Whether you want to increase your core strength, stability, or endurance, the calisthenics ab exercises can be useful. You can do several bodyweight calisthenics workouts for abs at home with little to no equipment.
Calisthenics exercises are proven to be effective for improving muscle coordination than other forms of training like Pilates1Effects of calisthenics and Pilates exercises on coordination and proprioception in adult women: a randomized controlled trial – (Journal Sports Rehabilitation) and help you improve posture, strength, and body composition without the use of any major training equipment, all you need is your body weight. 2 The effects of a calisthenics training intervention on posture, strength and body composition – Isokinetics and Exercise Science (Research Gate)
Is Calisthenics Exercises Good for Core?
Yes, calisthenics exercises are effective for developing core strength and stability. V ups, hanging knee raise, hallow crunches, plank hold are some of the best calisthenics workouts you can do to build strong abs and core.
A study suggested that adding core strength and stability exercises can also help you ease low back pain, reduces the risk of injuries, and improve body composition. 3 Optimizing Performance by Improving Core Stability and Core Strength – Sports Medicine
However, any exercise that you perform with poor form can lead to injuries. So when you feel discomfort or pain, check your form and improve so that you can train effectively.
List of Calisthenics Ab Exercises
So, let’s see what calisthenics workout you can do for your abs with and without equipment.
- Hollow Body Crunch
- Hanging Knee Raises
- Reverse crunches
- Front and Side Plank
- Windshield Wipers
- Single Leg Tuck-up
- Lying Leg Raises
- V ups
- Dragon Flag Negatives
- Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
- Sit ups
All the above core exercises are a part of my general abs workout routine. And I’ve included them in my 10-minutes core workout plan.
1. Hollow Body Crunch
The hollow body crunch is considered one of the best calisthenics workouts for abs. It highly activates and engages core muscles and helps you build six-pack abs faster (if you have a low body fat percentage).
It works as many as six muscles at the same time, for example, oblique, hip flexors, back, hamstrings, quads, glutes, and especially the abdominal muscle.
You can incorporate this exercise in your calisthenics abs workouts routine to improve your core strength, stability, and endurance.
How to do hollow body crunch
- Lie on your back on the mat with your arms are straight behind you and legs are straight in front of you.
- Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, lift of your legs off the floor and bend your knees in front of you so your feet are facing forward, and thighs in line with your hips. That’s the start.
- Inhale and raise your upper torso along with your arms off the floor (until you feel the contraction in your abs) while keeping your lower back entirely on the floor.
- Inhale, pause for a moment and then lower your torso on the mat and repeat for the desired number of times.
- Do two sets with as little rest as possible.
2. Hanging Knee Raises
This will also help you improve grip strength, dead hang, and pull-up ability.
How to do hanging knee raise
- Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip, hands are shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your legs straight downward.
- Engaging your abdominal muscle, bring your knees upward toward your body until your abs fully engaged.
- Hold for a couple of second (you’ll feel the contraction in your abs) and then lower your legs until your knees are extended. That’s your complete rep.
- Try to perform two sets of 10 reps each.
You may also like: Calisthenics Pull Workout (The 9 Best Exercises)
3. Reverse crunches
The reverse crunches are better than traditional crunches because they engage core muscles efficiently and put less stress on your lower back.
The reverse crunches allow you specifically target your lower abs.
Incorporating reverse crunches in your calisthenics ab exercises routine can improve core stability, tone muscles, and may help you build six-pack abs quickly.
How to do reverse crunches:
- Lie on the mat with your face facing upward.
- Bend your knees so your thighs are in line with your hips, feet flat on the ground.
- Keep your arms out to the sides with the palms are facing downward. That’s the start.
- Exhale, brace your abdominal muscles, and lift your feet off the floor and bring your knees toward your chest (while keeping your knees bent) until your abdominal muscles fully engaged. Your hips will also be off the mat when you bring your knees toward your chest.
- Hold in this position for a couple of seconds, breathe as usual and then return your knees to the start. And without landing your feet on the ground, do the next repetitions.
- Do two sets of 10 to 20 repetitions each depending on your strength and endurance.
4. Front and Side Plank
The plank is one of the best compound workouts that work on several muscles at once, such as arms, shoulders, hips, legs, and primarily the core.
You can have good core exercise in just 1 to 2 minutes.
Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, you must include planks in your calisthenics abs exercises for developing a strong and stable core.
The plank has several variations such as forearm plank, side plank, extended plank, high plank, etc.
Let’s take a look at how to do the forearm front and side plank with step-by-step instructions.
- Get into an “up” position of pushup, with your arms are straight underneath your shoulder and legs are straight behind you so your body forms a straight line from your head to the heels.
- Hold your body weight on your forearms and the toes and keep your core tight.
- Hold in this position for as long as you can (at least for 45 seconds) for effective result.
- Lie on your either side with your forearm on the ground underneath your shoulder, and keep your legs straight in a stacked position.
- Lift your hips off the floor and maintain a straight torso. That’s your start.
- Brace your core and hold in this position 20 to 30 seconds and then switch on the opposite side.
- Do it once on each side.
Also, Read: The Best Calisthenics Chest Workout
5. Calisthenics L-Sit Ab Exercise
The L-sit is one of the best calisthenics ab exercises you can do with and without equipment for developing a powerful core.
How to do L sit on a floor
- Sit on the floor on your buttock with your legs are straight in front of you. And keep your hands on the floor besides hips.
- Brace abdominal muscles, keep your back as straight as possible and push into the floor with your hands to lift your legs (straight and together) off the floor, your thighs will be parallel to the floor.
- Hold in this position for as long as you can and then lower your body to the start. Repeat three times.
- When you hold your legs above the floor, keep them as straight as possible.
- Keep your core engaged throughout the movement.
6. Windshield Wipers
- Lie on the mat with your legs are straight and together on the floor.
- Keep your arms straight out to the sides with your palms down.
- Keeping your core tight and hands firmly on the ground raise your legs until your feet facing toward the ground.
- Now brings your legs down to the right and then to the left. And repeat as many times as you like.
- You’ll feel the contraction in your abdominal muscles during the entire movement.
7. Single-Leg Tuck-up
The single-leg tuck-up is simple but an effective calisthenics exercise for abs.
You can incorporate it in your calisthenics workout plan to strengthen and tone core muscles.
How to do single-leg tuck up
- Lying on your back keep your arms straight behind you and legs in front of you.
- Brace your abdominal muscles, exhale and lift your upper torso off the floor along with your arms and bring your right knee inside toward your chest simultaneously.
- Pause for a moment and then return your torso on the mat and repeat for the desired number of times.
- Follow the same steps and do equal number of reps and sets on both sides.
8. Lying Leg Raises
When you want to engage your lower abs specifically, you can do lying leg raises. The leg raises is one of the important calisthenics exercises for ab that use to build six-pack abs.
It is one of those core exercises that help you build a powerful core without putting less stress on your lower back.
How to do leg raises
- Lying straight on the mat, keep your arms straight at your sides or under your gltues.
- Raise your legs straight and together until your hips are fully flexed.
- Pause for a couple of seconds and then lower your legs back to the floor and repeat for the required number of repetitions.
- Do a couple of sets of 10 reps each with as little rest as possible.
9. Calisthenics V-ups Ab Exercise
The V up is an advanced calisthenics workout for abs that help you increase strength, stability, balance, and endurance.
I love doing V-ups as I feel my core work greatly during this exercise. The V ups helped me improved my overall core fitness.
Whether you’re just strengthening your core or building six-pack abs, incorporating V-ups in your workout regime helps you achieve your fitness goal.
How to do V up
- Lying on your back on the floor, keep your arms extended overhead and legs straight in front of you.
- Contracting your abdominal muscles, raise your legs and trunk simultaneously until your fingertips touches your toes.
- Keep your lower body also engaged during the movement.
- Do two sets of as many repetitions as possible.
10. Dragon Flag Negatives Calisthenics Ab Workout
The dragon flag is one of the most efficient, effective, and challenging calisthenics exercises for abs.
Your entire body works while doing this move. And you need to have good strength, balance, and mobility to perform the dragon flag efficiently.
Here’s how you can also perform dragon flag negatives
11. Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
The ab wheel rollout is one of the best calisthenics workouts for abs.
The roll-out exercise was found to be the most effective exercise in activating abdominal muscle and other major muscles such as rectus femoris, arms, back, and chest in a study published on the National Institute of Health. 4Electromyographic analysis of traditional and nontraditional abdominal exercises: implications for rehabilitation and training – Physical Therapy Article on NIH
There are several wheel roll-out variations you can do, such as kneeling roll-out, oblique wheel rollout, rollout on toes, etc.
Let’s see how to do kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
- Sit on your knees, place rollout equipment on the floor under underneath your chest.
- Grab the both end of the rollout tool firmly.
- Keeping the abdominal muscles tight, roll the tool forward until your arms are extended in front of you and lift your feet off the ground as you roll forward.
- Hold for a moment in the extended position, and then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
- Keep your back as straight as you can throughout the entire movement.
- Perform two sets of 5 to 10 reps each.
Sit-up is one of the most common calisthenics workouts for abs. It works on abdominal muscles and engages the chest, hip flexors, and lower back.
The sit-up is slightly different from crunches which specifically work on your abs. – Situps vs. Crunches – Health line
The sit-ups allow your body to burn more calories, build a strong core, and may help you improve posture.
How to do sit up correctly:
- Start with lying on the floor on your back.
- Bend your knees in front of you with your feet flat on the ground. And keep your fingertips behind your ears. That’s the start.
- Raise your trunk all the way up toward your knees, you’ll feel the contraction in your abdominal muscles.
- Breathe out, pause for a couple of seconds, and then return to the start.
- Do as many sets and reps as needed.
Can You Get A Six-Pack From Calisthenics Workouts?
Yes, calisthenics core exercises can help you build six-pack abs quickly. Hollow body crunch, hanging knee raises, reverse crunches, front, and side plank, and V ups are some of the best calisthenics workouts for abs that increase core strength, stability, and endurance and help you build six-packs.
You may like: The 15-Minute HIIT Core Workout And Exercises
How Often Should You Train Abs through Calisthenics Workout?
Two to three times a week you can train your abs through a calisthenics abs workout. If you’re a beginner, you can train your abs once a week, and if you’re an intermediate or advanced, you can do calisthenics abs exercises two to three times a week depending on your strength.
Related: What's The Best Time To Workout Abs?
- 1Effects of calisthenics and Pilates exercises on coordination and proprioception in adult women: a randomized controlled trial – (Journal Sports Rehabilitation)
- 2The effects of a calisthenics training intervention on posture, strength and body composition – Isokinetics and Exercise Science (Research Gate)
- 3Optimizing Performance by Improving Core Stability and Core Strength – Sports Medicine
- 4Electromyographic analysis of traditional and nontraditional abdominal exercises: implications for rehabilitation and training – Physical Therapy Article on NIH