The 10 Best Bodyweight Abs Exercises Of All Time To Crush Your Core

Transformation time.


Nikolina Ilic |

In case you missed it, your core impacts everything you do, even workouts that you wouldn’t consider to be associated with your abs, exactly. And yep, a strong core means so much more than having societally championed “six-pack abs.” Whether you want to squat heavy weights, improve your balance, hike up the stairs with ease, run fast or long distances, and more, your core plays a major role in your ability to carry out such tasks. (Seriously.) In order to get a strong core to help you with all these activities, though, you’ll need to do bodyweight abs exercises, which is why Sweat trainer Kelsey Wells has helped round up the best-of-the-best ab movements just for you.

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“Training your core is such a crucial part of strength training because it is the support system for lifting weights and can help you to prevent injury. The best way to train your core is through a combination of movements including isometric exercises such as planks as well as rotational exercises like ab bikes,” explains Kelsey. “It is also important to try and include both supine (lying on your back, facing up) and prone (lying on your stomach, facing down) exercises to target your abdominal muscles in different ways. All of my programs have dedicated workouts to build core strength, and I am so stoked to share with you my tried and tested, go-to core exercises.”

These 10 bodyweight abs exercises are inspired by Kelsey’s Low Impact Strength & PWR at Home Programs which are available exclusively in the Sweat app.

They target the abdominal, obliques and lower back muscles to help build strength and stability as well as help to improve posture both during workouts and everyday life. No equipment is required for these bodyweight abs exercises and they can be done at home, in the gym, on their own as a circuit or incorporated into other workouts. If you are wanting to turn this into a quick core workout, perform each exercise for 45 seconds and aim to complete a minimum of two laps to reap the benefits of these exercises.

Warm Up:

Sweat and Kelsey recommend taking a few minutes to warm-up prior to working out (not just when you’re doing these bodyweight abs exercises). 3-5 minutes of cardio, such as jogging in place or skipping, will help increase your heart rate and help warm up your muscles for your session. When possible, Sweat and Kelsey recommend following your cardio with dynamic stretches — such as leg swings and torso twists. This can help to increase your range of motion as well as help to reduce the risk of injury.

The Workout:

Time: 15 minutes

Equipment None

Good for: Abs, core

Instructions: If you are wanting to turn this from random bodyweight abs exercises mixed into your day, to a quick core workout, it is recommended that each exercise is performed for 45 seconds for 2 laps. All exercises can also be incorporated into your workouts both at home or in the gym.

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1. Plank: 45 seconds

Start by placing your forearms (wrist to elbow) firmly on the mat, ensuring that your elbows are directly below your shoulders. Extend both legs behind you and elevate your hips off the mat, resting on the balls of your feet.

Brace your abdominals and ensure that your spine remains in a neutral position. Hold this position.

2. Scissors: 45 seconds

Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat. Bend your knees and position your feet firmly on the mat, ensuring that your hips and knees are together. Imprint your spine into the mat and bring your legs into tabletop position, ensuring that your knees are stacked over your hips, your toes are pointed, and your shins are parallel to (in line with) the floor. Rest your hands gently on your knees.

Inhale. Set your T-zone. Exhale. Tuck your chin into your chest and draw your ribs to your hips to elevate your head, shoulder blades and upper back off the mat, ensuring that your T-zone remains set to prevent the ‘doming’ of your abdominals. At the same time, extend your arms by your sides with palms facing down, ensuring that your arms are parallel to (in line with) the floor. This is your starting position.

Inhale. Reset your T-zone.

Exhale. Lower your right leg towards the mat as far as you can while maintaining an imprinted spine.

3. Straight-Leg Raise: 45 seconds

Lie on your back on a yoga mat. Extend both legs and engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. This is your starting position.

Inhale. Exhale. While keeping your legs extended, slowly raise your legs upwards until they form a 90-degree angle with your hips.

Inhale. Slowly lower your legs to return to the starting position, but without lowering your

4. X plank: 45 seconds

Place both hands on the floor shoulder-width apart and both feet apart behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. Brace your abdominals and maintain a neutral spine, ensuring that your hands are directly below your shoulders. This is your starting position.

Inhale. While stabilising through your abdominals, elevate your hips and release your left hand to reach towards your right foot (or as far as you can).

Exhale. Lower your hips and place your left hand on the mat to return to the starting position.

Inhale. While stabilising through your abdominals, elevate your hips and release your right hand to reach towards your left foot (or as far as you can).

Exhale. Lower your hips and place your right hand on the mat to return to the starting position. Continue alternating between left and right for the specified amount of repetitions. Each repetition is equivalent to one touch of your hand to your foot.

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5. Russian Twist: 45 seconds

With your hands clasped in front of your chest, start seated on a yoga mat with knees bent and heels firmly planted. Lean back slightly so that your abdominals are engaged and you are balancing on your sit bones. Keeping your feet together, raise your feet off the mat and extend your legs slightly. This is your starting position.

While keeping your lower body as still as possible, twist your torso to the right and gently touch your elbow on the mat next to your right hip. If you cannot reach the mat, just twist as far as you can while keeping your lower body still.

Untwist your torso to return to the starting position.

6. Ab Bike: 45 seconds

Start by lying straight on your back on a yoga mat with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your elbows and place your hands behind your earlobes. Gently raise both legs and your head and shoulders off the mat. This is your starting position.

While keeping your right leg extended, bend your left knee and draw it in towards your chest. At the same time, rotate your torso to the left to bring your right elbow to your knee.

Untwist your torso and extend your left knee to return to the starting position. Immediately bend your right knee and draw it in towards your chest and rotate your torso to the right to bring your left elbow to your knee.

Untwist your torso and extend your right knee to return to the starting position. Continue alternating between left and right for the specified number of repetitions, inhaling for four repetitions and exhaling for four repetitions.

7. Plank with Slow Mountain Climber: 45 seconds

Start by placing your forearms (wrist to elbow) firmly on the mat, ensuring that your elbows are directly below your shoulders. Extend both legs behind you and elevate your hips off the mat, resting on the balls of your feet.

Brace your abdominals and ensure that your spine remains in a neutral position.

Keeping your left foot on the floor, bend your right knee and bring it in towards your chest, keeping your foot elevated off the ground. Extend your right leg to return to the starting position.

Repeat on the left side, then slowly and with control continue alternating between sides for the required amount of time. You should feel tension in your shoulders, upper back and core.

8. Deadbug: 45 seconds

Lie on your back on a yoga mat with your arms extended directly in front of your chest and palms facing toward your feet. Bend your knees and bring your legs into tabletop position, ensuring that your knees are stacked over your hips, and your shins are parallel to (in line with) the floor. This is your starting position.

Exhale, gently draw your ribs to your hips to engage your core. Draw your left arm back and down toward the floor, alongside your head. At the same time, extend your right knee and hip to lower your right leg towards the floor. Ensure that your arm and leg are lowering at the same speed and that you maintain a neutral spine.

Inhale. Raise your left arm and right leg to return to the starting position.

Exhale. Draw your right arm back and down towards the floor, alongside your head. At the same time, extend your left knee and hip to lower your left leg towards the floor. Once again, ensure that your arm and leg are lowering at the same speed and that you maintain a neutral spine.

Inhale. Raise your right arm and left leg to return to the starting position. Continue alternating between left and right for the specified number of repetitions.

9. Bent-Leg Raise to Hip Lift: 45 seconds

Lie on your back on a yoga mat with your arms extended directly in front of your chest and palms facing toward your feet. Bend your knees and bring your legs into tabletop position, ensuring that your knees are stacked over your hips, and your shins are parallel to (in line with) the floor. This is your starting position.

Inhale.

Exhale, gently draw your ribs to your hips to engage your core. Draw your left arm back and down toward the floor, alongside your head. At the same time, extend your right knee and hip to lower your right leg towards the floor. Ensure that your arm and leg are lowering at the same speed and that you maintain a neutral spine.

Inhale. Raise your left arm and right leg to return to the starting position.

Exhale. Draw your right arm back and down towards the floor, alongside your head. At the same time, extend your left knee and hip to lower your left leg towards the floor. Once again, ensure that your arm and leg are lowering at the same speed and that you maintain a neutral spine.

Inhale. Raise your right arm and left leg to return to the starting position. Continue alternating between left and right for the specified number of repetitions.

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10. V sit: 45 seconds

bodyweight abs exercise v ups

Start by lying on your back with your arms extended overhead and legs extended and pressed together, this is your starting position.

Whilst maintaining arm and leg extension, contract your abdominals and raise your torso and legs, bending at the hips and reaching for your toes.

Your body should form a ‘V’ shape with your upper body and legs completely off the ground.

You should feel the tension in your core throughout this exercise.

Nailed the bodyweight abs exercises above? Why not try this 4-week bodyweight challenge.

*This article was originally published on Women’s Health AU

READ MORE ON: 15 Minute Workouts Abs Bodyweight Workouts Core Workouts

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