Build an Iron-Clad Core with a No-Crunch Ab Workout


True or False, the best ab workouts tend to be the ones with no sit ups or crunches? TRUTH y’all! “Why?”, you ask. Because let’s get real for a minute, crunches are a total pain. Like, really—according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, crunches can put as much as 340 kg of force on your spine. Crunches have also been found to worsen pelvic floor dysfunction, encourage bad posture, and instead of flattening your stomach, they can actually make them protrude more!

Now, don’t take our admonition as an excuse to skip out on core workouts. It just means you have to find the right work-around so you don’t leave out one of the most essential parts of your training. So, if you’re ready to get the best home ab workout without equipment, check out our list of the 5 best ab workouts without crunches.

Do 1 to 3 circuits of the 5 exercises below and you’ll be feeling all tight and tone!

1. Plank Lifts
Plank Lifts

While Plank Lifts engage your core like nothing else, this no crunch ab workout is also great for targeting your glutes, quads, and hamstrings.

  • Get into a plank position on your hands or forearms with your shoulders above the elbows
  • Make sure your body forms a straight line
  • Engage your core and lift your right leg off the floor
  • Hold for 15 seconds
  • Put your leg down and repeat for the other side
  • Take a rest on your knees as needed and then repeat 4 times for a total of 60 seconds per side. Feel

2. Boat Pose
Boat Pose

The Boat Pose is a dynamic, elegant ab workout without crunches. But, it also pulls double duty by conditioning your core and improving your posture.

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent
  • Keeping your back straight, lean back to engage your core
  • Raise your legs, bent but parallel to the floor
  • Elevate your arms at your side
  • Balance on your tailbone
  • Straighten your legs in front of you until your torso and thighs are at a 45° angle
  • Hold for 5 breaths
  • Fold legs again
  • Repeat 5-8 times

3. Leg Lifts
Leg Lifts

Simple and slow, leg lifts are a great way to give the rest of your body a break while you target your core for some fat-burning action.

  • Lie back on a mat with your legs straight in front of you, heels together
  • Place your hands flat at your side
  • Lift your legs together until they’re perpendicular to the mat
  • Set them up and down 25 times

4. Bicycle Abs
Scissor Abs

Considered one of the best bodyweight ab workouts out there, bicycle abs is a series of super simple movements that’ll put your core to the test.

  • Lie back on the mat with your legs right in front of you
  • Lift your legs so they’re at a 45° from the mat
  • Gently place you hand behind your ears with your elbows wide
  • Draw your right knee into your chest while keeping your left leg extended and bring your left elbow towards your right knee
  • Slowly repeat on the other side
  • Move back and forth with the bicycle kicks for 30 seconds

5. Side Plank
Side Plank

Don’t worry—we didn’t forget about your sides! A side plank is a no-crunch ab workout that’ll strengthen the side abs, shoulders, and arms all in one go.

  • Get into a full plank position, with your shoulders directly above your hands
  • Drop your heels to the right
  • Lift your left arm up to the sky and hold yourself with your right arm
  • Hold for 30 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side

If you want to just follow along with some of the best home ab workouts without equipment, you can find tons of killer core workouts right here on Studio SWEAT onDemand, along with hundreds of other fat-torching, core-sculpting, on demand online classes. Try our 7-Day Free Trial, and you can stream hundreds of dynamic workouts on any device, any time. It’s go time!