Getting flat abs is the biggest fitness desire I know. This is why ab machines like the Ab Circle Pro and the Total Core sell so well and why gyms are packed with weird and cumbersome stomach exercisers.
The good news is that you don’t really need expensive machines to get flat abs. You can do awesome bodyweight ab exercises that can give you tighter, flatter, and stronger abdominal muscles. In this post I want to share with you 7 of the best bodyweight ab exercises that you can do. All these exercises can be done at home at any time.
These bodyweight exercises require very little equipment, if any. There are other exercises which may be termed as bodyweight, but they do require fitness equipment, so I’ll leave them out for a different post.
These exercises can help you strengthen and tone your abs. With the right nutrition plan they can help you get really flat and tight abs. Check out Truth About Abs for a complete program that you can use.
Here are your exercises…
1. Bicycle Crunch
In a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise, the bicycle crunch was found to be the most effective ab exercise among the 13 total exercises which were examined. This is a great exercises and I use it often in my workouts.
To do the bicycle crunch you should lie face up on the floor. Place your fingers on either side of the back of your head. Don’t interlace your fingers and make sure to not pull your head forward.
Keep your legs straight and lift both of them off the floor a few inches. Bend your right knee and bring it to your chest while lifting your shoulder blades off the floor and rotating your upper body to bring the left elbow toward your right knee.
Lower your body back toward the floor without resting your shoulder blades or legs on it. Switch sides by straightening your right leg, bending your left knee toward your chest and rotating your right elbow toward it.
Repeat this exercise a number of times for a complete set.
2. Ab Rollout
This is one of the toughest bodyweight ab exercies that you can do and one of the best stomach exercises in general. You can do the ab roll-out with an Ab Wheel or Valslides. You can also do it with a smooth sock on each hand. Either way, it will work you hard.
I’ll explain how to it with an Ab Wheel (and the video below includes one as well), but the instructions apply to whatever you use.
Get down on your knees and hold the ab wheel on the floor in front of you with both hands. If you’re using a sock or a slide, you need to place it on the floor with your hand on top of it.
Slowly roll the wheel forward and let your upper body go down toward the floor. Keep your abs braced and your back and neck straight. Don’t touch the floor with your chest, but stop the roll when you’re a few inches off the floor. By contracting your abs, roll the wheel toward your knees and slowly rise to the starting position.
Note: the length of the roll depends on your strength. At first, you will be able to go just a little, but later it will be easier to roll more.
Check out this video to see how it’s done:
3. Plank With Leg Raise
To do a regular plank you need to lace your fingers together on the floor and place both forearms diagonally to create a triangle on the floor with your laced fingers as its apex right under your head.
Your legs should be stretched out and you need to rest on your toes so that only them and your forearms and hands touch the floor.
Your neck and back should be straight and your abs braced. You need to maintain this position for as long as you can. The world record is 33 minutes and 40 seconds, but you don’t need to hold this position for anywhere near that long. 30 seconds is okay, a minute is good, and 2 minutes is great. This is a tough exercise, so don’t get discouraged if at first you can’t do it for long.
To make a plank even harder you can try to lift one foot a few inches off the floor. This makes the position less stable and forces your abdominal muscles to work much harder. Alternate between legs by lifting one, holding it up for a few seconds, lowering it and lifting the other one.
4. Side Plank
A side plank is also a massive exercise. It can be done in a variety of ways or levels. I will explain how to do the 3rd level in terms of intensity, and the video below will show you all 5 levels.
Lie on your side with your lower arm curled under you. Lift yourself up and support yourself on one forearm while the other hand is either at your waist or firm across your body.
Your feet can either be crossed to provide you with two points of contact on the floor or one on top of the other so that only the side of your lower foot touches the floor.
Make sure to maintain a straight line with your body and to keep your abs tight at all times. Hold this position for as long as you can. For added intensity, hold the upper arm straight up as you can see in the video below:
5. Spiderman Pushup
A push up is an excellent bodyweight ab exercise. The position you take in a push up is such that forces your ab muscles to work hard to maintain stability throughout the movement. The Spiderman Pushup is a fantastic variation that works the abs especially hard.
To do a Spiderman Pushup you need to start off in a regular push up position with your feet slightly apart and your body totally straight and stable. Lower yourself to the floor by bending both elbows while bringing your left knee toward your left elbow. Push yourself up and return your left leg to the starting position. Lower yourself back down and bring your right knee toward your right elbow.
The reason why the spiderman pushup is one of the best tummy trimming exercises that you can do is that it places additional strain on your ab muscles and it helps you burn a lot of calories. Here’s a video which shows how it’s done.
6. Reverse Crunch
Crunches are not an effective exercise and they also place a lot of stress on your lower back. Reverse crunches are a different story altogether.
Lie on the floor face up. Place both arms straight at your side. Keep your entire back and head on the floor. Bend both knees and raise your feet a few inches off the floor.
By tightening your stomach muscles, bring both knees toward your chest. Raise your buttocks and lower back off the floor to complete the movement. Lower your feet slowly to the floor but don’t let them touch it until the end of the set.
7. Mountain Climbers
The final exercise I want to share with you today is mountain climbers. It begins in the push up position. Raise one foot and bend your knee and bring it toward your chest. Make sure to keep your body steady and your abs braced.
Lower your leg back to the starting position and bend the other knee and bring it toward your chest. Do this a number of times for a complete set.
A Complete Bodyweight Ab Workout
These bodyweight ab exercises can be used to to create a complete belly workout to help you tone and flatten your abs. Do some sets of at least 3 of these on any workout and add some bodyweight cardio exercises to create a high intensity fat burning workout to melt fat off and get a tight and sexy midsection. In addition, try to avoid these 5 exercises and you will find it much easier to get flat abs fast.