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7 Effective Home Workouts That Work the Rectus Abdominis

Exercises to sculpt your rectus abdominis (Image via Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto)
Exercises to sculpt your rectus abdominis (Image via Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto)
Natalie P.

The rectus abdominis is the very top layer of your abs. This is what forms the six-pack appearance. It is located at the center of the core.

Incorporating some rectus abdominis work three to four times a week will work wonders for those baby muscles we work so hard for.

The best part? Most exercises that target this area don’t require any weights or resistance, so you can even do them at home. Of course, you can choose to add some resistance as you progress.


7 best rectus abdominis exercises that you can do at home

Get a six-pack at home (Image via Unsplash/Jonathan Borba)
Get a six-pack at home (Image via Unsplash/Jonathan Borba)

Let’s take a look at some of the best exercises to shred your rectus abdominis:

1) Plank hold

This is a popular isometric hold among exercisers of all ages and levels of fitness. This can be performed as a warm-up before starting other ab exercises.

Here's how you can do a proper plank hold:

  • Get onto all fours and prop yourself on your elbows, allowing your forearms to support the weight of your body. Straighten out your legs and extend them back until your entire body is supported by your elbows and toes.
  • Brace your core. The tightening action of the muscles will help engage them and keep your body in the plank position without your hips dropping or protruding upwards.
  • Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds. As you progress, you can increase the time you hold it for.
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2) Hollow hold

This is another isometric hold that will make your rectus abdominis burn. Here's how you can do a proper hollow hold:

  • Start by lying face-up on the floor. Ensure your lower back is flat on the ground and raise your legs up slowly. Hold them straight at an angle between 15 to 30 degrees off the ground.
  • Raise your arms off the ground. Point your hands towards your feet and hold your arms at that angle.
  • Hold this pose for 15 to 20 seconds. As you progress, you can increase the time you hold it for.
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3) Sit-ups

Sit-ups are a slightly more challenging variation of the popular ab exercise - crunches. They engage your rectus abdominis by contracting and expanding them.

Here's how you can do proper sit-ups:

  • Start by lying face-up on the floor and bending your legs at your knees, pointing them toward the ceiling.
  • Cross your arms in front of your chest. This is the starting position.
  • Raise your shoulders off the ground and sit up straight, lifting one vertebra off the ground at a time. Straighten your spine once you have sat up.
  • In the same way you sat up, lower yourself back down slowly and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this move for 12 to 15 reps.
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4) Lying leg raises

This movement demands additional work by the rectus abdominis to keep the legs up in the air without touching the floor.

Here's how you can do proper lying leg raises:

  • Start by lying face-up on the floor. Tuck your hands just below your lower back or buttocks.
  • Ensure your lower back is flat on the ground and raise your legs up slowly and hold them straight up in front of you at an angle of 90 degrees from the floor.
  • Slowly lower them back down till they are an inch or two above the ground.
  • Repeat this move for 12 to 15 reps.
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5) Reverse crunches

This move gives your abs a good squeeze when you contract them. You can start with bent legs and straighten them as you progress.

Here's how you can do proper reverse crunches:

  • Start by lying face-up on the floor. Lift your legs up and keep them bent at the knees, at an angle of 90 degrees. Keep your hands by your sides to keep yourself stable as you perform this exercise.
  • Drop your feet down to the ground while ensuring your lower back is firmly against the ground.
  • Bring your legs back up and crunch them into your core. Lift your hips off the ground and kick your feet higher up, keeping your knees bent still.
  • Slowly lower your hips back down to the floor and bring your feet to the floor as well.
  • Repeat this move for 12 to 15 reps.
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6) V-ups

This move demands additional work by the rectus abdominis in order to pull your legs off the ground and raise them upward.

Here's how you can do a V-up:

  • Start by lying face-up on the floor with your legs out straight in front of you and your arms straight out above your head. Hold your arms and legs an inch or two off the ground.
  • Lift your upper body and legs off the ground, making sure your arms and legs are straight. Lift them to the highest point you can make them meet.
  • Bring your legs slowly back to the ground as your arms also rotate back over your head, and you return your head and spine to the ground too.
  • Repeat this move for 12 to 15 reps.
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7) Beast hold

This isometric hold looks simple to the eyes, but don’t let looks deceive you. This hold adds tension to your rectus abdominis, strengthening it as you keep your body still.

Here's how you can do a proper beast hold:

  • Get on your hands and knees. Ensure your core is engaged and keep your back straight.
  • Round your shoulders as if to push the ground away with your hands. Lift your knees off the ground, so your entire weight is balanced on your hands and toes.
  • Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds. As you progress, you can increase the time you hold it for.
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While exercise is important, remember that abs are also largely made in the kitchen. Eat clean, hydrate well, don't skip cardio, and you’ll be well on your way to having those coveted abs.

Perform these exercises three to four times a week, and check the mirror in a month to see the results. Keep pushing!


live poll LIVE POLL

Q. Do you work your abs regularly?

Not really.

Pretty regular with it.

Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh

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