All too often when people think about ab workouts, they just think of sit ups and crunches. While these types of exercise are important, particularly if you're trying to build a six pack, for real core strength you need to train all of your abdominal muscle groups.
We've selected a program of eight different resistance band core exercises you can do to make sure you're covering all the bases when it comes to training your abs.
Banded standing knee tuck
This resistance band ab workout is a variation on the standard knee tuck which uses a band to increase the amount of muscle training on each repetition. Start off by placing your resistance band around your ankles, place your feet shoulder width apart and clasp your hands together behind your head with your elbows out to the side. Now, lift your right knee up and inward, keeping your left foot firmly on the floor. At the same time, bring your left elbow down (without unclasping your hands) so that it almost touches your right knee. Repeat with the left knee and right elbow to complete one rep.
Crunches make the perfect resistance band workouts. For the bicycle crunch variation, start off lying on your back with your hands clasped behind your head, and your legs raised off the ground with your knees bent. Loop a resistance band around the arches of your feet. Now, push out with first one leg and then the other in a cycling motion, keeping your legs elevated. As you push each leg out, bring the elbow on the same side upwards and inwards, and pull the opposite leg back so your knee almost meets your elbow.
Side plank with leg lift
Begin this exercise by placing a resistance band around your legs above the knee, and then getting into a side plank position. Your lower leg should be bent at the knee and your weight should be spread between your knee and your elbow/forearm. Your upper leg should be straight. Moving from the hip, raise your upper leg as high as you can, stretching the band. You should be able to lift your upper leg to between 30 and 45 degrees from the horizontal. Don't forget to switch sides and train your other leg with the side plank exercise.
Horizontal scissors exercise
For this exercise, lie on your back on the floor, or on a gym mat. Loop a resistance band around your calves. Start off with your legs elevated from the hip, so your feet are around 6 to 8 inches off the floor. Now, spread your legs outwards into an open scissor shape, controlling the movement to keep it smooth, and returning to the starting position to complete a single rep.
Vertical scissors exercise
For this variation of the scissors exercise above, start in the same position, but instead of lifting your feet only a few inches from the floor, your legs should be positioned vertically. In a similar way as before, extend your legs outwards from the hip, forming a V shape, and then returning to the center. Combining both the scissor drills makes for a great abs workout with resistance bands.
Mountain climber exercise
This resistance band ab exercise combines core strength training with rapid movement. Start in a plank position with your weight balance between your hands (shoulder width apart, arms vertical) and toes, and your resistance band looped around the arches of your feet. Now, while keeping your core tightened, alternate bringing your knees quickly forward to your chest and then back to the starting position. As your form improves, try to build speed, but without losing control of the movements.
Resistance band deadlift
If you don't have access to a barbell, then this resistance bands workout can train exactly the same muscle groups as a deadlift. First, choose a band with the correct resistance for your abilities to avoid straining or injuring your muscles. Looping the band under your feet and gripping it in both hands, get into a semi squat position, as you would for a regular deadlift and then straighten up, using your leg and glute muscles and keeping your core and back stable. Pause at the peak, and then return to the starting position in a single controlled movement.
Russian twist exercise
For this exercise, you'll need a flat resistance band (i.e. not a loop). Or, if you have a long looped band, you can double it over for the same effect. Start in a rowing style position, seated on the floor, knees slightly bent, feet up. Loops the band from one hand, around the soles of your feet and to the other hand. Bring your right hand across your legs and down to the floor to the left of your knees. Then, return to the starting position and continue the movement smoothly with your left hand leading, and then back to the middle to complete a single rep.
Adding exercises with resistance bands to your training program helps you to build both strength and speed. As you increase the strength of your resistance bands, exercises require even more effort, so you can improve your muscle tone much more effectively than by doing the equivalent exercises without a band.