5 Killer Ab Exercises Using Only Your Bodyweight
Doing ab crunches is one of the biggest time wasters in most exercise programs. It doesn't burn a lot calories and it won't really help you get 6-pack abs. After all, who has 30 minutes to spend doing crunches everyday?
Fortunately, there are many effective ab exercises you can do at home. I'm going to list 5 killer ab exercises you can do without any equipment in just a small area of your house using only your bodyweight. Here are the bodyweight abs exercises and two sample circuits at the end of this article.
#1 - Side Plank
This is a unique, yet killer bodyweight ab exercise for your obliques. In fact, one research study compared it to 5 other common ab exercises and the researchers were shocked to find the simple Side Plank made the obliques work the hardest. Here's how to do the side plank.
Lie on your side on a mat. Lift your body up and support it on your elbow so that your body hovers in a straight line over the mat. Keep your back straight and your hips up. Brace your abs as if someone was about to punch you in the stomach. In this position, continue to breathe normally and hold steady for 10 seconds (beginner) to 60 seconds (advanced). Take a quick rest and then repeat for the other side.
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#2 - Mountain Climbers
For this bodyweight ab exercise, start in the top of the push-up position. Brace your abs and pick one foot up off the floor, and slowly bring your knee up to your chest. Do not let your hips sag or rotate - that's why you have to keep your abs braced. Slowly return your leg to the start position. Alternate sides until you complete all of the required repetitions. This is tough for the upper body and abs.
#3 - Cross-Body Mountain Climbers
Start in the top of the push-up position. Brace your abs and pick one foot up off the floor, and slowly bring your knee up - BUT in this exercise, bring it across your body to your opposite elbow. Keep your abs braced and slowly return your leg to the start position. Alternate sides until you complete all of the required repetitions. This exercise works the obliques more than the regular Mountain Climber bodyweight ab exercise.
#4 - Spiderman Climb
Start in the top of the pushup position keeping your abs braced for the entire exercise. Pick one foot up off the floor, and slowly bring your knee up outside of your shoulder and touch your foot to the ground beside your hand. This requires a lot of mobility. If you can't do this, don't worry, and don't force the movement. Just start in the pushup position and take your foot up as high as you can comfortably.
Keeping your abs braced, slowly return your foot to the start position. Alternate sides until you complete all of the required repetitions for this bodyweight ab exercise.
#5 - Spiderman Push-up
Many pushup exercises are great bodyweight ab exercises, particularly the advanced Spiderman Pushup. Start in the pushup position with your abs braced. Your hands should be on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line from toes to shoulders. You can even do this one on your knees.
Slowly lower yourself down until you are an inch off the ground. As you lower yourself, slowly bring your right knee up to your right elbow. Keep your right foot off the ground as you do so. Push through your chest, shoulders and triceps to return to the start position, and return your right leg to the start position. Alternate sides until you complete all repetitions, but focus on keeping your body in a straight line at all times and try not to twist your hips.
Those are some unique but effective bodyweight exercises to help you work your 6-pack abs and your oblique muscles. Here are two sample circuits for you to do using three exercises at a time. Do not rest between exercises, but take a one minute rest at the end of the circuit before repeating one more time.
In the first circuit, start with Mountain Climbers for 10 reps, then do the Side Plank for 10-30 seconds per side, and finish with Spiderman Pushups for 6 reps per side.
In the second circuit, begin with the Spiderman Climb for 6 reps per side, then do the Side Plank for 15-45 seconds per side, and complete the circuit with Cross-Body Mountain Climbers for 8 reps per side.
These bodyweight ab exercises will work and sculpt your 6-pack abs and oblique muscles in a fun, fast and unique way - without requiring a trip to the gym.
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