I have a core Ab routine, which I stick to 3 days a week: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Depending on time I’ll do more sets, or augment it with other exercises. Some of these exercises probably have common names, but I don’t know what they are; I’ve just picked them up over the last year.
I don’t have a lot of room, nor do I have much equipment, so I picked exercises that I can do quietly in my home office. I have a small area rug, and I put down a folded quilt for padding. I do have a weight/exercise bench in the laundry room for doing free weights.
Timed Front Crunches: 24
I put my hands behind my head or neck, my feet flat on the floor, my knees pointing up. I raise my shoulders up off the floor and hold for a 2-count. Be careful not to “pull” your head with your hands, it just strains your neck.
Timed Side Crunches: 24 each side.
Similar to the Front Crunches, I push my knees to the side to touch the floor (or as much as I can flex them), and raise my shoulders off the floor and hold for a 2-count. I try to twist my body to the opposite side from my knees to get the maximum range of muscle.
Bicycle Timed Crunches: 12 to 24 each side
Similar to the Front Crunches, but I twist my left elbow to my right knee, and alternate. When I’m feeling energetic, I keep my legs off the floor for the entire set; that is, I stretch out the alternate leg, but keep it an inch off the floor.
Legs and arms stretched out, I raise my legs straight up and try to touch my toes… okay, my knees with my fingers.
Just like a regular push-up, but I’m consciously holding my stomach muscles flat. In essence, I turn it into a moving plank.
Decline Situps: 48
Yeah, I know that they say situps aren’t all that wonderful, but I can set my weight bench to about a 30º angle, and I hook my feet under a support. Sometimes I will hold a weight on my chest for a little more resistance.
That’s the core routine. I started with 12 reps of each a while ago, and worked up in increments of 6. Sometimes I’ll do12 reps, then switch to another exercise, and come back around for a second set. Sometimes I do all 24 at once. Sometimes I skip the sit-ups and do some other body core exercise, or perhaps go for another round of the above, but only 12 instead of 24. When the number gets easy, I add another 6 reps to the routine. I try always to make sure that the muscles I’m working are actually sore by the last few reps.