Last Updated on August 5, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
Your core can oftentimes be one of the more neglected parts of the body when it comes to training regimes. The core is often neglected due to the fact that it isn’t as fun and exciting to work these muscles as some of the other larger muscles.
However, we recommend trying to include some form of core training into your workouts to ensure these muscles remain strong to help suppport your body as you progress on your fitness journey. We have put together a list of the 9 best ab exercises you can do without needing any fancy equipment.
Typically, you’ll find that traditional ab exercises don’t rely on equipment anyway, so training at home is super easy! If you’re looking to achieve that golden washboard ab look, then these exercises are the best place to start.
Generally, you will need to aim to have around 10% body fat to be able to achieve the look of washboard abs. However, you can still have a strong core without having the typical washboard look.
So, let’s take a look at the best exercises you can do without any equipment to get strong abs.
In order to do this, you will need to lie on your back and bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground. You need to ensure that your feet and knees are together with your feet tucked close to your glutes.
Next, lift your shoulders up slightly and slide one hand down the side of your body. While contracting your obliques, touch the heel of your foot on the corresponding side of the body. Then, repeat this on the other side of your body and continue in a back-and-forth fashion.
We recommend targeting 3 sets of 20-30 reps to start with and then increase this as you get comfortable with the exercise and build your core strength.
To get the best results from this exercise, make sure you are contracting/squeezing your abs at the same time as you’re contracting your obliques.
Crunches are a very popular exercise and an excellent way to target your abdominal muscles. Your abs will be thoroughly exercised when attempting crunches and crunches can also be the most effective.
First, lie on the ground and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Try crossing your arms across your chest or keep them up by your forehead, whichever is more comfortable.
Next, contract your abs while lifting your chest towards your knees. Make sure to keep your lower back on the floor at all times. Squeeze this pose tight, pausing at the top, then return to your relaxed, flat starting position.
We recommend doing 3 sets of 10 to 20 reps to begin with and increasing as you progress.
This exercise is great for increasing your workout capacity and is overall very dynamic. To begin this exercise you’ll need to get into the press-up or push-up position.
Then, while keeping your torso stable, bring one knee up to your chest while keeping your other foot on the floor. It is okay to touch the ground with the ball of the moving foot or you can keep your moving foot off of the ground.
Continue to repeat this motion on the other leg as you bring your original foot back down. This should feel like running in the press-up position.
We recommend performing 3-4 sets of 20 reps and increasing this as time goes on.
The plank is an exercise that engages all of your core muscles at once and is also a very effective exercise at buidling strength and stamina. This particular exercise can be quite challenging and is a great way to test yourself and try to increase your time each time you perform the exercise.
First, you’ll need to get into the press-up position. The only difference is you will need to rest your forearms on the ground rather than being on your hands.
Then, keep this position held without dropping your body. Your legs and back should remain straight while engaging the core to allow for stabilization.
We recommend holding this for 30 seconds to begin with and repeating this 3 times. Increase the length of time the more you perform the exercise. You can even add weight to your back to make it a little more challenging.
Leg raises are great for targeting your lower abdominal muscles. All you need to do is lay flat on the ground on your back, keeping your legs stretched out in front of you. Keep your toes pointed the whole time and place your hands under your glutes for support.
Next, raise your feet slowly off of the ground and then gently lower them back down. Make sure to stop your feet from touching the ground on the way down before raising them again. A brief touch of the heel is okay, however, do not rest your heels on the ground when lowering your legs.
We recommend doing 2 to 4 sets of 15 to begin with and increasing this as time goes on.
To perform this exercise you will need to lay on the ground with your legs raised straight above your hips. Next, lower your legs slowly and stop when you feel the pressure lift from your lower back.
Keep your arms extended above you to remove your spine from the ground slightly. Then, slowly bring your feet and toes together, engaging the core. After this, return to your starting position. We recommend doing 4 sets of 10 reps to begin with.
This is a more complicated version of the traditional crunch. It helps to target the serratus anterior and obliques at the same time as the abdominals.
To begin, lay on the ground in the crunch position and place your hand at your temples, keeping your elbows bent. Next, bend your knees slightly and keep your feet elevated.
After this, you want to engage your core by bringing your right elbow to your left knee so that they are almost touching. Repeat this on the other side of the body, always returning to the starting position.
We recommend doing 3 sets of 20 reps to begin with. For the best results perform this slowly and squeeze your abs!
Whilst laying flat on your back, keep your feet pointed and your arms stretch out vertically behind the head.
Next, contract your core muscles and lift your arms and feet off the ground by about 8 inches or so. Hold this position and then return to your starting position.
We recommend holding this position for 20 seconds and doing this three times.
Laying on your back with your arms at your sides, keep your legs extended above your hips. Then, lower your legs while keeping in control of your lower back.
Next, gently return your legs to their starting position and then gently lift your hips off the ground to feel the contraction in your abs. We recommend doing this for 3 sets of 15 reps before adding more.
The Bottom Line
Remember to add some of these into your workouts to really get the benefits of a whole body fitness routine. Consistency is important and doing a little ab work in combination with your larger muscle workouts will get you great results and help keep your core strong along with your other muscles!
You don’t need to do these exercises for hours and simply a Qwik 5-10 minutes along with your other exercises will ensure that you’re keeping fit. Don’t forget to write down your workouts, along with the reps and sets that you completed, to ensure you are pushing yourself a little harder each time. Establishing goals is the best way to ensure progress!