Bodyweight Core Exercises

Bodyweight Core Exercises

Building a solid core doesn’t mean doing endless gym workouts or needing access to fancy machines and equipment.

The truth is that there are plenty of effective bodyweight core exercises you can do with little to no equipment. Let’s review the six best ones:

Table of Contents

Main Takeaways

  • You can do these core exercises without any equipment, all you need is some space and your floor.

  • Having a low body fat, which is achieved via calorie deficit, is key in order for your abs to pop.

  • Your core, just like any other muscle, needs to be trained directly to build them.

Muscles Worked

Primary Muscles Worked 💪

  • Upper abs
  • Lower abs

Secondary Muscles Worked 💪

  • Oblique
  • Hip flexors
  • Erector Spinae

Top 6 Bodyweight Core Exercises

1. Crunch

The crunch is a classic beginner-friendly movement that works the rectus abdominis (six-pack muscle).

To do it, lie on the floor, bend your knees, plant your feet flat on the ground, and initiate the movement by engaging your abs and crunching your torso.

Abs for Quick Home Workouts

What to keep in mind:

To ensure proper ab activation, avoid arching your back. Your lower back must be in contact with the floor.

2. Lying Leg Raise

Lying leg raises are one of the best bodyweight core exercises you can do without equipment. This is because the movement trains multiple core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and hip flexors. 

Plus, you can change the difficulty by keeping your legs bent or straight, doing reps more slowly, and using ankle weights for added resistance.

Leg Raises Ab Workout

What to keep in mind:

Keep the movement controlled and engage your abs as much as possible to prevent your lower back from arching.

3. Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks are a fun and dynamic movement that burns extra calories and provides a solid stimulus for the core musculature. 

The best part is that you can challenge yourself each time by trying to hold the flutter kick position (feet in the air) longer.

Flutter Kicks

What to keep in mind:

Keep your arms to your sides and hands firmly planted on the ground for balance.

4. Russian Twist

Russian twists are somewhat different because they involve torso rotation, which involves the internal and external obliques (the muscles flanking the abs), leading to more balanced core development.

The movement is simple to do, and an effective way to increase the difficulty is to hold a weight plate in front of your chest.

Twisting Crunches for Abs and Obliques

What to keep in mind:

A common training mistake is only moving the arms from side to side. To make the movement effective, you must only rotate at the hips and keep your arms in the same position relative to your torso.

5. Bicycle Crunch

Bicycle crunches are another bodyweight core exercise with a torso rotation component, which means they involve the obliques to a greater degree. 

Plus, given the position you must hold, your abs, transverse abdominis, and hip flexors must also engage.

Bicycle Crunches

What to keep in mind:

Keep the movements slow and fluid to ensure proper core activation. Some trainees see this as more of a dynamic cardio movement and try to rush through each rep, but doing so makes the bicycle crunch less effective.

6. Plank Jack

Plank jacks are a less popular movement but are highly beneficial for improving core stability and developing explosiveness.

Unlike a basic plank, the objective here is to hop repeatedly, bringing the feet out and in.

What to keep in mind:

Remember to keep your body straight and your pelvis tucked. A common mistake is to hyperextend the lower back, which reduces ab activation.

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