Ab Exercises for the Bed

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You don't have to get out of bed to get a quality core workout in. (Image: Solovyova/iStock/Getty Images)

When the alarm goes off, you know you need to get up and get a workout in — but your comfy pillows and soft sheets make you want to hit snooze and snuggle back in. If it happens to be ab day, though, you can do that workout without ever leaving the comfort of your bed.

The benefits of core work aren't limited to exercises you do at the gym, so if you can manage to open your eyes and sit up, then you can do a short ab workout on your very own mattress.

1. Glute Bridge

As the name suggests, this exercise works your glutes. However, it also activates your abs and hips.

HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back — if you’re not there already! — and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the bed and positioned about hip-width apart. Lift up your tailbone, pushing up your tush so your upper body makes a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.

Contract your abs by pulling your belly button in toward your spine. Hold this position for 30 seconds — make sure to continue breathing while doing so. Lower your body, take a breather and then repeat.

Tip

You can take this move a bit further by turning around so the top of your head is facing the bottom of the bed. Place your feet on the top of the bed’s headboard and lift your tailbone. It should feel a bit harder than if you had your feet flat on the mattress.

2. Marching Glute Bridge

This exercise builds on the foundation of the standard glute bridge.

HOW TO DO IT: Get back into that starting position for the glute bridge, press your heels in and lift your glutes up into the half-bridge pose. Contracting both your abs and your glutes, lift your right foot up while you bring your right knee in toward your right shoulder. Return your foot back to the bed.

Still in the half-bridge position, bring your left knee in toward the left shoulder. Return the foot back to the mattress to complete one rep. Continue to alternate for a total of 10 to 15 repetitions.

3. V-Ups

The unsteady surface of the mattress will make your core work even harder during this exercise.

HOW TO DO IT: Move your body far enough down the bed so you can extend your arms above your head. Grasp your hands together. Stretch out your legs with your feet positioned together.

On an exhale, keeping your core engaged, lift your arms and legs up at the same time. As your legs come up, push them out to form a “V” shape. Touch your hands to your feet. Lower your body back to the starting position to complete one rep. Do 10 to 15 reps, or as many as you can without sacrificing form.

Tip

Don’t use momentum to swing your arms and legs up, but rather strength from your core muscles.

Cape Town, South Africa
Stretch out your whole body after your in-bed workout. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

4. Leg Lift with Knee In

HOW TO DO IT: Roll over so you’re lying on your right side. Bend your right knee so your foot is behind you. Place your left hand on your left hip, and use your right hand to support your head. Extend your left leg so it forms a straight line — keep those toes pointed! — then lift it toward the ceiling.

In one smooth motion, bend the knee and bring it toward your chest. Lift the leg back up to the ceiling and then, using control, return it to the beginning position. Complete 10 repetitions, and then roll over to repeat on the other side.

5. Toe Taps

HOW TO DO IT: Move yourself down to the end of the bed, so your tailbone is near the edge. Lie down so your spine is in a neutral position. On an exhale, bring your legs into a tabletop position. Contract your ab muscles.

On the next exhale, lower one foot towards the floor. Bring it back up and repeat on the other side to complete one rep. Do 10 repetitions.

Tip

If you can't keep your spine in a neutral position -- meaning your back arches out of the mattress -- when your toes hit the floor, only lower your foot as far as you can without arching your back.

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