Excessively straining your muscles leads to prolonged fatigue, tiredness and aches. It is the last thing you want happening when you are determined to build muscles. But, due to excessive strain, you are forced to rest your muscles as they cannot take intense exercise any longer. Such scenario is seen quite often while performing abs exercises.
Abs exercises require tremendous energy and when the abs is worked out intensely and frequently, they tend to cramp. It becomes difficult to perform such exercises for longer periods of time. This is a minor setback for people who are keen on building abs fast. But there are alternatives to crunches and other intense exercises that can help in building abs, without straining the muscles.
Advantages of floor abs exercises
No equipment required:
All you need to perform these exercises is a floor mat and nothing else. If the floor is soft enough (wooden floor), even a mat is not needed. There is no need for a gym or equipment to perform these exercises and subsequently, to get results.
Crunches demand brute force and effort which is why an individual cannot do them intensely or regularly for long periods, without breaks. While performing floor exercises for abs, the pressure applied on your core is comparatively less. Due to this, you can perform them regularly, without giving a thought about injuries and stress.
Offers something different:
How long can a person perform crunches alone without getting bored? Even if boredom is not a factor, how long can a person benefit from the same exercise? Workout science has always advocated that variations must be included in every exercise regime. Variations offer something different, and work different muscles in various ways. For instance, performing plain crunches will get you tight abs, but without variations like cross crunches, long arm crunches and jackknife, you cannot have an equally strong upper core. Variations add a new dimension and offer greater benefits for your exercises.
Best floor exercises for abs
There are innumerable floor exercises for abs that are very simple to execute and at the same time are pretty effective. The best thing about floor abs exercises is that that you can improvise and come up with different exercises and variations. Also, abdominal floor exercises allow you to work your spine as well. This is so, because you lie on the flat floor which not only adds resistance but also straightens your spine while doing exercises. Some of the best floor exercises for abs are listed below:
#1. The bicycle:
- Lie down on the floor with your back and limbs resting on the mat.
- Place your fingers on your temple and raise your head up while your back remains glued to the mat.
- Now, raise both your legs till they are at an angle of 45 degrees to the floor.
- Start rotating your legs in circular motion as if you are peddling a cycle.
- Keep doing this for 30 seconds. This represents one set.
- Performing four to five sets with a break of 30 seconds between each, would be ideal.
- Increase or decrease the number of sets according to your ability to perform.
#2. SpiderMan plank:
- Position yourself in a plank position on the mat. Push your left leg up sideways.
- This has to be done as if you are kicking something with your knee.
- The knee should be parallel to the floor and must reach a point above your hip.
- Hold for three seconds and then go back to original position.
- Do the same with the right leg.
- The key here is to maintain perfect stability and balance without tilting your body.
- 10 kicks on each side represent one set. Five sets are ideal for beginners.
#3. Pilates Hundred:
- Lie on the mat with your legs joint and resting.
- Your palms must face down.
- Now, raise your legs together as high as you can without taking the support of your hands.
- Once the legs reach the topmost point and are stable, raise your hands and place them perpendicular to the floor.
- Now pump your hands vigorously from the perpendicular point to the parallel point on the floor.
- Make sure that you breathe deeply while performing this exercise.
- Also, your head must not rest on the floor; your chin must be curled towards your chest.
- 20 vigorous movements represent one set; three to four sets are ideal.
- Make sure you take breaks as this is a tiring exercise.
#4. Opposite arm leg raise:
- Begin with sitting on the mat.
- Your knees must be placed inside your hips, and arms must be placed inside your shoulders.
- Raise your left leg as if it is an extension of your spine or torso.
- Simultaneously, raise your right hand extending it above your head.
- Now, your left leg and right hand are parallel to the floor.
- Hold for five seconds and get back to original position.
- Repeat the same with other leg and hand.
- Make sure that you choose alternate limbs only.
- 10 raises on each leg represent one set and five sets are adequate
#5. Ballet twist:
This is one of the best floor exercises for women. It not only strengthens the core but also twists your torso, hips, lower back and provides a stretch to your spine. It also facilitates better flexibility of the lower back.
- Sit on the floor with your legs joint, extended and resting.
- Your upper body must go back 45 degrees from your hips.
- Support your upper body by resting it on your elbows.
- Now, stretch your left hand high along your ear above your head.
- Without changing the shape of your lower body.
- Twist your upper body in opposite direction of the raised hand (right side).
- Stretch as much as you can, but make sure your bottom is glued to the floor.
- Get back to original position after holding it for five seconds.
- Do the same with the other hand.
- 20 stretches for each hand continuously give you great results.
#6. Single leg stretch:
This is one of the most effective, multi-beneficial floor ab exercises. It can also be termed as one of the best floor leg exercises as well because it not only works your ab muscles but also stretches your hamstrings, thighs and lower back, as well.
- Lie on the mat with your chin curling towards your chest.
- Raise both your legs 12 inches above the ground.
- There should be a small distance between each leg.
- Now bend your left leg and place it towards your chest.
- Place your hands on your knees and press it down towards your chest, assisting them.
- Make sure your entire core and right leg are stable and balanced.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds and get back to original position.
- Do the same with the other leg.
- 20 continuous leg stretches on each leg would suffice.
#7. Floor wiper exercise:
This is a very tough exercise to perform. Though there is no chance of injury, it’s the execution that’s a bit on the tougher side. This is one of the best floor ab exercises that works your entire body and strengthens your core to the maximum.
- Floor wiper exercise basically involves wiping the floor with your legs.
- Stretch your arms sideways and keep your legs joint, straight and resting on the floor.
- Your body is positioned in a ‘T’ shape in the posture.
- Now raise your legs a couple of inches off the floor.
- Use your upper body as a base on which you can start wiping.
- Without touching the floor and without bending your legs, use your hips and lower back to swing your joint legs to reach the left side of your body, in line with your hips.
- Go back to original position and swing it towards the right side.
Do not break the exercise; there must be continuity while performing it. 8 to 10 complete wipes from left to right are ideal for beginners.
Read More: 8 Best Exercises for Upper Body
There is a misconception that only hard core crunches done with high intensity can work your abs muscles well. There are many floor exercises that can easily replace intense crunches. Whenever you feel exhausted due to crunches, and your body doesn’t allow you to do more, you can always opt for floor exercises for abs. Mat exercises can completely replace crunches if the emphasis is solely on core strength. The only drawback with floor exercises for abs is that they won’t get you massive abs. But, they are fun, low intensity and have great internal benefits on the whole and also cause fewer injuries. So, roll out that mat and get rolling!