Let’s face it, body weight exercises are just so much easier and convenient to perform. All you really need is a mat and some comfy gym clothes to get started. In order to achieve a flat stomach, you do not need any type of fancy machinery. The three keys to a flat stomach are a proper diet, conditioning (cardio) and optimal contractions when performing abdominal exercises. Remember, your form is what matters most, when performing these exercises always make sure you're in control of the movements, avoid any type of swinging. Don’t forget the muscle you are trying to contract.
With this being said, eating well and performing cardiovascular exercises is also key to go along with these workouts. In order to see visible signs of abs, you must bring your body fat down. The best ways to do so are with a proper diet and weekly cardio. Make sure these elements are supporting your abdominal workouts.
Heading into the summer you’ll surely want to find some easy exercises that you can perform just about anywhere. These 14 exercises fit that criteria! So without further ado let’s take a look at the 14 best body weight exercises for a flat stomach, enjoy!
14 Side Plank
This exercise mimics a regular plank in terms of execution, unlike a regular plank however which targets your core abs, the side planks stress the oblique muscles. Also proven to be a great way to stabilize your spine as well. The goal for this exercise is simply endurance and not repetitions, the longer you stay contracted in the position, the more effect the exercise will have. When performing this workout keep track of how long you can last, you’ll be amazed with how much you can improve in a short amount of time. Remember to work both sides when executing this exercise.
13 Wind Sprints
This exercise is impactful in multiple ways, not only are you working your abdominals, but you also require a degree of core strength by hanging off throughout the exercise. The goal of this exercise is raise one knee as high as you can, follow the same procedure with the other leg. Make sure to avoid any type of swinging with your body, make sure to raise your knee as high as you possibly can. The increased point of elevation causes a deeper burn to your abdominal muscles. If you’re looking for a new challenge, this exercise is a good way to go.
12 Flutter Kicks
Flutter kicks have a similar movement to wind sprints, the difference for this exercise is you're only focusing on your abdominals as opposed to your entire core by hanging off. Flutter kicks require lots and lots of reps, basically the more you go the more your abdominals will get tighter, leading to a flat stomach. Flutter kicks are more endurance based so don’t be afraid to hit some serious reps. Make sure the movement is constantly controlled, keep all the tension to your abdominals.
11 Cross Body Crunch
For those of you who love different crunch movements, the cross body crunch is one of the most strenuous and effective abdominal builders out there. The key to this exercise is to execute a crunch movement while bringing your elbow to your opposing knee. Remember that the purpose is not just to touch your elbow onto your knee but to feel an optimal contraction, once you go back down be sure to retract slowly. There are also variations in how you perform this exercise, you can do one side at a time or continuously change sides during the exercise. If you’re looking for the more difficult path, go with one different side for each rep, this will keep your body guessing.
10 Decline Reverse Crunch
This exercise requires a decline bench which will improve the range of motion for the crunch. The steeper the range, the more the contraction of the crunch intensifies in this exercise. The goal of this movement is to lay in an incline position, that will be your starting point. Proceed to kick up your legs in a controlled manner, avoid any type of swinging, the slower you go, the more contraction in your abdominals you will feel. Hold the contraction for a second before heading back down slowly. Aim for 12 to 15 reps on this exercise.
9 Bottoms Up
This exercise is similar to lying leg raises, however this movement requires your butt to lift off the ground shooting your legs in the air. The lift off the ground causes a peak contraction to your abdominals. Make sure when going back down to retract in a slow and controlled manner. This exercise is a tremendous metabolic kick-starter which triggers your heart rate because of its quick pace and movement, if you want to drop some extra calories make sure to incorporate this exercise into your rotation.
8 Lying Leg Raise
Leg raise movements seem to be a popular trend amongst trainees, they not only hit your lower abs while descending but also touch your top and middle abs on the way up. When performing this workout, make sure your body is straight at a 90 degree angle. When pushing your legs up, make sure all the tension goes to your abdominal area, once you reach the peak position hold the contraction for a second before heading back down slowly. Avoid making your legs hit the ground throughout the entire exercise, the more tension the better.
7 V-Up Crunch
The V-Up crunch is a terrific exercise which combines a lying leg raise movement with a crunch simultaneously. To perform this exercise start flat on your back, proceed to lift up your legs 90 degrees while lifting your arms in a crunching motion. The end goal is to meet your legs and arms half way at a 90 degree angle. Once the contraction is done, proceed to go back down nice and slowly. This is definitely one of my favorite bodyweight abdominal exercises out there today!
6 Spider Crawl
The Spider Crawl is a unique exercise which involves a certain degree of flexibility when executing the movement. This exercise targets your side abdominals while still keeping a focus on your core. When performing this workout start in a 90 degree position. The goal is to rotate each leg, one at a time up to your elbow or as far as possible with your knees. This is an endurance based exercise which also plays a toll on your cardiovascular abilities. Make sure you stretch before performing this flexibility based exercise.
5 Russian Twist
The Russian Twist is a very unique exercise that can also be paired in a super-set. The movement specifically targets your oblique muscles through its rotation. You can pair this exercise with another movement that targets your core abdominal area. When rotating make sure to avoid any type of swing motion, feel your oblique’s on every rep when twisting from side to side.
4 Oblique Crunch
The Oblique Crunch is an isolation movement which specifically targets your side abdominal muscles. The goal of this exercise is to crunch your elbow towards your knee. For a starting position you can start with your legs up on a bench while your body is on a mat for a higher point of evaluation. You can also perform it straight down on a mat or placing yourself on an angle as your starting position. No matter how you start, the oblique muscle is the main focus during the peak contraction. If you’re looking for a greater challenge, lift your legs onto a bench while your body remains on the ground, this will add much more added tension to the contraction.
3 Hanging Leg Raise
The hanging leg raise is a great exercise for targeting your lower abdominals. To perform this exercise, all you need is something to hang off of, this will increase the range of motion and cause more fatigue to your abdominals. The key to this exercise is to avoid any type of swinging motion, in order to do so make sure you are properly balanced before starting the exercise. Proceed to lift your legs up 90 degrees, hold the contraction for a second before slowly going back down to the starting position.
2 Dead Bug
This abdominal exercise is similar to wind sprints, the only difference is you are lying down and not hanging off an upright position. This exercise also puts more of a focus on your core abdominals. To perform this workout extend one leg just above the ground, remember to keep your body as tight as possible during this motion. After doing so, bring your leg back into the starting position with your knees, feet and hips at 90 degrees. Be sure to keep your hands pointing towards the ceiling throughout the exercise.
This is an exact reason as to why some of the best workouts for your abdominals don’t have to be the most complicated. It really doesn’t get any simpler than this ab exercise. When performing this popular workout, make sure you are straight with your arms bent directly below your shoulders. Once you’re ready, keep track of how much time you can keep yourself in the upright position. You’ll be amazed at how much you can improve over time and practice.