While the sit-up has been the historical choice for doing abs exercises at home, it is by no means the only option for toning and strengthening the abs. Doing abs exercises at home can be easy and quick, and it saves you the trip to a gym to use their specialized equipment. To do most of the abs exercises described here at home, one may want to consider purchasing a yoga mat or other home exercise mat, since many of the exercises are performed while lying on the ground; they can be somewhat uncomfortable when done on a bare hard surface.
Bicycle kicks are a good place to start when doing abs exercises at home. To perform the bicycle kicks, lie flat on the ground with the hands laced behind the head, or simply resting at the sides of the body. Lift the legs so the thighs are perpendicular to the body and the shins are parallel to the floor. Slowly extend one leg outward until it is straight, then return it to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Repeat this motion for several repetitions, making sure to engage the core muscles of the abs, groin, and lower back.
Crunches are a good alternative to sit-ups. They are less stressful on the lower back and accomplish the same goal. While lying flat on the ground, lace the hands behind the head. Raise the legs until the thighs are perpendicular to the body. Crunch at the abs by raising the head and shoulders slightly off the ground, and simultaneously pulling the thighs inward toward the body. Release, then repeat several times. This exercise can be enhanced with the use of a stability ball. Instead of lying on the ground, position the stability ball near the upper back and shoulders, then engage core muscles by planting the feet firmly on the ground.
Abs exercises at home must be done without any bulky or specialty equipment, so the plank pose is an invaluable addition to the abs workout. To perform this pose, lie flat on the ground, face down. Position the arms underneath the torso with the weight of the body resting on the forearms. Point the toes toward the ground as though performing a push-up, then lift the body so it is off the ground and the weight is resting on the forearms completely. Engage the abs muscles to hold the body straight, like a wooden plank. Hold this position for five to seven seconds, then rest and repeat.