Core exercises are key to building abs and other related core muscles. This guide is focused on bodyweight exercises for core that you can do at home without the need for any gym equipment or dumbbells. Your core is at the heart maintaining a good form, it is responsible for everything from your balance to breathing and ensuring good coordination between your lower spine, back, hips, and abdominal muscles.
We have compiled 5 easy bodyweight exercises that you can do at home. All you need is the floor and/or a mat. Before we get into it, I would need to draw your attention to your breathing technique. You need to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Now that you are all caught up, let’s get straight into core exercises.
The plank is a well-known exercise that works your entire body. It is known as one of the exercises that you can do at home to lose belly fat. It is easy to do and you can begin seeing results within a very short period. When doing planks, most of the work is done by your core, while you are balancing your body weight on your arms and toes. Don’t forget to breathe!.
How to do a plank correctly
- Begin by laying on your stomach in a prone position with your elbows and forearms at your side. Make sure your elbows and shoulders are aligned.
- Slowly lift your upper body off the ground with your forearms and toes. Make your core stiff as you rise, keeping a neutral spine and neck, avoid looking up or hunching your back.
- Keep your pelvis tucked inward, shift your pelvis forward.
Benefits of doing planks
- Stronger core: It is vital to have a strong core for day-to-day activities. Your core is involved in everything you do, from bending to pick up groceries to swinging a golf club. The plank exercise is great for muscular endurance, which refers to your muscles’ ability to undergo stress for an extended period of time. It’s a classic exercise that keeps your muscles contracted in the same position throughout the entire movement.
- Reduce back pain: Lower back pain and the risk of back injury have both been linked to having a weak core. Your abdominal muscles support your lumbar spine (lower back), assisting with pelvis movement and providing structural stability. Lower back pain can be reduced and prevented by increasing lumbar spine stability.
- Better athletic performance: With a well-rounded full-body workout coupled with planks, anyone can have much better performance as an athlete.
Another well-known core exercise that requires nothing more than your bodyweight is bicycle crunches. It focuses on strengthening the abdominal muscles, which are a part of your core. Your core is made up of more than just your abs. It also includes the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, and hips, as well as your oblique muscles on the sides of your trunk. These muscles work together to keep your body stable. The same muscles doing bicycle crunches targets.
How to do a bicycle crunch properly
- Lay down on your back. Bend your knees and place your arms behind your head, with your elbows pointing outward.
- Contract your abs. Proceed to lift your knees to 90 degrees and raise your upper body.
- Move your right elbow and left knee towards each other. Do the same thing with your left elbow and right knee.
- Inhale when bringing your knee forward and exhale when relaxing your leg, repeat and exhale.
Benefits of bicycle crunches
- Burns belly fat
- Works on toning your side and abdominal muscles
- Focuses on abs
- Improves your leg muscles
This exercise targets many women’s problem areas and aids in the removal of excess flab from the thighs, hips, and belly. Swimmers also use flutter kicks to propel their bodies forward. In order to achieve a strong and toned lower body, incorporating flutter kicks as one of the bodyweight exercises for core in your workout routine would be extremely beneficial.
How to do flutter kicks properly
- Lay down on your back and keep your legs together
- Extend your legs and place your arms by your side, palms flat.
- Contract your abs, lift your feet off the ground, and begin moving your legs up and down.
- Do this until you feel you need to stop.
- Rest for ten seconds and repeat.
Benefits of flutter kicks.
- Flutter kick helps you get well-toned lower abs, lower back, hips, and thighs. It accomplishes this by stimulating the muscles, which repair and become stronger and thicker.
- The next step in achieving a flat stomach is to shape the abs. Flutter kicks help define the ab muscles, giving your stomach a whittled and carved appearance. . This, in turn, can help you maintain your motivation to live a healthy lifestyle.
- It is quite an obvious advantage since you make use of your legs during this exercise. As you continue to use a muscle, more wear and tear happens. This is why you feel muscle weakness after working out. But by taking some rest, these muscles rebuild themselves into strong muscle fiber. Essentially, the more you wear out your leg muscles, the stronger it gets.
The Russian twist is one of the excellent bodyweight exercises for core directly targeting your core and shoulders. It’s a common exercise among athletes because it aids in rotational movement, which occurs frequently in sports. It may appear to be a simple movement, but it demands a lot of strength and support.
How to do Russian twists properly
- Root into your sit bones as you lift your feet off the ground, keeping your knees bent.
- Create a V shape with your torso and thighs by elongating and straightening your spine at a 45-degree angle from the floor.
- Spread your arms straight in front, interlacing your fingers or holding your hands together.
- Use your abs to twist to the right, then back to the center, and then to the left. Repeat.
Benefits of Russian twists
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart attack.
- Strengthens the lower back
- Strengthens the oblique muscles located on the sides of the abdomen
- Helps prevent slouching and promotes good posture.
Mountain climbers, also known as running planks, are one of the most effective exercises for core and building strength in various parts of your body. Mountain climbers work on a variety of major muscle groups, such as the abs, lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. Mountain climbers are an excellent way to strengthen both the glutes and the core muscles, which help us maintain an upright posture.
How to do mountain climbers properly
- Begin in a plank position with your back straight, hips low and core tightened.
- Bring your left knee under your chest towards your left elbow.
- Return your left knee to its plank position and repeat with your right knee to your left elbow.
- Repeat and remember to breathe.
Benefits of mountain climbers
- Works on different muscles at once: Mountain climbers, as a compound exercise, work multiple muscle groups and joints at the same time. In other words, they give you a lot of bang for your buck by targeting core muscles like the back, hips, and abs, as well as glutes, leg muscles, and even your shoulders.
- Mobility: Mountain climbers’ dynamic nature makes them excellent mobility boosters. Each time you perform the mountain climber movement, you ease up your hip and knee joints, increasing range of motion and overall function. You also lessen your chance of injury by doing so.
- Heart health: Most people associate mountain climbers with the benefits of lower-body strength training. The rapid, constant leg switching, on the other hand, raises your heart rate. The cardiovascular benefits compound as you get stronger and faster.
So far, we have provided you with a list of bodyweight exercises for core that you can do at home which also helps to lose belly fat and build muscles.
Next, the recommended reps and sets. As a beginner, you may think that more reps equal better results. This mentality can be very misleading and can drive people to bite more than they can chew. As we mentioned earlier, damaged muscles need rest, they need to be given a chance to rebuild. By overstraining your muscles, you could potentially cause a major tear in your muscles which can take a lot more time to heal. It is advisable to start little and steadily grow over time. We have provided recommended sets and reps which you can get started with now.
Planks (3 sets)
Beginner: Try aiming for 30 seconds. Do this for at least a week
Intermediate: When you feel ready, you can try holding it for 60 seconds. Do this for at least a week.
Advanced. By now, your body should be able to handle more than 1 minute. Keep aiming higher by adding either 30 or 60 seconds.
The main focus is to maintain the ideal posture as described earlier.
Bicycle crunches (3 sets)
Beginner: It’s best to start with 10 to 20 reps if you are an absolute beginner. Take note of your body structure and endurance since it may depend on that.
Intermediate: Gradually aim for 25 – 30 more crunches as your muscles begin to build themselves up.
Advanced: With enough practice for a few weeks, you can easily begin to rep 30 to 35 crunches with your new and improved muscles.
Again! Maintaining the right form is important.
Beginner: It is generally advised to perform 1-2 sets of 10-20 repetitions on each side. Of course, this may be lower or higher depending on your current muscle power.
Intermediate: After practicing for a week, you should move on to 2-3 sets of 10-20 repetitions on each side.
Advanced. By now your muscles may be a bit stronger, so you should be able to handle more than the intermediary level. However, make sure you don’t overexert yourself and always choose your sets and reps depending on your ability.
Beginner: For an absolute beginner, it is okay to start with 1 to 2 sets of 8 to 16 repetitions
Intermediary: Eventually after doing it for a week, you can then handle 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 16 repetitions
Advanced: Anything more than this should count as advanced, but as with all forms of exercise, remember not to push yourself too far.
Mountain climbers (3 sets)
Beginner: Try finishing 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. It is recommended you start with ten to fifteen reps on each side, for three to four sets.
Intermediate: You should try finishing 30 seconds of work, followed by 20 seconds of rest. Start with 15 to 20 reps on each side for three to four sets.
Advanced: 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest should suffice. Continue with 25 reps to 30 reps on each side for four to five sets.
There are many bodyweight exercises for core that you can do at home. We just picked up a few of them that you can easily get started with to improve your core strength. All you need to do is to ensure that you are doing them in the right position and most importantly, do not forget to breathe.