Getting a strong, lean core means doing more than crunches and sit ups. However, that doesn’t mean you need a lot of fancy equipment to tone and strengthen your entire core.
Using just your own bodyweight, you can build a strong core using hybrid moves that not only target your abs, but also work multiple large muscle groups at once so you burn more calories in less time. Try these 5 Bodyweight Core Exercises to start working your core today!
Reverse Lunge to Kick
The Reverse Lunge to Kick is a great way to strengthen your glutes, quads, abs and hips.
To do the Reverse Lunge to Kick, start standing with your feet together. Then step back and sink into a lunge, lowering your back knee toward the ground as you keep your chest up and bend your front knee. Try to keep your front knee about over your ankle. Really sit back in that front heel.
Then drive through that front heel to come back up to standing. Without touching that back toe down, kick that leg out in front. Feel your hips and abs work to kick the leg out as your other glute works to keep you balanced. If you need to, touch the toe down and lunge back or move right back into the lunge without touching down. Only touch the toe down if needed to balance.
Tabletop To Side Plank Kick
This is a great plank variation to get your blood pumping as you build shoulder stability and really blast your abs, especially your obliques.
To do the Tabletop to Side Plank Kick, it may be easiest to set up first in the side plank from your hand. In the side plank position, lift your top leg up and kick it forward as you reach your hand to touch it. As you bring your hand back and straighten your leg back out, actually bend the knee and rotate to put the foot of the top leg on the ground behind you as you to come into almost a turkish bridge position.
From here, raise your straight leg up and reach the opposite hand to touch your toe. Place the straight leg back down and move back into the side plank position and kick the top leg forward as you reach to touch your toe.
Push Up Twist Sit Back
The Push Up Twist Sit Back will work your abs, glutes, chest and even shoulders and triceps.
To do the Push Up Twist Sit Back, set up in a high plank position from your feet and hands with your hands under your shoulders and feet about hip-width apart. Then from this plank position, sit back toward your heels, sitting back to one side. Keep your arms straight as you sit back. After sitting back, drive back forward into plank and perform a push up.
Beginners can go down to their knees to do the push up then come back up to their toes before sitting back and twisting to the other side.
Do not let your butt go up in the air as you move between sitting back and the plank position. Also, make sure your body moves as one unit as you perform the push up. Feel your abs working as you twist and maintain a nice straight line during the push up. Keep alternating the side you sit back to and don’t move your hands as you sit back or come forward. They should stay outside your chest at about chest height.
Mountain Climber Bridge
This move will work your obliques and glutes as you improve your shoulder stability. It will even target the muscles around your rib cage!
To do the Mountain Climber Bridge, set up in a high plank position with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your hands under your shoulders. Then drive one knee and across your body to the opposite elbow, like a cross-body mountain climber.
Move to straighten that leg back out and, as you do, kick it back over your body to rotate open into the Turkish Bridge. You’ll lift your hand up toward the ceiling as you place the foot of the leg you kicked over flat on the ground. That knee will be bent as your other leg stays straight.
Keep your hand on the ground under your shoulder and bridge your hips up by squeezing your glute. Then bring the leg back over and in for the cross body mountain climber. Feel around your rib cage work as you rotate as well as your abs in the mountain climber and glutes in the bridge.
Side Plank with Taps
This Side Plank variation will not only target your obliques, but also strengthen your glutes to improve your hip stability.
To do Side Plank with Taps, set up in a side plank from your forearm. Stack your feet and lift your bottom hip up with your chest open. Keep your elbow below your shoulder. Then raise your top leg up and bring it down to tap the ground in front of your foot.
Raise it back up center then lower it down to tap the ground behind your heel. Raise it back up center and repeat the forward tap. Keep yourself up in the side plank the entire time. Move at a slow and controlled pace.
Using these 5 moves and your own bodyweight, you can work your core from every angle and strengthen the muscles down your frontside and your backside!
Cori is the owner of Redefining Strength, a functional training facility in Orange County, California focused on helping each client find their strong. She started training and writing a fitness blog in 2011 because she wanted to empower people through diet and exercise so that they can lead healthier, happier lives.