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Best Ab Exercises You Can Do Without Equipment

Best Ab Exercises You Can Do Without Equipment

Ab exercises are the simplest exercises since they can easily be done at home without any equipment. The best ab exercises are movements and positions that engage more than one abdominal muscle.

Ab exercises are not complicated and can be easily included in a workout routine. This article provides a list of the best ab exercises to help strengthen your core muscles.

1. Abdominal Muscles

Abdominal muscles are made up of several layers. The outermost layer resting vertically along both sides of the abdomen is the rectus abdominis.

The transverse abdominis is the innermost muscular layer around the spine and between the ribs and hips.

The oblique muscles are the muscular layer that runs along both sides of the torso. There are two sets of oblique muscles in the abdominal region: the internal and external obliques. The internal oblique layer is located on the transverse abdominis, while the external oblique layer is located on the internal oblique layer and the transverse abdominis.

Core muscles protect the spine, allowing you to bend, twist, and turn your body without any difficulty.

2. Ab Exercises Without Equipment

Workouts Reps/Time Sets Rest Targeted Muscles
Crunch 15-20 3-5 30-90 sec Abdominal Muscles
Bicycle Crunch 15-20 3-4 30 sec Abdominal Muscles
Stabilize spine
Pike Crunch 10 4 30 sec Core
Hip Flexor
Pilates 100 10 10 30 sec Abdominal Muscles
Back muscles
Forearm side plank with twist 10-15 3-4 30 sec Oblique
Transverse Abdominis
Mountain Climber Twist 10-20 2-3 10 sec Abdominal Muscles
Transverse Abdominis
Jackknife 10-12 2-3 30-45 sec Core
Upper and Lower Abs
Single Leg Jackknife 10-12 2-3 30 sec Abs
Lower Back
Hip Flexor
Crab Toe Touch 12-16 2-3 20 sec Core
Core Roll Up Hold for 1 min 2-3 30-40 sec Core
Leg Raise 15 2-4 1-2 minutes Abs
Lower Back
Planks Hold for 30 seconds 3 30 sec Abs
Back Muscles
Plank with Spinal Rotation 10-12 1 30 sec Core
Spinal Mobility
Forearm Side Plank Hip Dip 10-15 3 30 sec Abs
Lower Back
Boat Pose 8-10 2-3 10 sec Core
Hollow Holds Hold for 30 sec 3 10 sec Lower Back
Hip Flexor

2.1. Crunch

Crunches work all abdominal muscles and help reduce abdominal fat. Crunches include several variations, including forward and reverse crunches. For the best results, perform a complete set including forward and reverse crunches.

How to Do

  1. Start with lying down on the floor, bend your knees, keep your feet flat on the floor, and place your arms under your head to support your back.

Forward Crunch

  1. Raise your head forward and squeeze your abdominal muscles below the ribcage.
  2. Your upper and middle back should rise to support your head, while your lower back remains flat on the ground.
  3. Slowly return to the neutral position.
  4. Breathe in when you raise your head forward and breathe out when you return to the neutral position.
  5. Perform 3 to 5 sets of 15 to 20 reps. Gradually increase the number of reps with time. Rest for a few seconds between each set.

Reverse Crunch

  1. After forward crunches, rest for 30 seconds.
  2. Lift your legs in the air and bend your knees.
  3. When lifting your legs in the air, make sure to keep your back (area between the hips and neck) flat on the ground.
  4. Bring your knees towards your chest before returning to the elevated position.
  5. Breathe in when you bring your knees towards your chest. Breathe out when you move your knees away from your chest.
  6. Perform 3 to 5 sets of 15 to 20 reps. Gradually increase the number of reps with time. Rest for a few seconds between each set.

2.2. Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch works all abdominal muscles, especially the deeper muscles (transverse abdominis). This is an equipment-free exercise that ensures the engagement of all abdominal muscles.

Bicycle crunches also ensure a strong core, improving your stamina and physical capabilities during activities like sports and games.

How to Do

  1. Lay on your back on the floor.
  2. Put your hands behind your head. Lift your legs in the air.
  3. Twist your body so your left knee will be close to your right elbow. At the same time, fully extend your right leg.
  4. Then twist and move your right knee to come close to your left elbow and straighten your left leg.
  5. Repeat.
  6. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps.

2.3. Pike Crunch

Pike crunches allow a wider frame for motion than normal ab workouts and help strengthen your core muscles, oblique abdominis, and hip flexor. They engage several muscles in the abs, hips, shoulders, and back. Furthermore, it allows back stability and ensures spinal rotation.

How to Do

  1. Lay on your back on the ground.
  2. Lift and straighten your legs in the air.
  3. Then lift and straighten your arms while lifting your back.
  4. Lift your back until your arms and legs become parallel with each other.
  5. Bring your back slowly back onto the ground while keeping your legs in the air.
  6. Repeat 10 times and complete four sets.

2.4. Pilates 100

Pilates 100 works your abdominal and back muscles, ensure better stability and strengthens your core. It provides a dynamic warm-up for the lungs and abdominals. Make sure to attention to your breathing and the alignment of your pelvis and spine.

It is challenging to complete 100 beats with your arms but also easy to understand and perform. Furthermore, pilates 100 is very beneficial for back and neck problems.

How to Do

  1. Start by laying down on the floor and lift both of your legs.
  2. Keep your legs at 45° facing upward.
  3. Lift your head from the floor.
  4. Lift and straighten your arms. Make sure your palm is facing toward the ground.
  5. Now raise and lower your arms a few inches.
  6. While moving your arms, inhale and exhale five times.
  7. Repeat the whole process 10 times and complete 10 sets.

2.5. Forearm Side Plank With Twist

The forearm side plank workout involves the movements of all body muscles, from head to feet. It works the left and right obliques and transverse abdominis improves shoulder strength and assists the flexibility of the spine.

How to Do

  1. Balance your body on your right forearm and right foot while leaving room to extend your right forearm in front of you. Your left foot must rest on your right foot while the rest of your body is suspended in the air.
  2. Keep your right arm behind your head. Your elbow should be bent and pointing upward.
  3. Now rotate your core so that your head rotates towards the floor and your bent elbow touches the floor.
  4. Make sure your hips do not touch the floor.
  5. Repeat 10 to 15 times and complete one set for each side. When you get stronger, gradually transition to 3 to 4 sets. 

2.6. Mountain Climber Twist

The mountain climber twist works your triceps, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexor muscles. They also can help improve core strength, abdominal muscles like the transverse abdominis and oblique, and cardiac health.

How to Do

  1. Rest on your palms and toes while you lift your body, keeping your chest, core, and head in the air. Keep your hands apart at shoulder width.
  2. Now bend your right leg and bring your knee up to your chest before bringing the leg back to the starting position. Then do the same for the left leg.
  3. Repeat this process 10 to 20 times and complete 2 to 3 sets. 

2.7. Jackknife

The jackknife exercise also called “V-Up”, targets the core and abdominal muscles. This exercise is designed to improve upper and lower abdominal muscle strength. There are some variations that can be made in the traditional jackknife style to allow practitioners of every age to perform jackknife workouts.

How to Do

  1. Start with laying down on the floor. Fully extend your legs and arms. Extend the arms above the head and make sure your upper arms press against your ears.
  2. Squeeze your thighs and glutes, and lift your legs off the ground.
  3. Simultaneously, lift your arms and upper back off the ground.
  4. Position your back and legs into a V shape while keeping your arms straight, then touch your toes with your fingers.
  5. Return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat 10 to 12 times and complete 2 to 3 sets.

2.8. Single-Leg Jackknife

The single-leg jackknife can harden and tighten the abs. This exercise also works the lower back, hip flexor, and hamstrings, while reducing the risk of back injuries. This workout is also helpful to improve posture, arrest back pain, and prevent back injuries.

How to Do

  1. Start with lying down with your body straight on the ground.
  2. Straighten your legs and arms in the same direction.
  3. Squeeze your glutes and thighs and put pressure on your back.
  4. Now lift your left arm and right leg simultaneously and touch your right foot with your left hand’s fingers.
  5. Make sure your torso and your right leg make a V shape.
  6. Exhale when moving your leg and arm, and inhale when laying on the floor.
  7. Alternate between legs and arms.
  8. Repeat 10 to 12 times and complete 2 to 3 sets.   

2.9. Crab Toe Touch

The crab toe touch can strengthen the core, glutes, and deltoids. This exercise can also develop and tighten the abs. Secondary benefits include increased metabolism, agility, stability, weight loss, and aerobic fitness.

How to Do

  1. Start by sitting on the floor, bending your knees, and keeping your feet together and flat on the ground.
  2. Place your palms on the ground behind you and point the fingers of both hands towards your body.
  3. Lift your hips off the ground. Now lift your right foot in the air, partially extend your leg and touch your right foot’s toes with your left hand’s fingers.
  4. Alternate between feet and hands.
  5. Repeat 12 to 16 times and complete 2 to 3 sets.

2.10. Core Roll-Up

The core roll-up helps improve the strength and flexibility of your core muscles. Secondary benefits include better flexibility in your spine and less risk of bodily injuries.

This workout is helpful to increase flexibility and mobility and reduce the chances of injury. A tough and inflexible body is more exposed to pain and injuries.

How to Do

  1. Start by laying on the floor with your body straight and arms raised above your head. Keep your thighs together and squeeze your abs and glutes.
  2. Raise your arms while keeping them extended.
  3. Now lift your shoulders, upper back, and lower back in that order.
  4. Keep rolling your torso as you touch your toes. Your arms must be extended and your abs tightened during this step.
  5. Return to your standard position.
  6. Repeat for one minute and complete 2 to 3 sets.

2.11. Leg Raise

Leg raises improve muscle strength in the whole body, including the core, abs, hips, and lower back.

Leg raises tend to be too challenging for beginners. However, if practiced regularly, your back will become stronger and reduce pain.

How to Do

  1. Lay down on the floor with your body and legs straight.
  2. Keep your hands beneath your glutes to provide extra support.
  3. Lift your legs and lower back.
  4. Slowly lower your legs toward the ground.
  5. Do not put your heels on the ground.
  6. Repeat 15 times and complete 2 to 4 sets.

2.12. Planks


Planks can improve ab and core strength, along with working the shoulder, neck, abs, chest, hip, and back muscles. Planks can also help improve sitting and standing posture. It is beneficial for body balance and coordination. Planks also help to improve mental health and the body's overall metabolism.

How to Do

  1. Get into a pushup position. Your palms and toes must be on the ground while the rest of your body is suspended.
  2. Keep your body straight as you stay in the same position.
  3. Keep your forearms on the ground.
  4. Make sure your elbow and your shoulder remain straight as you put pressure on your core.
  5. For beginners, it is best to perform a plank for 10 seconds and complete 3 sets.

2.13. Plank With Spinal Rotation

The plank with spinal rotation will improve the stability and strength of your core, shoulder, and spine. It allows the abs movements in a wide range.

This rotation allows your deep abdominal muscles to be tightened. The overall effect of this workout is on your body balance, your endurance, and your core strength.

Plank With Spinal Rotation

How to Do

  1. Get into a high plank position. Your shoulders should be aligned with your wrists and your feet should be spread apart at hip width.
  2. Rotate your body into a side plank position so that one arm is extended towards the ceiling.Stay in this position for a second before returning to the normal position.
  3. Alternate between sides.
  4. Repeat 10 to 12 times for each side.

2.14. Forearm Side Plank Hip Dip

Forearm side plank hip dips help build stronger abs, obliques, core, and lower back muscles. They also can help you improve stability and balance.

How to Do

  1. Start by turning into a side plank position, balancing your body on your right forearm and feet.
  2. Keep your left foot on top of the right one and squeeze your glutes. Your forearms must be beneath your shoulders.
  3. Extend your left arm towards the ceiling.
  4. Slowly dip your glutes towards the floor. Remember to keep your back straight. Then return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat 10 to 15 times and complete 3 sets.

2.15. Boat Pose

Boat Pose

The boat pose can work the core muscles without overworking the core. This pose can also work the arm and leg muscles, especially your hamstrings and upper arms.

How to Do

  1. Sit on the floor, bend your knees, keep your legs together, and place your feet on the ground.
  2. Lift your legs off the ground until they form a 45° angle with your torso.
  3. Straighten your arms for a challenge. If you want to provide support, keep your hands on the floor underneath your hips.
  4. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Slowly increase the time as you grow stronger.
  5. Repeat 8 to 10 times and complete 2 to 3 sets.

2.16. Hollow Holds

Hollow holds can help stabilize the lower back and strengthen the core, glutes, and hip flexor. This pose can improve the flexibility of your spine and better protect your vertebrae and discs from injury.

How to Do

  1. Lay on the ground with your legs and arms fully extended.
  2. Contract your core while raising your hand and feet a few inches off the mat.
  3. Stay in this position for 30 seconds and complete 3 sets.

3. Conclusion

Ab workouts are not very complicated and do not require equipment. Ab workouts can help practitioners develop stronger and more defined abs. Stronger abs also ensure strong core and back muscles too.

This article has details for 16 workouts for abs without any equipment. These all workouts are effective and helpful to develop core strength and abs. This is not necessary to perform all workouts in your daily routine. A few abs workouts can bring a big change if practiced regularly.

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