The 21 Best Bodyweight Exercises for a Strong Core

The 21 Best Bodyweight Exercises for a Strong Core

Body Core Workout That Tightens Your Core and Fends Off Back Pain

Having a solid core routine is more than just having washboard abs. It is about having more strength to do everyday activities, and having more endurance for your favorite sports.

Core routine, oftentimes also referred to as core exercises, is an integral part of any workout or fitness program. This set of exercises builds up the strength of your core muscles which includes those in your abdomen, pelvis, hips and low back.One of the most common mistakes that people make is confusing core workouts with ab routines that help create a flat stomach and a 6 pack abs. The core is more than just great abs.

While the abs routine is an important part of the core routine, it is only part of the big picture. “Core” pertains to the whole package: the groups of muscles that serve as your body’s base, stabilizing your pelvis, shoulders as well as your spine.

Goal 1
Ultimate Agility!
Developed core muscles help you react faster and stronger, and let your body distribute stress evenly and absorb shock effectively. Athletes who give these muscles proper attention will reap enhanced balance, body awareness, coordination, and flexibility.

Goal 2
Dominant Power!
The most effective exercises for developing power, such as deadlifts and squats, require a strong core to stabilize and protect the lower back. Conditioning the deep core muscles gives you the foundation needed to lift more weight with less risk of injury.

Goal 3
Perfect Posture!
The more centered your spine is in relation to the rest of your body, the more erect you’ll sit and stand. Strong lower-back and abdominal muscles help you run with proper technique, sustain a long commute, even sit at a desk all day. Clothes fit better, and you appear taller and slimmer.


Targets: Upper abdominals

Lying flat on the ground with knees bent and hands behind the head, push lower back into the ground and lift upper back off the ground and slightly forward.

Vertical Leg Crunch

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Targets: Upper abdominals

Lie flat on the floor with lower back pressed to the ground. Place hands behind head. Extend legs straight up, crossed at the ankles with a slight bend in the knee. Contract abdominal muscles by lifting torso toward knees. Make sure to keep chin off your chest with each contraction. Exhale as you contract upward; inhale as you return to the starting position.


Targets: Upper abdominals

Lie faceup with legs and arms extended. Keeping knees and elbows locked, simultaneously raise upper body and lower body while trying to touch fingers to toes.

Raised Knee-In

Targets: Lower abdominals

Lie on back, arms along sides, palms down and just under lower back and butt. Press the small of your back against the floor and extend legs outward, with heels about 3 inches above the floor. Keeping lower back against the floor, lift left knee toward chest. Your right leg should remain hovering above the floor. Hold, then straighten left leg to the starting position and repeat with right leg.

Reverse Crunch

Targets: Lower abdominals

Lie flat on the floor with lower back pressed to the ground. Place hands behind head or extend out alongside body. Crossing legs at ankles, lift feet up. Pull lower back off the floor as you contract abs. Reach legs toward the ceiling with each contraction.

Flutter Kicks

Targets: Lower abdominals

Lie faceup with legs extended, toes pointed, and hands tucked underneath glutes to support lower back. Lift both legs off the floor a few inches and alternately kick legs up and down.

Side Plank

Targets: Obliques

Lie on side with lower arm bent at the elbow. Place lower elbow beneath shoulder and place upper hand on hip. Align ankles, hips, shoulders, and head. Push body toward the ceiling, balancing on the edge of your bottom shoe with one foot directly over the other.

Lying Side Crunch

Targets: Obliques

Lie on on your side with knees bent at a right angle and twisted to the left. Curl upper body, lifting shoulders off the floor a few inches. Pause at the top of the contraction and slowly lower back down. Switch sides and repeat.

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Oblique V-Up

Targets: Obliques

Lie on side, arms folded across chest. Keeping legs together, lift them off the floor as you raise top elbow toward hip. Place opposite hand on the floor if you need extra stability.

Russian Twist

Targets: Obliques

Sit on the floor, knees bent and feet flat. Hold arms straight out in front of chest, with palms facing down. Lean back so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Twist to the right as far as you can, pause, then reverse movement and twist to the left.


Targets: Upper and lower abdominals, glutes

Lie facedown on the floor with feet together and forearms on the ground. Draw abs in and tighten glutes. Lift entire body off the ground until it forms a straight line from head to toe, resting on forearms and toes. Hold. Slowly return body to the ground, keeping chin tucked and back flat.

Bicycle Kicks

Targets: Obliques, lower abdominals

Lie on back with legs extended and hands folded across chest. Pull right knee in toward chest while twisting left shoulder toward right knee. Return to starting position and repeat with other knee and shoulder.

Plank Jack

Targets: Upper and lower abdominals

Get in a modified plank position, balancing on forearms (elbows aligned under shoulders) and toes. Tighten abs so body is straight from head to heels. Keeping torso tight, hop feet out wide. Hop feet back to starting position and repeat.

In and Out Crunches

Targets: Upper and lower abdominals

Lie on back with feet together, legs extended, and hands behind head with elbows wide. Lift shoulder blades and feet off the floor, bending knees in toward chest and lifting upper body in a standard crunch.

Scissor Crunches

Targets: Lower abdominals

Lie on back with feet together, legs extended, and hands behind head with elbows wide. Raise right foot straight up to the ceiling, keeping left leg extended and left foot a few inches from the floor. Perform a standard crunch, then lower upper body to about an inch from the floor and switch legs.

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Targets: Upper and lower abdominals

Lie faceup with legs extended and arms along sides. Raise head a few inches. Lift legs off ground, then slowly sit up, drawing knees to elbows directly over hips. Hold, then slowly lower torso and extend legs, keeping head and feet slightly off the ground.

Toe Taps

Targets: Lower abdominals

Lie on back and place hands behind ears. Lift legs to tabletop position (90-degree angle). Press lower back into floor and crunch forward until shoulders are off the floor. With toes pointed down, lower right foot as far as you can without lifting back off the floor. Return to starting position and repeat with left leg.


Targets: Glutes and back

Lie facedown on floor with arms in front of body, palms toward the ground. Draw navel in, tighten glutes, and pinch shoulder blades together. Simultaneously lift arms, chest, and legs off the floor. Hold. Slowly return to ground, keeping chin tucked.


Targets: Obliques

Get into push-up position. Shift weight to left hand and rotate body. Keeping feet stacked, raise right arm into the air so that arms and torso form a “T.” Hold.

Bird Dog

Targets: Upper and lower abdominals, glutes

Balance on hands and knees. Lift right leg and left arm, extending right leg to the rear and reaching forward with left arm. Hold. Repeat with opposite arm and leg.

Plank with Alternating Arm and Leg Raise

Targets: Upper and lower abdominals, glutes

Get into push-up position. Lift right arm and left leg at the same time without moving torso. Hold. Return to starting position, then repeat, lifting opposite leg and arm.

Keep track of how many reps you can do – as your core gets stronger and then you can increase the amount of reps.

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