How to get abs the easy way

Susannah Hickling 28 June 2022

Want a flatter stomach and a stronger core, but prefer to steer well clear of the gym? Try these easy tips to build your abs without working too hard

Don’t expect miracles

Only the very lean, who have no abdominal fat at all (and that’s not many of us), are likely to be able to achieve a washboard stomach.

But the important thing is to make your ab muscles strong enough to support your back and to enable you to turn, twist and lift without any issues.

Just aim to be a healthy weight and do some well-targeted exercises.

Zip up an imaginary pair of jeans

For example, when you’re walking for fitness—you should be aiming at 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week—imagine you have a zip along the midline of your abdomen.

"Visualise yourself zipping up a tight pair of jeans, and feel your torso lengthen and your abdomen firm up"

Visualise yourself zipping up a tight pair of jeans, and feel your torso lengthen and your abdomen firm up. Keeps your abs zipped and your bottom tucked under for the entirety of the walk.

This will strengthen your core.

Check your posture

Set the alarm on your phone and do the same zipping exercise once an hour, even when you’re not walking.

Stand on one foot

Here’s an easy one. When you’re in a queue, lift one foot off the floor (not too high obviously if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself) and try to balance.

"When you’re in a queue, lift one foot off the floor and try to balance"

You should feel your back and abdominal muscles coming to your aid to help you keep your body stable. Alternate your feet.

At home, this is something you can do when you wash up or clean your teeth.

Always use your abs when you warm up

Rather than walking or marching to warm up for a workout, spend five to ten minutes working on your abs instead. It will warm you up just as well and build muscle at the same time.

Try this NHS-recommended abs workout.

Do a pilates class

Older woman doing pilates on yoga mat in front of laptopPilates is an ideal low-key form of exercise for strengthening your core 

While you might not be keen on doing weights and machines in the gym, a pilates session once a week will benefit your abs and core, as well as your legs and arms.

A class with a certified instructor will give best results. Then follow up at home with a pilates video—there’s an endless selection of tutorials on YouTube.

Try a handbag (or briefcase) side bend

Stand upright with your bag in your right hand, your palm turned in and your feet shoulder width apart.

Slowly bend to your right, allowing the bag to drop down your right leg as low as you can, until you feel a stretch along your left side. Keep your body facing forward.

Slowly return to upright, repeat between ten and 20 times and then switch hands.

Exercise in front of the box

During TV commercial breaks, sit on the edge of your chair and lift your feet off the floor, bringing your knees up to your chest. Lower and repeat the exercise up to 15 times. 

Read more: 7 Steps to getting fit the easy way

Read more: 5 Reason you're not losing weight

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