Core Exercises You Can Do Anywhere, Without Equipment!

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By: Chris Freytag, CPT // December 1, 2023


The best ab workouts target various abdominal areas and work all of your core muscles. That’s where our at-home ab workout comes in.

This exercise ab workout incorporates 8 moves that target the lower abs, upper abs, and obliques. No equipment is necessary!

Here, we’ll take a quick look at your abdominal anatomy, followed by 8 exercises to tone your whole core that you can do from the comfort of your living room.

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    Understanding Ab Anatomy 

    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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

    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 and aids in flexing and rotating.

    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 flatter stomach!

    The next 8 ab exercises can help you achieve a flatter core, all from the comfort of home.

    DIRECTIONS: Perform each move for the number of reps stated, and make sure you take a few minutes to stretch at the end! Try to do this workout at least two times per week for the best results.

    1. Oblique Burners – 15 reps per side

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

    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.

    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.

    Do 15 reps per side.

    2. Basic Crunch to Bicycle Crunch – 15 reps each

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing basic crunches and bicycle crunches.
    Photo Credit: Get Healthy U

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

    To perform a bicycle crunch:

    1. 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.
    2. Bring one knee in and the opposite elbow over, reaching towards it. Repeat on the other side in a crisscross motion working the obliques.

    Do 15 regular crunches and go straight into 15 bicycle crunches.

    3. In Out Out Plank – 8 reps right, 8 reps left

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing an in and out plank.
    Photo Credit: Get Healthy U

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

    How to do in and out planks:

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

    Do 8 reps leading with the right foot, and 8 reps leading with the left foot.

    4. Side Plank Crunch – 5 reps per side

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing a side plank crunch.
    Photo Credit: Get Healthy U

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

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

    How to do a side plank crunch: 

    1. 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.
    2. Tap your elbow and knee together, then reach both long and repeat. 

    Do 15 reps per side.

    5. Bend Extend Ab Tuck – 10 reps

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing a bend extend ab tuck.
    Photo Credit: Get Healthy U

    The abs always work together in unison, but the bend extend ab tuck move targets your lower abs like crazy.

    How to do a bend extend ab tuck: 

    1. Start seated on the mat with your arms behind you, hands on the mat, and fingers facing your backside. 
    2. Sit back on your hands and lift your feet up off the mat, keeping your knees bent.
    3. 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.

    Do 10 reps.

    6. V-Ups – 10 Reps

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing a v-up.
    Photo Credit: Get Healthy U

    This v-up move will challenge you past your limits! If it’s too much, lift one leg at a time.

    How to do a v-up:

    1. Lie on your back and extend your arms behind your head. Keep your feet together and toes pointed.
    2. 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.

    Do 10 reps.

    7. Swimming – 30 seconds

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing the swimming move.
    Photo Credit: Get Healthy U

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

    How to do this swimming move: 

    1. Lie on your stomach with your legs and arms extended. Engage your abdominals so you feel your lower abs contract.
    2. 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.

    Repeat for 30 seconds.

    8. Full-Body Roll-Up – 8 reps

    Workout graphic of Chris Freytag doing a full-body roll-up.
    Photo Credit: Get Healthy U

    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!

    How to do a full-body roll-up:

    1. Start lying on the mat with your arms extended overhead, legs long, and feet flexed.
    2. 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.
    3. 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. 

    Do 8 reps.

    3 Elliptical Workouts For Weight Loss

    Close up of a woman in an orange workout top working out on an elliptical machine.
    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

    These elliptical workouts are designed to give you a workout plan that will make your time a little more interesting and more challenging!

    By working for different muscle groups and changing things up, these elliptical workouts will shape your lower body, burn more calories, and keep your routine fresh.

    3 Elliptical Workouts For Weight Loss

    The Best Core Exercises for Seniors

    Three women doing glute bridges on yoga mats.
    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

    Ab workouts aren’t limited to athletes and the under-30 crowd!

    As a matter of fact, seniors rank as one of the top groups who should be doing core strengthening exercises regularly because targeting your midsection with exercises that sculpt and strengthen is key to staying healthy and active.

    The Best Core Exercises for Seniors

    The 10 Yoga Poses You Should Do Everyday

    yoga outside
    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

    Simply put, a daily yoga routine makes you feel good! No matter where you find yourself or how much time you have, you can do these 10 yoga poses and start your day with a centered mind and a refreshed body.

    The 10 Yoga Poses You Should Do Everyday



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