Home Core Strengthening Exercises

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Whatever stage of your fitness journey you're in, chances are you'd like a little more definition in your midsection.

Whether you have a six-pack or a beer belly, your abs could certainly be crisper. Not to mention that having stronger core muscles is critical for enhancing overall strength and athleticism, as well as preventing injuries.

What's the good news? Your abdominal and core muscles can withstand a lot of work.

While most of your muscle groups benefit from only two training sessions per week, you may work your abs every other day and see significant results. You don't even need to leave your home!

Here's my list of the top 11 core strengthening exercises you can do at home without any equipment.

1. Planks

Let's begin with the plank, the mother of all core strengtheners.

Planks not only train your abs and obliques, but they also stress the core muscles deep within your body, which aid in stability and power. They can also help with back discomfort, balance, and posture.

Get into a pushup stance with your feet behind you and your hands under your shoulders. For as long as you can, lock out your arms and legs, compress your core muscles, and hold your body stiff (like a plank!).

Try a forearm plank with your arms out in front of you for a more difficult variation. For support, place your forearms on the ground, with your elbows beneath your face rather than aligned with your shoulders.

2. Side Planks

Try this difficult version to pound your obliques even harder: the side plank.

Rotate to one side from the plank posture. Support yourself on one elbow and one foot, your body straight and tight.

Remember to squeeze your core as you hold this position for as long as possible.

To avoid establishing muscular imbalances, switch sides and repeat.

3. Reverse Crunches

The standard stomach crunch is a good exercise, but for abs and core strength, you'll want to choose more difficult motions.

When you can do 50 crunches without breaking a sweat, it's usually time to try something new.

The reverse crunch, like the conventional crunch, packs a punch for the lower abs and can be done anywhere, at any time.

In the crunch position, lie on your back with your knees bent. Place your hands flat at your sides and raise your pelvis, pushing your knees up towards your face, then back down.

To complete the task, use your lower ab muscles rather than your back. A rep for several sets of 12-20 reps.

4. Flutter Kicks

Lower abs are a common difficulty region for many folks, so we'll want to train them hard.

If this describes you, flutter kicks are just what the doctor ordered.

Lay flat on your back with your hands at your sides or pressed against the floor. Raise your legs about 6 inches off the floor, then alternately lower and raise them a few inches in quick succession.

It should appear as though you're kicking the air, and it should cause a significant burn in your abdomen area.

5. Arms High Sit-Ups

Consider a crunch, but much tougher!

Sit up on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor in front of you.

Raise your arms to the sky and hold them there while performing a couple of repetitions of sit-ups.

Engaging your arms in this manner makes the movement extremely tough and exhausting. This move will provide you with far more benefits than standard crunches.

6. L-Sits

The L-Sit is extremely tough to perform effectively, but the benefits are enormous if you can increase your strength here.

You'll need a stable platform to press off of to conduct an L-Sit. You can perform them on the floor, but it's a little easier if you can elevate yourself on a set of dumbbells, two strong chairs, or a comparable piece of equipment.

Sit on the floor, your legs outstretched in front of you. Press with your arms at your sides, palms on the ground or surface. Using the strain from your locked arms, lift your legs into the air, perpendicular to your upper torso.

Hold this position for as long as you can to get a good strength workout.

7. Stomach Vacuums

And now for something completely different!

It's simple to engage your front-facing abdominal muscles, but there's another muscle group in your core that often goes unnoticed: the transverse abdominis.

This muscle isn't visible through your skin, yet it's crucial for body stability, excellent posture, and keeping your tummy tight to your spine.

Try stomach vacuums to strengthen this muscle and have a flatter stomach.

Standing tall and straight. Expel all of the air from your body while drawing your tummy in tight. Consider sucking your stomach button back into your spine.

The transverse abdominis will contract. Hold for as long as you can, then rest and repeat.

8. Star Planks

Planks are far too effective to not include several variations in your regimen.

The star plank used similar muscles to the standard plank but is far more difficult to hold for an extended period of time.

Walk your feet and hands out wide from the push-up or regular plank stance.

Your body should be in an X shape. Raise your core off the ground, squeeze tight, and hold for as long as you can.

9. Boat Pose

Yogis are experts in core strength, so if you desire a flatter stomach, follow in their footsteps.

Boat posture is an exceptionally challenging isometric hold that develops outstanding core power and balance.

Star in a sitting pose. Lift your feet off the floor until they're about level with your face, then crunch up towards your knees. Balance on your buttocks, squeeze your abs, and keep this position for as long as possible.

Your body should form a V, with your buttocks on the ground as the only point of contact. Holding the boat pose should be quite difficult!

10. Mountain Climbers

Abs work alone will not help you lose stomach fat. But when you combine abs and cardio, you're onto something special.

Mountain climbers are ideal if you want to work your core while simultaneously breaking a sweat.

Get into a plank stance. Drive one leg at a time off the floor, up towards your chest, and back to its original position, with your arms locked and your body rigid. Repeat as quickly as possible.

It should appear as if you're ascending a hill, and it should weary you in seconds!

11. Russian Twists

Finally, let’s give the obliques a little more love.

Get down into a sit-up position and perform a crunch toward your knees. From here, lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor, clasp your hands in front of you, and twist side to side in rapid succession.

You’ll feel your obliques engage after just a few reps.

For a more difficult variation, lift your feet off the floor similar to the boat pose while performing the move, or perform the twist using a heavy medicine ball for added resistance.


The Bottom Line

The biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to six-pack abs is a low body fat percentage. That’s best accomplished by sticking to a smart diet and building your full body strength.

However, if you want to improve your athleticism, overall strength, or even your longevity, you can afford to work your abs a bit more frequently — 3-4 times per week is perfect.

If you hit them hard enough, you’ll probably see some great improvement in definition as well!

Cranking out endless crunches is one way to go about core training, but there are so many better and more challenging moves you can try without ever having to leave your living room.

Give them a shot!

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