Woman doing a plank in her living room

Strength training: 4 of the best core moves that need no equipment

Posted by for Strong Women

Bored of crunches? We recommend four of the best at-home no equipment moves to try for when you want a killer core workout.

There’s nothing quite like the rush of completing a heavy lift at the gym, but adding some extra load to your barbell  isn’t the only way to gain strength. Working your core is an equally important aspect of strength training.

Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony, leading to better balance, stability and of course, strength

The best news is, using your body weight alone, you can still get a killer ab workout in. With these moves, slow and steady wins the race: make sure that you keep core moves slow and controlled. Going too fast is just cheating, because it will take the burn out of the exercise.

Getting your form right is essential when working your abs. Make sure you tuck your ribs in, driving them down towards the hips, rather than arching your back. And during moves that involve lying on your back, have an “imprinted spine” by tucking your tailbone under and keeping the lower back connected to the floor.

Here are our favourite, equipment free moves that work your core. And no, we haven’t recommended crunches

THE BEST BODYWEIGHT AB EXERCISES

Plank variations

Don’t hate us, but it’s possible to make standard and side planks even more challenging. Just remember, slow and controlled.

1. Make them dynamic by adding in forward and backwards rocking motions or twisting side to side 

2. You can also make planks harder by elevating a part of your body, like lifting off a hand or a foot

Russian twists

1. Lean back in a seated position

2. Turn your core from side to side, working your obliques

3. Increase intensity of the entire core by lifting your feet off the ground while you turn

Dead bugs

This move will work the entire front of your core.

1. Lying on your back, put your knees in tabletop position and your arms at 90°. 

2. Slowly lower one arm and extend the opposite leg to just above the floor, then bring back to the starting position. 

Supermans

We always forget the back of our core, so our multifidus and erector spinae. Bird dogs, which are essentially the opposite of a dead bug, are great for working that section. 

1. Come into a kneeling position, hands under shoulders and knees under hips

2. Then lift an arm and a leg out, squeezing tightly

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).

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