10 Exercises to Do for Beach-Ready Abs

Summer has arrived, and it’s time to get in shape for your upcoming trip to the beach or vacation spent poolside. We spoke with Teresa Oxford, brand ambassador of Nation-Wide Fitness Franchise iLoveKickboxing, to get some expert advice on just how achievable beach-ready abs can be. According to Oxford, these 10 exercises will have you feeling your best in no time.    

1. Elbow plank

man holding a plank exercise

Man performing planks|Source: iStock

Begin in a push-up position, placing elbows on the ground along with your hands. Keeping your head up and gaze forward to help with proper posture, tighten up the abs and breathe normally. Hold for 30-60 second intervals.

2. Reverse crunch

Lie flat on your back, looking up toward the ceiling, and bend your legs at a 90-degree angle to form an “L” shape. “Lift your legs up and tilt your hips so that your thighs point straight to the ceiling,” Oxford says. “Bring your legs back down but avoid touching your feet to the floor by an inch or two. While maintaining that shape, bring your knees up to your chest while exhaling, and that becomes one repetition. Go ‘knees to chest’ and then bring ‘feet to floor’ (but don’t touch the floor!).” Do 10 to 20 times.

3. Mountain climbers

man at the gym workout out

Man getting ready to do a mountain climber | Source: iStock

Start in a push-up position and bring your right knee up to your left elbow while leaving your left foot on the ground, maintaining proper alignment of your head with your gaze focused forward. Stimulate running up a hill by alternating movement from left to right. With your abs engaged, move as fast as you can for 45-60 seconds at a time.

4. Pulse-ups

Lie flat on your back with your feet together, pointing them up toward the sky. Keep your hands flat on the floor, palms down by your sides, so your body forms a 90-degree angle. Raise our toes straight up, reaching higher as you push your feet up and get your butt and lower back off the floor in a slow and controlled movement. Pulse up and down for 10-15 reps at a time, breathing out while pulsing up.

5. Leg lifts

While lying on your back with both hands under your butt, raise both legs from the floor, straight up to the ceiling, forming a 90-degree angle. “Be careful not to go past that point, as it will disengage your abdominal muscles,” Oxford said. “Your head can stay on the ground, but you’ll engage more of your abs if you keep it off the floor.” Do 10 to 20 reps with each leg.

6. Criss-cross

Lie flat on your back and place hands underneath your butt, palms down. Lifting your legs 6 to 12 inches off the floor, alternate one over the other in a scissor-type motion. Keeping your head lifted from the ground, focus your gaze to your feet, but make sure you don’t pull your chin all the way to your chest. Do 15 to 30 reps of these.

7. Bicycles 

man working on his core at the gym

Man doing bicycle ab exercises | Source: iStock

Begin lying on the floor with both hands placed behind your head, gently lifting it off the ground. Alternating sides, bring each knee toward your chest, with both feet and legs off the ground throughout the exercise. For more of a twist, bring each knee to the opposite elbow. Do this for 30 to 60 seconds.

8. Cross crunch

Start by lying flat on your back with legs bent, feet flat on the floor. Keeping one hand behind your head at a time, reach the other hand out and up, slightly crossing your body. “Execute a ‘crunch’ by lifting your head and shoulders off the ground in a slow and controlled movement,” Oxford said. “Exhale as you reach up, inhale as you come back down. Avoid brining your head and shoulders back to the floor until all reps have been completed. This will make your abs work harder.” Do 15 to 30 reps on each side.

9. Side plank

Lie on one side, and prop yourself up on one elbow to get into a sideways plank position. Keeping hips off the ground, maintain a straight line with your body, being aware not to dip in any areas. Tighten abs and arm, and hold for 30 to 60 seconds on each side.

10. Windshield wiper

Begin by lying flat on your back with your arms straight out to each side, palms down. Lift legs straight up, keeping legs pressed firmly together throughout the exercise. Alternating left and right sides, drop your legs to the floor, making windshield wiper movements. Repeat back and forth 10 to 20 times.

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