Shayna Schmidt | Feb. 5, 2018

Core exercises are extremely important because the core is your center, your tree trunk. Every single move ultimately derives from the core. Core exercises can improve posture, reduce and prevent lower-back pain and advance athletic performance. With enough reps and a good meal plan, they may also give you that 6-pack as a bonus.

All you need for these 10 core exercises is a little bit of a space and a little bit of time. Oh and maybe some motivation as well. If you can’t find any of the latter, sign up for a Livekick training program today and give yourself your very own personal motivator. If you can, here are 10 bodyweight moves for which you need zero equipment. Add these moves any part of your workout to make sure your core is getting the love it needs.

  1. Mountain Climbers
    • Get into the top of the push-up position. Maintaining a flat back, bring your right knee in toward your chest, then quickly bring it back to the starting position. Next, bring your left knee in in toward your chest then return to starting position. Now, speed up the movement, alternating legs quickly as if you were running in place with your hands on the ground.
  2. V-Ups (aka “Jackknifes”)
    • Lie on your back with your legs straight out on the floor, arms extended above your head and hands touching the floor. This is the starting position. Bring your body to a "V" shape by lifting your legs and torso toward each other, keeping both your legs straight and arms extended. Lift your shoulder blades off the ground as you raise your legs as close to perpendicular to the floor as you can. Touch your hands to your legs, then lower your torso, arms and legs back to the floor. That's one rep.
  3. Burpees
    • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Squat and place your palms on the floor. Keeping your hands on the floor, immediately kick your legs behind so you end up in the top of a push-up position (for an advanced version of the move, do a push-up here). With your hands still on the floor, quickly draw up your legs so your feet land back between your hands. Now, jump vertically with your hands reaching straight overhead. That's one rep.
  4. Knee Hugs
    • Lie on your back with legs extended and heels touching the floor. Straighten your arms above your head, hands touching the floor. This is the starting position. Simultaneously bend both legs and bring knees to your chest as you bring arms down to hug your knees. Now, release your knees and extend your legs and arms again, returning your heels back to the ground. For an advanced version, never let your heels touch the ground, and/or do alternating one knee at a time. That's one rep.
  5. Oblique Crunches
    • Lie on your back on the floor. Start with legs in semi-supine, as if you’re about to do a regular crunch. Cross left ankle over right knee so that your left knee is flared out to the side. Place your hands on the back of your head with your elbows flared out to each side. Crunch your right elbow to your left knee and then lower yourself back down to the starting position. That’s one rep on one side. Complete one side before switching to the other. 
  6. Plank
    • Get in the top push-up position. Bend your elbows and place your forearms flat on the floor beneath you. Brace your core muscles to keep your back flat. Make sure your toes are pointed into the ground. Hold the position for the prescribed duration. For a progressed version, try dynamic plank variations or planks with movement including tapping both knees to the ground, tapping alternating knees to the ground, tapping left foot out to the left side and then tapping right foot out to the right side, etc.
  7. Side Plank Dips
    • To do a side plank, rotate from the traditional plank position above so you're supported by your right forearm (or, for an advanced version, your hand with a fully extended arm). Your left hand can either be extended in the air or on your left hip. Stack your left foot on top of your right foot and extend your left arm towards the ceiling. Dip your hips toward the ground as low as they will go and then straighten back up into the starting position. This is one rep. Complete all reps on one side, then roll your body so that you’re now supporting your body on your left forearm with your right arm in the air or on right hip.
  8. Dead Bugs
    • Lie on your back with arms and your legs straight and perpendicular to the floor - hands and feet both pointed toward the ceiling. This is the starting position. Now, extend your left leg and your right arm in opposite directions towards the floor without either of them quite touching the ground. Double check that your core is engaged and your lower back does not leave the floor. Your back will want to arch but use your abdominal muscles to keep it pressed firmly into the floor. One arm should always be in the starting position, above your chest and pointed towards the ceiling, while the other is extended above your head with the hand close to or touching the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement with your right leg and your left arm. Return to the starting position. That's one rep.
  9. Reverse Crunches
    • Lie down on your back with your legs fully extended, arms along your sides and palms on the floor. Move your legs up so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your feet are together. This is the starting position. As you breathe in, pull the knees toward your chest as you roll your pelvis backward and raise your hips and upper back off the floor. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds then exhale as you move your legs back to the starting position.
  10. Flutter Kicks
    • Lie down, back pressed against the floor, with arms fully extended to each side and palms facing down. With a slight bend in your knees, lift your legs up so your heels are about 6 inches off the ground. This is the starting position. As if your legs were a pair of scissors, open and close them by crossing one extended leg over the other, alternating which leg is on top. Keep your core braced at all times.
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