Welcome to the best ab workouts at home guide, where I will give you some of the best exercises you can use to build thicker, more defined abs according to scientific literature, personal experience, and general effectiveness on people who are actively using these exercises.
The key for effective core training is to pick two or three exercises and perform them at the end of your training sessions; two to three times a week.
You can perform the exercises following a standard bodybuilding type “reps and sets” routine, or as supersets for as many reps as possible (AMRAP). There are also some fantastic follow along routine that I will share with you further down in this guide.
For most people, doing these abdominal exercises just three times a week is enough. Some experienced athletes can however perform them much more often due to them requiring a greater stimulation to build muscle.
Table of Contents
The following list is composed from the exercises that proved to have the higher overall EMG activation levels, and overall effectiveness for the three different abdominal regions (lower, medium, upper).
Leg raises proved to be the most efficient exercise for all parts of the abdominal region, and a very effective mass and strength builder. You would surely be missing out by forgoing this exercise. Be aware that leg raises and “toes to bar” are not the same thing.
The leg raises exercise is superior in terms of abdominal work as there is no additional engagement of your back muscles to raise your legs those extra few inches to be able touch the bar.
Something that may be worth trying is to withhold a constant tension by not letting your legs lower fully until abdominal disengagement; stop your legs at the bottom of the movement just before losing tension, as if you were holding a hollow body position.
Ab wheel/ring roll outs
This can be done on your knees at first (be sure to place a sort of soft padding or cushion for protection), and taken up to a full body roll out once sufficient strength is acquired. This exercise proved to have one of the highest levels of EMG activation and should definitely be a part of your routine, if you can do them.
If you don’t have access to an ab wheel, you can also use gymnastics rings to perform this movement.
Weighted double leg thrusts
Along with the ab wheel roll outs and leg raises, these proved to have a high level of EMG activation and a very effective exercise at building defined abs; especially targeting the lower portion of your core. To make them even more effective however, place a small weight between your ankles/ legs.
To perform this exercise, place yourself on the edge of a bench or another, similar surface, and all whilst holding yourself to the edges of the bench, thrust your legs out and back again horizontally.
An all around effective exercise, which once mastered with bodyweight, can be kept a challenge by adding weight; fantastic in terms of progressive tension. Using weight plates will require a partner as you will find that it is nearly impossible to stack more than two plates at once on your upper back, on your own. A weight vest is convenient here if you are going to be doing this movement without any assistance, as you can easily add or remove the evenly spread weight.
Best ab workouts at home – The routine
Perform these exercises either back to back in a circuit or in supersets, or 3 to 4 sets of each exercise, one after the other with 1 minute of rest between each exercise and 45 seconds of rest between each set.
Exercise 1: Legs raises – 3 sets of as many reps as possible
Exercise 2: Ab when roll outs – 3 sets of as many reps as possible
Exercise 3: Weighted double leg thrusts – 3 sets of as many reps as possible
Exercise 4: Weighted planks – As many reps as possible
If you perform these exercises in a cycle style circuit, rest from one to two minutes at the end of a cycle and repeat two to three more times.
My favorite follow along abdominal workouts
There are some great videos on YouTube that you can just follow along at home or at the gym and they will also provide you with great results if done consistently. Most of them require little to no material, the most effective needing at most, a pull up bar.
Follow this awesome playlist if you are looking to challenge yourself with a new kind of ab stimulation and gains.