Ab Workout at Home: Best Core Exercises (No Equipment)

By: Chris Freytag, CPT // July 20, 2023

Doing a quick ab workout at home seems simple enough, right? The truth of the matter is, strengthening your core and flattening your tummy is so much more than performing endless crunches or holding a plank! This ab workout for women at home will teach you the proper way to work your abdominal muscles. 

Some of the best core exercises for women give you effective moves that can be performed at home without any equipment (or the need to drive to the local gym). That’s why this at-home ab workout is perfect for you!


So, let’s start with the basics. How do the abdominals work? How can I unleash my six-pack abs? What are the best exercises for core strength and a flatter belly? Can a home workout really be an effective way to work your abs? (Hint: Yes!) Let’s dive in.


Enter your email & get this article sent to your inbox.

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Understanding Your Abdominal Anatomy 

    To help you better understand the different ab areas to target, let’s take a look at your abdominal anatomy.

    Focus on woman's abdomen

    The abdominal muscles are broken down into four sections:

    • Rectus Abdominis (upper abs): This section of your abs helps you flex forward and back. (Think “crunches.”)
    • Transverse Abdominis (lower abs): This muscle stabilizes your entire middle, protects your low back, and keeps your belly flat.
    • External Obliques (near the rib cage on top): This section pulls the chest downward, compresses the abs, and creates lateral flexion.
    • Internal Obliques (around the waist and hip): This muscle compresses the abs as well as aids in flexing and rotating.

    There are exercises that will focus on certain ab areas in particular, but keep in mind that your abs almost always work as a complete unit. 

    The Key to Working Out Your Abs

    Smart trainers will tell you that when you work your biceps, you also need to work your triceps. Similarly, when you work your quads, you need to work your hamstrings. (You get the picture.) Balance is crucial everywhere, particularly in your midsection.

    For example, in a bicycle twist exercise, the focus is on the obliques. It seems obvious in this move that your obliques are working as you twist and rotate side to side, but your lower abs also work to stabilize your trunk, and your upper abs keep you flexed forward.

    The work is all intertwined, and you’ll feel it across your entire body!

    Related: How To Realistically Lose 10 Pounds In a Month

    How This At-Home Ab Workout Will Strengthen Your Core

    The key to a strong core is to balance the focus of your ab work—in other words, you can’t just do crunches every day! The best ab workouts target various abdominal areas and work all your core muscles.

    This is where our at-home ab workout can help.

    Your core is made up of all the ab muscles listed above, plus your lower back and all the muscles through your hips. Using full-body moves is really the best way to get a flat stomach!

    Targeting All of Your Core Muscles

    Our at-home ab workout incorporates a few different moves where the focus shifts from lower abs to upper abs to obliques. They also target the lower back, another essential piece of the puzzle.

    To get a complete and balanced core workout, you need to strengthen your lower back muscles too! 

    By strengthening the entire core, you create good posture and a tighter midsection overall. When things are strong and in balance, you will stand taller and look thinner.

    This workout will focus on the entire core for the best results!

    Woman doing crunches in a black workout outfit on a black mat.

    Tips for Getting Six-Pack Abs

    As strong as your abs might be, you still need to find a way to uncover those six-pack muscles by eliminating some of the belly fat that covers them up.

    Time to get rid of the muffin top and expose those washboard abs! How can you do this? By good old-fashioned eating and exercise.

    That’s it. Nothing special and no magic tricks.

    Focus on a Healthy Diet

    First, start by eating healthy by eliminating excess sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy fats. Instead, eat more lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

    This is the number one way you can kickstart weight loss and create beautiful, visible abs.

    Create a Consistent Exercise Routine

    Next, exercise matters. You have to put in the hard work!

    Not only do you need to do the ab exercises below to strengthen and create that six-pack, but cardio exercise helps to reduce body fat and uncover the muscles that are already there.

    A workout schedule on a clipboard next to a dumbbell, apple, towel, and water bottle.

    Incorporate Strength Training

    Finally, strengthen the muscles you want to see change! That’s what this at-home abs workout is designed to do.

    The next eight exercises will give you a complete ab workout for a flat tummy, tighter waist, and stronger low back.

    Let’s get started!

    Try This Effective At-Home Ab Workout

    No equipment is needed – just your body weight!

    For the following at-home ab workout, all you need is a little space and maybe a workout or yoga mat – as long as it’s a firm surface where you won’t slide around.

    Perform each move for the number of reps stated, and make sure you take a few minutes to stretch at the end!

    Each workout provides detailed instructions to help you keep proper form.

    Take a deep breath, and let’s do it!

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag performing various abdominal moves

    1. Oblique Burner – 15 reps per side

    The standing oblique burner is not only a great way to warm up for this workout, but it puts the focus on your waistline and engages your obliques.

    Chris Freytag demonstrating an oblique burner exercise.
    Photo Credit: Get Healthy U

    How to do oblique burners:

    • Stand with feet a little wider than hip distance apart, knees bent, and hands held behind the back of your head.
    • Bend to the right, reaching your right hand toward the floor behind your leg. Keep your spine long.
    • Return to center and repeat on the left side.

    2. Basic Crunch – 15 reps, to Bicycle – 15 reps, with no break:

    The basic crunch sets the tone for the workout and prepares you to move right into a bicycle, which capitalizes on the use of your upper abs by adding lower abs and obliques.

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing basic crunches and bicycle crunches.

    Start with a regular crunch, then switch to the bicycle crunch below: 

    • Start lying on your back with feet off the floor and legs in a tabletop position. Hands are behind the head, and your head, neck, and shoulders are flexed off the mat.
    • Bring one knee in and the opposite elbow over, reaching towards it. Repeat on the other side in a crisscross motion working the obliques.

    3. In Out Out Plank – 8 leading with the right, 8 leading with the left

    Planks are great—in and out planks are even better! Not only do you challenge holding the forearm plank, but you add the foot movement creating the need to pull in even tighter to hold your body as still as possible.

    It’s one of the best plank variations to give you an extra challenge!

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing an in and out plank.

    How to do in and out planks:

    • Begin in a forearm plank position with your body in a straight line and abdominals contracted.
    • Step your left foot out to the left.
    • Step your right foot out to the right.
    • Step your left foot back to center.
    • Step your right foot back to center.

    Related: The Ultimate 8 Minute Plank Challenge

    4. Side Plank Crunch – 15 reps per side

    Time to turn to your side and get deep into your obliques! The side plank crunch is a great challenge to stabilize the obliques (side muscles) on the bottom and work the obliques on the top. 

    If it’s too much, check out the modified side plank crunch instead!

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing a side plank crunch.

    How to do a side plank crunch: 

    • Start by laying on your right side with your forearm below your shoulder, body lifted, legs long, and feet stacked. Keep body straight, abs tight, with your left hand placed on your hip.
    • Tap your elbow and knee together, then reach both long and repeat. 

    5. Bend Extend Ab Tuck – 10 reps

    The abs always work together in unison, but the bend extend ab tuck move targets your lower abs like crazy. Your lower abs will feel this one for sure!

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing a bend extend ab tuck.

    How to do a bend extend ab tuck: 

    • Start seated on the mat with your arms behind you, hands on the mat, and fingers facing your backside. 
    • Sit back on your hands and lift your feet up off the mat, keeping your knees bent.
    • Keep abs tight and press your legs out long and lower back down slightly. You should feel your lower abdominals working, then push yourself back up and pull your knees in to return to your starting position.

    6. V-Ups – 10 reps

    Not for wimps, this v-up move will challenge you past your limits! Too much? Lift one leg at a time.

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing a v-up.

    How to do a v-up:

    • Lie on your back and extend your arms behind your head. Keep your feet together and toes pointed.
    • Keep your legs straight and lift them up as you simultaneously raise your upper body off the floor. Keep your core tight as you reach for your toes with your hands. Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position.

    7. Swimming – 30 seconds

    Since core work is not just for 6-pack abs, get this swimming move going to strengthen the low back muscles and eliminate low back fat! Inhale for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts.

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing the swimming move.

    How to do this swimming move: 

    • Lie on your stomach with your legs and arms extended. Engage your abdominals so you feel your lower abs contract.
    • Lift your arms and legs off the floor and keep your nose in a hover above the mat.  Flutter your arms and legs, moving from the hips and shoulders (not the knees and elbows) like you’re swimming.

    8. Full-Body Roll-up – 8 reps

    The perfect way to end this workout! 

    Full body roll-ups give you just enough core work challenge plus an amazing stretch for your back – you might want to keep going once your 8 reps are up because it feels so good!

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing a full-body roll-up.

    How to do a full-body roll-up:

    • Start lying on the mat with your arms extended overhead, legs long, and feet flexed.
    • Inhale as you lift your arms up and begin curling your chin and chest forward. Exhale as you roll the entire torso up and over your legs, keeping your abs engaged while reaching for your toes.
    • Inhale as you begin rolling your spine back down one vertebra at a time, and exhale as the upper portion of the back lowers, and your arms reach overhead.  Repeat moving slowly and using the abdominals to lift and lower. 

    Want more? GHU TV has tons of great free online workouts that will strengthen and shape your abs.

    Check out our 30-minute Core Blast Pilates, try the quick 10-Minute Belly Blast, or do the 12-Minute Muffin Top Melter. Explore our GHU TV site and see what works for you!

    READ THIS NEXT: Your At-Home Butt & Thigh Workout

    Core Workouts, Fitness, Workouts

    Printed from GetHealthyU.com

    (This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
    Skip to content