8-Minute Ab Exercises

8-Minute Ab Exercises

The fast-paced lifestyle of most people leaves little time for exercise. You know it's important to get regular exercise, but you don't have an hour or more each day to workout. Working out your abs not only gives you a flat, toned stomach, but also helps strengthen your core for greater strength and stability. You can get flatter abs and a stronger core in 8 minutes a day doing fun and easy-to-do exercises. You can create your own routine from effective ab exercises.

Warm-Up and Cooldown
Before you do any exercise, warm up your muscles to help reduce your risk of injury by preparing your muscles and joints for more vigorous exercise. Your warm-up can consist of any light exercise that increases your heart rate and gets your blood flowing. Brisk walking, jogging or jumping rope for 5 to 10 minutes are effective ways to warm up. Cooldown by walking and then stretching your muscles.

Crunches effectively target all of your ab muscles for a stronger core in only 8 minutes each day. You can do crunches on the floor or you can spice up your 8-minute crunch workout by adding a stability ball. Sit on the stability ball and lean back until you feel your abs tighten as you try to keep your body stable and support your weight. You'll get a good ab workout when you lean back and then pull your upper body forward. Do crunches for 2 minutes and then rest for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat until you exercise for 8 minutes.

The obliques are the abdominal muscles on each side of your waist, which is also the area that is prone to those annoying love handles. Some very effective abdominal exercises that are specifically designed to help work out your obliques include side planks and oblique twists. Perform the side plank by lying on your left side with your elbow directly under your shoulder. Balancing on your left forearm and the left side of your foot, lift your body off the ground with both legs extended and stacked together. Keep your body in a straight line, contract your obliques, hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the right side. For the oblique twists, grab a medicine ball to add additional resistance if you're looking for more challenge. Do 2 minutes of each exercise, rest for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat for 8 minutes.

Cardio Plus Workout
Abdominal exercises will strengthen your ab muscles, but unless you burn off the extra layers of belly fat with cardio exercise, you won't see your six pack. Combine cardio for fat burning with ab-building bodyweight exercises to slim, tone and firm your abdomen. Start by jumping rope for 60 seconds to get your heart beating faster and to help your body burn fat. Do V sit-ups, the bicycle, side planks and the Pilates 100 for 60 seconds each. Jump rope for 60 seconds between each exercise for an 8-minute, fat-blasting ab workout.