muscle man abs crunch six pack best bodyweight exercises

The best bodyweight abs exercises

Build rock-hard abs anytime and anywhere with the 7 best bodyweight exercises for sculpting a six-pack!

1 Crunch

Targets: Upper abs
crunch exercise demo  crunch exercise demo

How to do it: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, and bend your arms so your fingers touch the side of your head. Engage your abs, then raise your torso off the floor without tensing your neck. Keep that tension on your abs as you slowly lower your torso back to the floor. Make the move harder by not allowing your upper back to touch the floor between reps.

Expert tip: In the top position, hold for a second or two to fully contract your upper abs . This extra tension makes this one of the best bodyweight abs exercises and goes a long way towards building harder and more defined abs.

2 Reverse crunch

Targets: Lower abs
reverse crunch exercise  reverse crunch exercise demo
How to do it: Lie flat on your back with your hands at the sides of your head and your legs straight. Use your lower abs to draw your knees towards your chest, then raise your hips off the ground. Lower back to the start.

Expert tip: Just as with the classic crunch, hold the top position for a second or two and focus on tensing your lower abs as hard as you can to work even more muscle fibres.

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3 Lying leg raise

Targets: Lower abs
lying leg raise exercise  lying leg raise exercise demo

How to do it: Lie flat on your back with your legs straight and your hands either by your head or under the small of your back. Engage your abs, then raise your feet as high as you can. Lower slowly back to the start.

Expert tip: Make this best bodyweight abs exercise work your lower abs even harder by not allowing your heels to touch the floor between reps. To make it easier touch your heels on the floor between reps.

4 V-sit

Targets: Upper abs, lower abs
v sit exercise  v sit exercise demo

How to do it: Lie flat on your back with your hands at the sides of your head and knees bent with feet off the floor. Use your upper and lower abs to raise your elbows and knees so they meet, then slowly return to the start.

Expert tip: You can make the move slightly harder by not allowing your upper back to touch the floor between reps, or make it slightly easier by allowing your feet to touch the floor between reps.

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5 V-up

Targets: Upper abs, lower abs
v up exercise demo  v up exercise demo
How to do it:
Lie flat on your back with your arms straight and pointing upwards. Use your upper abs to raise your torso up while at the same time bending your knees and using your lower abs to draw your knees in towards your chest. Keep your arms straight so your hands move past your knees. Hold this top position for a second then slowly return back to the start.

6 T press-up

Targets: Chest, core, obliques
T press up exercise demo  T press up exercise demo
How to do it:
Get into position with your palms on the floor, your wrists underneath your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Engage your abs and bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor. Go as low as you can, then press back up and rotate your torso to raise one arm into the air, making sure your head turns to follow the path of your hand. Reverse the movement back down and go straight into the next rep. Alternate sides with each rep.

Expert tip: Fully tense your core before starting each rep to help you keep your balance. This move is one of the very best bodyweight abs exercises, but good form is essential!

7 Plank

Targets: Core
Plank exercise demo
How to do it:
Get into the plank position, supporting yourself on your forearms with either hands clasped together or palms pressed together. Engage your abs, then raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Hold this position by keeping your abs and glutes engaged to prevent your hips from sagging.

Expert tip: It’s tempting when doing a plank to hold your breath, especially as the set progresses. But you must keep your breathing regular and controlled to avoid raising your blood pressure. Try and stay relaxed whilst keeping your core tight for harder abs.

8 Side plank

Targets: Core, obliques
Side plank exercise demo
How to do it:
Lie on your side, supporting your upper body on your left forearm with your right arm bent and your right hand on your hip. Engage your abs, then raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Keep your abs and glutes engaged to hold this position without letting your hips sag. Keep your breathing controlled and relaxed.

Expert tip: For side planks, or any exercise that only works one side of your body at a time, always ensure you spend equal training time on the left-side and the right-side variations of the exercise.

9 Side plank star

Targets: Core, obliques
Side plank star exercise demo

How to do it:
Lie on your side, supporting your upper body on your left forearm with your right arm flat against your right-hand side. Engage your abs, then raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Keep your abs and glutes engaged to hold this position without letting your hips sag. Then raise your right arm straight up so your fingers point to the ceiling while at the same time raising your right leg up into the air. Hold this position and keep your breathing controlled and relaxed.

Expert tip: Get better at this tough variation by first doing sets where you only raise your arm up. Then do sets where you only raise your leg up, then practice raising both at the same time.

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