21 Bodyweight exercises for core muscles

 

If you are looking for bodyweight exercises for core muscles that will help you strengthen and tone them, you have come to the right place! This blog post will provide a selection of effective workouts that you can do at home with no equipment required. We will also provide descriptions of each exercise to help you get started. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

The bodyweight exercises listed below are perfect for beginners, and they can be done anywhere as long as you have a small space available. They all target different muscle groups in the body so that your entire body gets stronger while also improving balance and flexibility. You will notice some overlap between each exercise type because they all work on the abs.

What are the Abs?

The abs are core muscles that run from your shoulders to your hips, and they help support the body when doing an exercise or movement. They also provide stability while standing still, walking upstairs, etc., so it’s essential to work out these muscles regularly for them not only to look great but feel good too! The best bodyweight exercises for the abs work the entire abdominal area and not just one section.

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The following bodyweight exercises for core muscles can be standalone or added to other routines. Pick three or four of your favourites and do them for 20-30 seconds each with no rest in between. Once you have completed all the exercises, rest for 60-90 seconds and then repeat the circuit.

21 Bodyweight Exercises for Core Muscles

If you are impatient, you are bored with reading and want to see the list as I tend to be. Well, I will not hold you up any longer – Let’s get into them.

Scroll to the bottom for Bonus exercises to build your intensity for minimal expense.

Exercise #01: The Plank

The plank is a great bodyweight exercise for the abs because it works not only the front but also the side of the abdominal muscles. It is also effective in strengthening the back, glutes, and hamstrings.

How too :

  • Start by getting into a push-up position but with your forearms on the ground instead of your hands.
  • Make sure that your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can.

Exercise #02: The Scissor Kick

The scissor kick is an excellent exercise for the abs and the obliques.

How too :

  • Lie on your back with your legs in the air and your hands by your sides.
  • Bring one leg down towards the floor while keeping the other leg in the air.
  • Then switch legs. Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire movement.

Exercise #03: The Russian Twist

The Russian twist is a bodyweight exercise for the abs to work all of your core muscles.

How too:

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat,
  •  Lean back slightly to feel some tension in your abdominal muscles.
  •  Lift both legs off of the ground while keeping them straight out front, and bring them back down to the floor.
  • Repeat this motion from side to side as quickly as possible without letting your body touch anything on either side (use a chair or bench if necessary).

Exercise #04: The Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is a bodyweight exercise that works the abs, hip flexors, and obliques.

How too:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Place one hand behind your head while keeping the other arm out to the side for balance;
  • Then lift both legs up in front of you at a 90-degree angle, so they are parallel to each other (not touching).
  • Rotate your torso towards the raised leg while simultaneously bringing your opposite elbow to your knee,
  • Then switch legs and elbow and repeat

Exercise #05: The Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch is a bodyweight exercise that targets the abs and lower back.

How too :

  •  Lie on your back on the floor with both feet flat and your hands by your sides.
  • Bring your knees in towards your chest with your feet together.
  • Then use your abs to curl your hips off the ground and towards your chest.
  • Hold this position for a second before lowering them back down to the starting position.

Exercise #07: The Pilates Scissor

The pilates scissor is a bodyweight exercise that targets the abs, obliques, and glutes.

How too:

  • Lie on your back with both legs in the air and your hands by your sides.
  • Bring one leg down towards the floor while keeping the other leg in the air,
  • Then switch legs. Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire movement.

Exercise #08: The Bird Dog

The bird dog bodyweight exercise targets all of the core muscles.

How too:

  • Get on your hands and knees with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips.
  • Keeping your spine in a neutral position, simultaneously raise one arm and the opposite leg until they parallel the ground.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds before lowering them back down to the starting position,
  • Then switch sides.

Make sure to keep your body in one straight line throughout the entire movement.

Exercise #09: Dead bugs

The dead bug bodyweight exercise is a great way to target the abs, obliques, and glutes.

How too:

  •  Lie on your back on the floor with both legs in the air and your hands by your sides.
  • Bring one leg down towards the floor while keeping the other leg in the air,
  • Then switch legs. Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire movement.

Exercise #10: Shoulder Tap

The shoulder tap bodyweight exercise targets the abs and obliques.

How too:

  • Get into a plank position with your body in one straight line from head to toe (not touching).
  • Lift one hand off the ground and reach it towards your opposite shoulder before bringing it back down;
  • Repeat this motion on each side.

Note: Keep your core engaged the entire time.

Exercise #11:Butterfly sit-ups

The butterfly sit-up bodyweight exercise targets the abs.

How too:

  •  Lie on your back with both legs bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Place one hand behind your head while keeping the other arm out to the side for balance;
  • Then lift your upper body off the ground and towards your feet.
  • Hold this position for a second before lowering them back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat

Exercise #12: High boat to low boat

The high boat to low bodyweight exercise targets the Abs and Obliques.

How too:

  • Lie on your back with both legs bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Place one hand behind your head while keeping the other arm out to the side for balance;
  • Lift your upper body off the ground and towards your feet.
  • Hold this position for a second before lowering them back down to the starting position.
  • This time, however, keep your legs in the air and lower your torso until it’s just above the ground before lifting it back up to the high boat position.

Exercise #13: Side bend

The side bend bodyweight exercise targets the abs and obliques.

How too:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a weight (or can of soup) in your right hand.
  • Bend to the right from the waist, keeping your back straight; pause for a second before returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat the movement on the other side.

Exercise #14: Jackknife

The jackknife bodyweight exercise targets the abs, obliques, and glutes.

How too:

  • Lie on your back on the floor with both legs in the air and your hands by your sides.
  • Bring one leg down towards the floor while keeping the other leg in the air,
  • Then switch legs.
  • Repeat

Note: Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire movement.

Exercise #15: One-arm plank

The one-arm bodyweight exercise targets the abs and obliques.

How too:

  • Lie on your stomach with both arms out to the sides and palms face down;
  • Then lift yourself onto your forearms (keeping your body in one straight line)
  • Hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on each side.

Exercise #15: Hollow Body Rock

The hollow body rock bodyweight exercise targets the abs and obliques.

How too:

  • Lie on your back on the floor with both legs in the air, and your hands and arms stretched out behind your head.
  • Make your body into a Banana shape
  • Rock back and forth.

Note: Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire movement.

Exercise #17: One-Legged Straight Leg Raise

The bodyweight exercise targets the abs and obliques.

How too:

  •  Lie on your back on the floor with both legs in the air and your hands by your sides.
  •  Bring one leg down towards the floor while keeping the other leg in the air,
  •  Then switch legs.

Note: Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire movement.

Exercise #18: Side Plank

The bodyweight exercise targets the abs and obliques.

How too:

  •  Lie on your side with your body in a straight line and your forearm resting on the floor.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds before switching sides.

Exercise #16: C-Curve

The bodyweight exercise targets the abs and obliques.

How too :

  •  Lie on your back with your legs bent at 90 degrees and hands behind your head.
  • Lift both shoulders off the ground as you contract your core muscles,
  • Lower them back down to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for a set number of reps.

Exercise #17: Russian Twist

The bodyweight exercise targets the abs and obliques.

How too:

  •  Sit on the ground with your knees bent and pull your feet towards your body.
  • Lean back a few inches while keeping your back straight,
  • Then twist your torso to the right and touch the floor with your right hand.
  • Reverse the motion to return to the starting position,
  • Twist to the left and touch the floor with your left hand.
  • Continue alternating sides for a set number of reps.

Exercise #17: Leg Raise

How too:

  • Begin by lying down on the floor or a mat.
  • Raise your legs next to each other, with your arms at your sides and legs stretched out next to each other. If you can’t keep them completely straight, keep your legs as straight as possible while lifting them until they are pointed toward the ceiling,
  • Lower them again and be careful to maintain control.
  •  The return journey should take the same time as the ascent.
  • Lower them until they’re just above the ground, then raise them again.

Note: Aim for three sets of ten reps, or perform as many raises as you can in a set time while performing a circuit.

Exercise #18: Bicycle Crunch

The Bicycle crunch is completed by

  •  Lying face-up on the floor with your body in a straight line.
  • Raise one leg off of the ground and bring it towards your body as you bend at the knee and lift both shoulders off of the ground,
  • Then lower them back down to return.
  • Repeat

Exercise #19: V-Crunch

The bodyweight exercise targets the abs and obliques.

How too:

  • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and pull your feet towards your body.
  • Lean back a few inches while keeping your back straight,
  • Then lift your torso and touch your right hand to your left ankle.
  • Reverse the motion to return to the starting position, then touch your left hand to your right ankle.
  • Continue alternating sides for a set number of reps.

Exercise #20: Row your Boat

The Row you boat exercise targets the abs and obliques.

How too:

  • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and pull your feet towards your body.
  • Lean back a few inches while keeping your back straight,
  • Then lift both legs off the ground and hold them straight out in front of you.
  • Row your arms on each side as if you were rowing a boat,
  • Return them to the starting position.
  • Repeat for a set number of reps.

Exercise #20: Crunch

The Main go-to exercise for many seems to be the crunch or situp 

How too:

  • Start by lying on your back with your body in a straight line and legs bent at 90 degrees to perform the crunch.
  • Lift both shoulders off the ground as you contract your core muscles;
  • Roll your shoulders up toward the seated position ( remember to relax your shoulders and neck ),
  •  Lower them back down to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for a set number of reps.

Exercise #21: One-arm plank

The one-arm bodyweight exercise targets the abs and obliques.

How too:

  • Lie on your stomach with both arms out to the sides; palms face down;
  • Lift yourself onto a single arm (keeping your body in one straight line)
  • Hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on each side.

Bonus core exercises with minimal equipment

With the help of a few cheap and practical pieces of equipment, you can easily add some more none bodyweight exercises for your core muscles to this list.

Bonus #01: The Swiss Ball Rollout

The Swiss ball rollout is a bodyweight exercise that targets the abs and lower back.

How too:

  • Start by sitting on top of a Swiss ball with your feet flat on the ground and your body in a straight line.
  • Slowly roll forward by putting your weight on your hands,
  • Extend them as far out in front of you as possible without allowing the ball to roll underneath you;
  • Reverse the motion to return to the starting position.

Bonus #02: The Russian Twist with a Resistance Band

The Russian twist with a resistance band is a bodyweight exercise that targets your core muscles.

How too :

  • Wrap a resistance band around a sturdy object and sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat.
  • Hold one end of the band in each hand and twist your body from side to side as quickly as possible.

Note: Make sure to keep your back pressed against the ground at all times.

Bonus #03: The Single-Leg Swiss Ball Hip Raise

The single-leg Swiss ball hip raise bodyweight exercise targets the glutes and hamstrings.

How too :

  • Lie on your back with both feet flat and your hands by your sides.
  • Lift one leg off of the ground while keeping it straight out in front of you,
  • Then raise your hips towards the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for as long as possible before lowering them back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat

Bonus #04: The Single-Leg Swiss Ball Hip Raise with a Resistance Band

The single-leg Swiss ball hip raise bodyweight exercise targets the glutes and hamstrings.

How too:

  • Lie on your back with both feet flat and your hands by your sides.
  • Lift one leg off of the ground while keeping it straight out in front of you, and then raise your hips towards the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for as long as possible before lowering them back down to the starting position.

Bonus #05: The Plank Knee Tuck with a Resistance Band

The plank knee tuck bodyweight exercise targets all of the core muscles.

How too:

  • Get into a plank position with your feet hip-width apart and your hands directly below your shoulders.
  • While keeping your spine in a neutral position, simultaneously pull one knee towards your chest while maintaining the plank position,
  • Then switch legs.

Note: Make sure to keep your hips level at all times.

Bonus #06: The Kettlebell Windmill

The kettlebell windmill bodyweight exercise targets all of the core muscles.

How too:

  •  Get into a squat position with your left hand on a kettlebell, and your right hand extended straight in the air.
  • Keep your spine in a neutral position, hinge at the waist, and lower the kettlebell towards the ground with your left hand while fully extending your right arm.
  • Once the kettlebell is as close to the ground as possible, reverse the motion and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Bonus #07: Weighted Sit-Ups

The weighted bodyweight exercise targets the abs and obliques.

How too:

  • Lie on your back on the floor with both legs in the air and your hands by your sides.
  • Bring one leg down towards the floor while keeping the other leg in the air, and then switch legs.
  • Keep your core engaged throughout the entire movement.

Bonus #08: Ab Rollouts with a Ball

The Ab rollout with a ball works the abs and obliques

How too:

  • Perform a plank set-up
  • place your feet on the ball
  • pull your feet towards you
  • Hold and extend back to the start
  • Repeat

This is a great progression to work on your ab stability

Conclusion

Core muscles are essential for overall fitness and health. They support your spine, keep you stable, and help protect your back. You don’t need a lot of equipment or space to work these muscles – all you need is your body weight. The above bodyweight exercises for core muscles will allow you to get started strengthening your core today.

And if you want an extra challenge, consider purchasing a kettlebell, resistance band, or Swiss ball to use with these exercises. Thanks for reading and if you have any exercises I have missed let me know below!

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