The 10 Best Bodyweight Exercises to Train Your Abs and Obliques



Getting a stronger core does not have to involve shunning carbs and spending hours sweating in the gym. There is a simpler way to tone and strength your abs and obliques all without a bench, dumbbells, suspension trainers, stability balls, or abs wheel. The equipment you might want is a foam mat to protect your lower back from whatever firm surface you will be doing exercise on or a pull-up bar for certain exercises.  

Bodyweight exercises are time-savers and extremely effective. They help build core strength, decrease body fat, improve VO2 max, and boost muscular fitness. They also help increase your mobility & stability and can be modified for whatever fitness level you are. 

Add these 10 bodyweight exercises to your regular workout or as a standalone circuit to make sure your abs and obliques get all the attention they need.  

  1. Cat/Cow
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Benefits – This is a familiar yoga move that helps improve flexibility and reduce the chances of having back injuries and pain associated with that. As you build muscle in the back it helps the bones strengthen too, improving overall posture. 

Movement – Start on all fours with hands aligned beneath the shoulders and knees on the ground. Then inhale and tilt your pelvis back for cow pose. Lift your chin and look forward. For cat, exhale and tuck your tailbone and round your back towards the ceiling.  

Direction – Do 2 sets of 10 reps each with 30-second rest. 

  1. Plank
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Benefits – It targets your lower body and is a fantastic exercise to strengthen the abdominals as well as trains your core muscles. 

Movement – Get down on all fours with your forearms on the mat parallel to each other at 90°. Stretch out legs straight behind you. Keep the legs and upper body in a straight line, your head bent down at a slight angle with belly button drawn in. Hold this position for several seconds or minutes if you prefer. 

Direction – Do 2 sets of 60 seconds each with 1-minute rest in between.

  1. Side Plank
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Benefits – This move targets the obliques directly and really challenges your stability and control. 

Movement – Lie down on a mat on your left side with left forearm on the ground and your elbow under your shoulder. Make sure your body is completely straight and only the elbow and the side of your bottom foot is on the ground. Hold this position. 

Direction – Do 2 sets for either holding it for 30 seconds or 10 reps of 3 sec each.  

  1. Hanging Legs Raises
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Benefits – This one is the best and effective lower abs exercise out there and can be used to round out your core routine. All you need is a pull-up bar with an overhead grip.

Movement – Grab the bar with arms straight and feet off the ground. Keeping legs straight, use your abs to lift them up until they are parallel to the ground. Then bend our legs and raise the knees to your chest.    

Direction – 2 rounds of 10 reps with 30 seconds rest. 

  1. Oblique Mountain Climber
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Benefits – This workout targets the obliques as you bring your legs across your body while crunching. It is also a great full-body exercise. 

Movement – Start in a push-up position, supporting your weight on your hands and toes with arms straight and legs extended. Keep your shoulders, hips, and feet in a straight line. Bring one knee towards your chest and then return is to the starting position. Repeat the movement with other leg, then continue alternating for 30 seconds. 

Direction – 2 sets of 10 reps with 30-sec rest in between.

  1. Flutter Kicks
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Benefits – Flutter kicks are an essential abs exercise for anyone looking to sculpt a six-pack or strengthen their core. 

Movement – Lay on the ground with your legs extended and arms at the side or you can and place your hands underneath your buttocks to support your lower back. Lift up your legs about 3 to 4 inches off the ground. With your legs straight, begin to alternate lifting one leg higher and then lowering it again in fast motion. 

Direction – 2 sets of 60 seconds with 60 seconds rest in between.

  1. Burpee
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Benefits – Burpee is not just a cardio exercise nor is it one that builds muscle. It is an ultimate full-body exercise that increases strength, burns fat, and works on your abs. 

Movement – Start in a standing position, then squat down and place your hands on the ground. Kick your legs back so that you end up at the top of a push-up position. Keeping your elbow at a 45° angle from your ribs, perform a push-up, lowering your chest to just above the floor. Press back up and jump into the air as high as you can and as you land, squat back down and repeat.

Direction – 2 sets of 10 reps with 1-minute rest 

  1. V-Sit Crunch
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Benefits – The V-sit crunch is an abs exercise that builds core strength by working multiple areas of the core at the same time, while also challenging your balance. 

Movement – Lie flat on the ground with your arms by your sides. Then raise your legs as high as you can, keeping them straight and together as well as lift your torso and hands up towards your thighs so you form a V-shape. 

Direction – Do 2 sets of 30 seconds each with 1-minute rest.

  1. Reverse Crunch
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Benefits – This exercise will activate your major abdominal muscles, including the external obliques on the sides of the abdomen.

Movement – Lie face-up with arms at your sides, palms facing the floor. Bend knees so hips and knees form 90° angles. Tighten the lower abs and lift hips off the floor, bringing knees toward chest. Hold it and then lower back down to starting position without arching your lower back.  

Direction – Do 2 sets of 10 reps with 30-sec rest.

  1. Half Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana) 
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Benefits – This exercise strengthens your abs, back, thighs, and improves your core balance and posture.

Movement – Sit on a mat with your knees bent and lean your torso. Lift both feet until legs are parallel to the floor and reach your arms toward the feet. Stay in this position for 30 seconds 

Direction – 2 sets of 10 reps with 1 min rest.

Conclusion

These are the top 10 body weight exercises that can help you train your abs and obliques. However, there are certain variations in each and can be customized as per your fitness level.



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