The Most Effective Core Exercises To Do At Home
By: Marshall Evans
The best way to work your abs is in the gym as there are all kinds of equipment and machines that help you tone the muscles easily and effectively. However, not all of us have that luxury because sometimes we’re just too busy. That’s why you should consider working out at home. If you’re wondering: “How can I do that when I don’t have any equipment?”, don’t worry. There are tons of effective core exercises that require no weights or machines, all of which you can do while wearing the Flex which was designed with floor work in mind! If you’re ready to get to work, check out the moves below.
This is one of the most basic exercises when it comes to core muscles, but it’s definitely not easy. You have to use your abs to lift your whole body off the ground for as long as possible, so the more you weigh, the more difficult this exercise will be.
How to do it:
- Step 1: Keep your hips directly over your knees and your shoulders directly over your hands with your palms facing down.
- Step 2: Lift your head, use your forearms to support your body and extend your legs with the toes touching the floor.
- Step 3: Round your back just a little bit in order to squeeze your abs.
- Step 4: Hold that position for as long as you can.
Note: There are many different ways to plank, such as side planks and straight-arm planks, but these variations are much more challenging. If you’re looking for something simple and easy then the forearm plank is the best variation for your home workouts.
Most people are familiar with crunches, which work your upper abs. While often done on an abs bench, you can also do them on the ground.
How to do it:
- Step 1: Lie flat on your back with your feet flat on the floor or you can rest your feet on a bench while bending your knees 90 degrees.
- Step 2: Place your hands on either side of your head and flare out your elbows.
- Step 3: Take a deep breath and use your abs to bring your upper body off the floor 4-5 inches while keeping your lower back on the floor.
- Step 4: At the top of the movement squeeze your abs and hold the contraction for 1-2 seconds before exhaling.
- Step 5: Come back down slowly to return to the starting position as you inhale again.
Repeat this exercise for 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.
Note: Remember not to come up off the floor too high or lift up your lower back. Don’t use momentum to cheat yourself. Instead, focus on slow, controlled movements.
Variations: you can do crunches on an exercise ball, but this requires a lot of core stability. Make sure you master the technique of floor crunches before trying ball crunches.
At first glance, this exercise doesn’t seem much different from crunches. However, they’re totally different. Crunches isolate your upper abs, while sit-ups target your entire core and other muscles that stabilize posture, like hip flexors. A combination of both of these two exercises are best for your abs.
How to do it:
- Step 1: Lie down and bend at your knees with your feet flat on the floor. *Tip: if you don’t want your legs to move during the sit-ups, place your feet under something heavy or have someone hold them for you.
- Step 2: Keep your hands behind your head and flare out the elbows. This will be your starting position.
- Step 3: Take a deep breath and use your core muscles to lift up your whole body until it creates a V-shape with your upper legs.
- Step 4: Once you feel the contraction for 1-2 seconds, slowly to lower your body to get back to the starting position as you exhale.
Do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps for this exercise.
If the crunch is a good exercise for your upper abs, then this one is a perfect choice for your lower abs. It’s very easy to perform so if you want to have nice abs and a strong V line, don’t skip this one.
How to do it:
- Step 1: Lie with your back flat on the floor or on a bench with your legs extended and slightly bent at the knees.
- Step 2: Place your hands under your butt with both palms facing down.
- Step 3: Take a deep breath and use your abs to raise your legs until your body forms a 90-degree angle.
- Step 4: Exhale and slowly lower the legs back to the starting position.
Do 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps.
Variations: If you want something more difficult, you can combine leg raises and crunches.
Marshall Evans is one of the founders of AestheticGuys.com where he blogs about health and fitness, sharing his training and nutrition tips to help others get in shape.