15 Simple Yet Effective Ab Exercises You Can Do at Home
Looking to get in an effective ab workout at home? Great news: if you don't belong to a gym or have access to workout equipment, at-home bodyweight workouts can be just as challenging. And that's especially true when it comes to working your abs. For an amazing core burn, all you need are a mat (or a comfortable floor), your own bodyweight, and the right moves — and you know we've got you covered with that last one. Keep reading for 15 easy ab exercises that are simple to learn but actually really challenging (and super effective).
Choose three to five of these bodyweight ab exercises to create your own at-home ab workout. Mix them up so you work different parts of your core, including your lower abs, upper abs, obliques (the sides of your abdomen), and transverse abdominis (your deep abdominal muscles). You'll see classic moves like plank variations, reverse crunches, bicycle crunches, Russian twists, and Pilates-inspired moves (such as double leg lifts and the Pilates swimming move that targets your back muscles — which are also part of your core!). If you need some guidance on how to put these easy ab exercises together into a routine, try this quick bodyweight ab workout that uses six of the moves listed here.
Easy Ab Exercise: Seated Russian Twist
You can do this ab exercise right in your living room.
- Sit on the ground with your knees bent, pull your abs to your spine, and lean back a few inches while keeping your back straight.
- Hold your hand at your chest, and twist your torso to the right, then to the left. That's one rep.
Easy Ab Exercise: V-Sit
Test out your balance and build a strong core with V-sits.
- Lie on your back, and reach your arms rigidly to your side, off the floor. Lift your legs off the floor, so they're at about a 45-degree angle. Lift your head so your shoulders are off the floor as well.
- When you're ready to begin, lift your upper torso off the floor and bend your knees. You can lean back to make this move harder or come up more to make it easier.
- Slowly lower your upper body back down to the floor, straightening out your legs as you do so. Stop when your back is on the floor, but not your head, shoulders, or legs. That's one rep.
Easy Ab Exercise: Pilates Scissor
You'll feel the burn in your lower abs with this Pilates ab move.
- Lie on your back with both legs in the air and your head and shoulders off the ground.
- Hold your right leg as you lower your left leg toward the floor.
- Keep your abs pulled to your spine, and switch legs. That's one rep.
Easy Ab Exercise: Reverse Crunch
Tackle your lower abs with this fun variation of a crunch.
- Lie on your back on the floor. Place your hands on the floor beside you.
- Bring your knees in toward your chest with your feet together.
- Use your abs to slowly curl your hips off the floor and towards your chest, then slowly lower them back to the starting position. Don't swing your legs to create momentum; use your abs to control your movement.
- This completes one rep.
Easy Ab Exercise: Bicycle Crunch
This no-impact move works your obliques and upper abdominals.
- Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands behind your head. Bring in your knees toward your chest and lift your shoulder blades off the ground.
- Straighten your right leg, hovering it off the ground, while turning your upper body to the left bringing your right elbow toward your left knee. Make sure your rib cage is moving and not just your elbows.
- Switch sides, extending the left leg and drawing the left knee in. That's one rep.
Easy Ab Exercise: Crunchy Frog
This fun move will have your core shaking.
- Begin sitting and rock back slightly to lift your feet off the floor, pulling your knees to your chest.
- Exhale, pull your navel to your spine, and lean back slightly as you open your arms to the sides and straighten your legs.
- Inhale and return to the starting position. That's one rep.
Easy Ab Exercise: Resistance Band Flutter Kicks
No-equipment flutter kicks will ignite your abs. If you have a resistance band to add, you'll feel it even more!
- If you have a resistance band, loop one handle of the band on either foot. Hold onto the middle of the tube with both hands.
- Lie on your back. Draw your navel toward your spine, and press your low spine into the floor to protect your lower back. Lift both legs up so they are almost pointing straight up toward the ceiling.
- Scissor your legs up and down one at a time, starting with the left leg. Move slowly, and point your toes. Each time your right foot lowers down, it counts as one rep.
- To make this move more difficult, lower your legs so they are about six to 10 inches above the floor, as in the lower image. Make sure to keep your abs scooped when you work with your legs close to the ground.
Easy Ab Exercise: Double Crunch
This super-effective crunch variation will work both your upper and lower abs at the same time.
- Lie on your back on the floor, raising your arms and legs to a 90-degree angle.
- Engage your abs to lift both your shoulders and pelvis off the ground. Touch your fingers to your toes.
- Keeping your core engaged the entire time, slowly lower them back to the starting position. That's one rep.
Easy Ab Exercise: Toe-Touch Crunches
The toe-touch crunch builds on the double crunch, adding even more engagement of your lower abs.
- Lie on your back and lift your legs and arms up so they're extended toward the ceiling.
- Lower your legs toward the floor while reaching your arms overhead, keeping your shoulders off the mat and lower back pressed into the mat.
- Crunch your arms and legs in, reaching your hands toward your feet (with your upper back off the floor), and your feet toward the ceiling. That's one rep.
Easy Ab Exercise: Basic Crunch
There's nothing wrong with sticking to the classics. This old favorite is easy to do anywhere.
- Lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put your hands behind your ears, elbows pointing straight out to the sides.
- Focusing on your core muscles, lift your head and shoulders and raise up until your head, shoulders, and back are off the floor. Keep your belly button pulled in.
- Lower back down. That's one rep.
Easy Ab Exercise: Half Banana
This dynamic move puts yet another twist on the classic crunch. By extending your legs and arms, you'll feel even more of a burn.
- Start by lying on your back with your arms reaching toward the ceiling.
- Exhale and roll up toward sitting while lifting your left leg up. Pause at the top and reach for your toes before rolling down slowly back to the mat.
- Repeat on the other side. That's one rep.
Easy Ab Exercise: T-Cross Sit-Up
Similar to the half banana, this move adds a twist to work your obliques.
- Begin lying on the floor with your legs straight and arms out wide to the sides, making a T with your body.
- In a slow and controlled motion, sit up, lifting your right leg and twisting to bring your left hand to your right toes.
- Hold this position for a moment, pulling your abs toward your spine.
- Slowly roll down to return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. That's one rep.
Easy Ab Exercise: Twisting Side Plank
Planks are hard enough, but if you want to really work your obliques, add in this side crunch.
- Come into a side plank on your right side, with your feet stacked one on top of the other and your weight on your right elbow, palm down.
- Place your left arm behind your head, and inhale to prepare.
- Exhale and pull your navel to your spine to engage your deep abs, then rotate your left rib cage toward the floor.
- Stay there for a second, and deepen your abdominal connection by pulling your navel in toward your spine even more.
- Return to the starting position. That's one rep.
Easy Ab Exercise: Double Leg Lift
This classic Pilates move creates an intense burn in your lower abs.
- Lay face-up on the floor with your legs extended straight up toward the ceiling. Place your hands underneath the back of your head, or extend your arms out to the side and grip the floor for more stability.
- Pressing your lower back into the ground, slowly lower both legs down toward the floor, going as far down as you can before your lower back starts to lift.
- Slowly lift your legs back up. That's one rep. If this is too difficult, lower one leg at a time.
Easy Ab Exercise: Pilates Swimming
Your posture and core will thank you for breaking into this quick move.
- Lie on your stomach with your arms reaching overhead, pulling your abs away from the floor to protect and lengthen your lower back. Lift your legs, arms, and head off the mat.
- Keeping your knees straight, lift your entire right leg and left arm a few inches away from the floor.
- As you lower your right leg and left arm, lift your left leg and right arm away from the mat in a swimming motion, keeping your torso stable. That's one rep.