecessary stress on your back but it also won't be properly working the abs. Also, remember to breathe while you're holding plank, or it's going to feel about a million times worse.
9 Try Bridge Pose
The bridge pose is sort of an anomaly when it comes to ab exercises because you get to leave your head, back, and feet on the ground. It's a pretty typical yoga pose that's also pretty popular in pilates and barre classes. To do bridge pose, you basically just lay on your back and put your legs at a 90-degree angle, and then lift your hips off the ground until they form a straight line down from your knees to head. The move is very low impact, and yet simply lifting your hips up like that can really tone your abs... all while you are still half lying down on the floor. In yoga, you can take bridge pose to the next level and get into wheel pose, which is different and can look kind of crazy. Wheel is pretty awesome for stretching your body so if you feel strong with bridge pose, you might consider the transition as well.
8 Do Aerial Yoga
Aerial yoga is basically a yoga class that involves you being in a fabric hammock. You won't necessarily be in the hammock the whole time but will be using it as a tool to work with gravity instead of against it. You can hold onto the hammock to take a pose deeper or if you want more room to stretch when you're getting into a pose while dangling from it. The hammock is safely suspended from the ceiling just a couple of feet off the ground so it's about as safe as normal yoga, but it gives you a greater opportunity to lengthen and tone your body than just doing normal yoga on a mat does. If you're looking to expand your range of motion or your flexibility the aerial yoga is a really great option. And of course, all of this tones your abs, since you definitely need to address your core from all angles if you really want to be fit.
Bet you thought squats were just for getting that booty popping right? Nope, that's definitely not the case. The goblet squat is actually really effective for torching calories and toning your abs thanks to the fact that you have to keep your core engaged throughout the process. To perform the squat, you will need a single dumbbell that is heavy enough to feel like you're doing something with it. Hold the dumbbell with both of your hands at chest level, and then stand with your feet slightly wider than hip length apart. When you perform the actual squat you will bend at the knees and the hips and go down as far as you can possibly go. Well, without falling over or dropping the weight of course. When you are lowered all the way down, your elbows should be between your knees. Then you raise back up to the starting position, keeping your abs engaged the whole time. Do 12 to 15 reps or whatever you can handle.
6 Go Dancing
Dancing of any kind is a great ab workout... and it won't feel like an ab workout at all. Which will make you love this even more. Another bonus about dancing is that it is also a great cardio activity, and cardio is crucial for getting your abs on point. You're never going to see your ab muscles under there if you aren't burning enough fat off to let the muscles show through. Not that looking fit should be your only goal since having strong ab muscles is safe for the body, but most people with ab goals would like to be able to see them to some extent. If you don't actually like to hit the dance club and boogie down, you can also find a lot of dance-themed workout classes that cater to any dance level. Those will focus on movements in particular where the body is going to get the best workout possible, while having a lot at the same time.
5 Do Roll-ups In Bed
You don't even have to get out of bed for this one. We know, you're totally into this idea. We are too. To do a roll-up in bed, kick off the covers and stretch out with your feet and legs straight in front of you. Lift your arms so that they are directly above your head, and then with one smooth but slow motion start to sit up and end so that you are reaching towards your toes. Once you reach that position, count to five as you slowly roll back down and repeat about 15 times. The key is to keep your abs engaged and make this movement slow enough that you keep working the whole time. If you move too quickly on the drop down the momentum will take you back down as opposed to your ab muscles, so don't do that. You want the movement to be pretty difficult, because that means it's working, so stick with it.
4 Sit On A Stability Ball
It may sound hard and silly, but swapping out your desk chair for a stability ball is a great way to keep your core engaged throughout the day. Since you're sitting on a ball instead of relaxing in a chair there is more work to be done as far as keeping the body engaged to make sure that you don't just roll off of it. It can also be good for people who like to fidget thanks to the bounce factor and the fact that you have a little more freedom to wiggle around than you generally do in a chair. But if you're going to use this technique it's important to make sure that you get a ball that's the proper height for your desk, and also that you don't slouch on the ball. When you're sitting on the ball your thighs should be parallel to the floor and your gaze should fall to the center of your computer screen without discomfort.
3 Improve Your Posture
Start paying attention to your posture and improving it and you will notice that your abs start to improve too. Holding bad posture means that your body is out of alignment and you will start to overwork certain muscles that don't need to be affected. Good posture means that the shoulders are back and relaxed, your head sits tall, and your abs are engaged. To stand or sit up straight you have to keep your ab muscles engaged, so you can be certain that when you are slouching around that you aren't giving your abs the attention that they deserve. Keeping good posture can even just make you taller and thinner since it lengthens out the body, which another thing to keep in mind. Of course, good posture and strong abs are a two-way street so the more ab work you do the easier it will be to keep good posture.
2 Eat Right
You've probably heard the phrase "abs are made in the kitchen" and it's pretty true. It's pretty much impossible to get your abs in tip top shape if you aren't eating right, both because you won't be able to see them but also because abs are a muscle like the rest and you need to get enough protein to build the muscle. The cleaner you can eat the better you'll be off for a lot of reasons. When you food that is unprocessed and in its natural state it has more of the vitamins and minerals that you need from it. Unprocessed carbs still retain the all important fiber that you need to slow down the digestion of it, and natural fats are actually good for you. It's when food becomes processed that it ceases to be healthy because there are fats and sugars added to make it taste better, as well as salt to make it stay fresh. Portion sizes get thrown off when food is processed as well.
1 Do Some Leg Lifts
Doing leg lifts is relatively painless and is definitely a really good way to engage your abs when you're just standing around or brushing your teeth or something. You can test out different types of leg lifts whether you're sweeping your legs to the side or pulling them directly up, depending on how much space you're working with. Of course as always the important thing is to make sure that you keep your abs engaged and zipped up the whole time so that the movements will be targeting the right muscles. Brushing your teeth or waiting for the coffee to brew are actually really good times to sneak in some small workouts, and every little bit counts. You can incorporate in some squats, or even do a couple plank push-ups against the counter for good measure. Yup, you'll soon be pretty into working your abs in all these strange and unique ways.