Good news! You don’t need a ton of equipment or even a lot of space to strengthen your core. If you’re looking to do ab exercises at home, keep scrolling for a list of core movements that’ll build strength, enhance stability, improve muscle definition, and help you perform other movements more safely and easily. No equipment needed!
5 Ab Exercises at Home for a Stronger, More Sculpted Core
1. Windshield Wipers
What makes windshield wipers so challenging is that (a) you’re always on tension and (b) you have to fight the force of gravity, which is trying to pull your legs down.
To make this movement easier, keep your knees bent at about a 90-degree angle. To make it more challenging, straighten your legs. Think of keeping both shoulders on the ground. Your feet should never touch the floor! Keep your core engaged the whole time, and you’re going to feel a serious burn.
Here’s what it looks like:
This is one of our favorite ab exercises at home because resisting gravity in this way is really challenging — and all you need is the weight of your own body.
You might find a yoga mat helpful for this one. Or, you can roll up a towel and place it under your hips/butt to give you a little extra cushioning.
2. Slo-Mo Mountain Climber
You might already be familiar with mountain climbers. They look like this:
Athletes commonly use this in their warm-ups because it’s great for getting your heart pumping. However, did you know that if you slow them down, you get a serious core workout? That’s right! It’s not all cardio.
The mechanics of the move don’t change. Rather, pick a rep scheme — like 3 sets of 20 reps, as an example – and simply slow the movement down. Think of bringing one knee to the opposite elbow, pause for a second, and then return to the starting position.
Remember that you don’t want the level of your hips to change. If it is, then they’re either “sagging” toward the ground or you’re lifting them up in the air. Either way, you’re reducing the tension, which means you’re not engaging your abs as much. Try to bring your knee to your elbow without moving anything else. The rest of your body should remain frozen.
3. Plank with Spinal Rotation
This one is more challenging than it looks. Planks are already difficult as is. And by adding in this rotation, you’re working on all new parts of your core. Here’s how to do it:
Slow and steady is the key, here. If, when rotating, you’re wobbling and almost tipping over, don’t hesitate to take a step back and simply work on finding your balance. Being able to hold each position is important for really strengthening that area. Experiment with how exactly you can stagger your feet to give your body the support and stability it needs.
4. Banana Roll
You might know what a hollow body is. And you might know what a Superman is. But what do you get when you combine the two? A banana roll!
Upon first seeing this, it doesn’t look like there’s all that much involved. And truthfully, there isn’t! But the power of the banana roll actually lies in its simplicity. You only have to do one thing: keep your limbs off the ground. If you’re working with limited space, roll back and forth. If you have more room, you can keep rolling until you hit a wall, and then reverse directions.
You might be noticing a pattern here: Don’t rush it! The point is not to finish the movement as fast as you can, but rather, to perform it with solid technique. That’s what gives all of these ab exercises at home so much potential. Three slow and controlled reps are better than five sloppy ones.
5. Plank to Downward Dog
Similar to the banana roll, the plank to downward dog combines two movements that you might already be familiar with. Downward dog isn’t just for yogis! This is how you perform it:
Some athletes feel like the goal is simply to hit one position or the other — meaning the plank or the downward dog. While these positions do offer many benefits, the real magic happens when you’re traveling in between the two. Lifting your hips up and back into downward dog, and then lowering them back down again for the plank, is what works up a burn.
Control the movement, take your time, and breathe. As an added bonus, downward dog is going to help you improve your shoulder mobility. Sweet!
Never forget that in the world of functional fitness, everything is infinitely scalable. Is a banana roll not in the cards yet? Focus on building strength with the hollow body and Superman. Is the plank with spinal rotation really giving you a run for your money? Spread your feet wider to give you a bigger base to support yourself with. Never quit — just modify! As long as you’re challenging yourself, that’s all the matters.
Having access to a gym and endless equipment is nice, yes. But rest assured that you can still accomplish your goals even without those things. (And if you do happen to have equipment like weighted balls, sandbags, dumbbells, or kettlebells, you can always use those to add a layer of challenge to these ab exercises.) Try these ab exercises at home for a stronger, leaner, meaner core. Let us know how it goes! If you’re ready to stock up on all sorts of cool equipment to work your abs and core, shop with The WOD Life today. Enjoy the gains!