Forget Russian twists — this is one of the best ab workouts at home without equipment

Group of athletic men doing toe touch crunch workout exercise outdoors on building rooftop floor
(Image credit: Shutterstock/ Astock Productions)

It’s time to torch your core using this seven-move ab workout. But you can put down your gym equipment because this one relies on your bodyweight.

A calisthenics workout is known as one of the toughest ways to train. Bodyweight training can help develop muscle mass and build strength, and there are plenty of ways to progress exercises without heavy weights. 

This core workout does just that — testing your core strength to the maximum without overused exercises like traditional Russian twists or sit-ups or even using weight. Grab one of the best yoga mats to train on, and read on. 

7-move “Epic core HIIT” ab workout to try 

This core crusher splits into two phases — a 28-minute EMOM, which can be tackled as a standalone abs workout, and a five-minute plank challenge. Now, we consider ourselves quite the experts on the best plank variations, but these will put your midsection through the wringer. 

I'm handing it over to Instagram for the inspiration this time. The workout, courtesy of abs_exercise and trainer Dan Cunningham, uses rate of perceived exertion (RPE) to measure your effort on each exercise. The team says: “Start at 6/10 intensity and then 7,8 and finally 9/10.” You should feel smoked by the last round.

During the plank round, pause and reset your positioning whenever you need to prioritize your technique. Despite looking like an abs masterclass, it’s suitable for all fitness levels, so do what you can and scale when you need.

EMOM 28 minutes

  • Loaded beast — knee to forehead
  • x3 heel kick — iso squat lateral chop
  • Crunch — wide-legged v-up
  • x4 cross jacks — crow pose
  • V-sit-up — cushion pass
  • 2 or 3-point half burpees
  • Lateral leg raise — prone leg raise

5-minute plank challenge

  • 2 minutes: Alternating leg raise forearm plank
  • 2 minutes: Lateral leg raise side plank
  • 1 minute: Single-arm forearm plank

The cushion pass is the only exercise requiring some equipment, but it could be anything you can hold — from a towel to a bottle of water — and as heavy or light as you like. And if two or three-point burpees don’t suit, go for regular chest-to-floor burpees instead.

Like most of the best abs workouts, this one hits core muscles in various planes of motion, not just the rectus abdominis or six-pack muscles, as they’re better known. 

Complete four rounds of the first phase of this ab workout (the EMOM), starting with the first exercise on the first minute, the second on the second minute and so on. Rest between rounds, then move to your five-minute plank finisher. 

In the fitness industry, we have a terrible habit of giving one exercise a million names for absolutely no reason. So if the moves above sound unfamiliar, check out the video for tips on form and how to do each ab exercise. We guarantee you’ll recognize most of them.

As always, keep your core engaged by gently sucking your stomach towards your spine, and work within your limits.

Man against concrete backdrop performing a crunch with hands behind head

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Verdict

A creative seven-move ab workout that doesn’t recycle the same old moves? Sign me up! I tried this one at home recently and was pleasantly surprised. The aim is to work your core hard, but your entire body gets a blast during the session.

The high-intensity ab workout mobilizes the spine and works your back, chest, shoulders, arms, glutes and legs, too. High-intensity exercises also get the blood pumping around your body and strengthen the heart and lungs, improving overall cardiovascular fitness and your capacity for endurance.

I prefer ab workouts that focus on compound exercises (moves that don’t isolate one muscle group) because you can work more muscles and teach them to recruit and work together, which also requires more energy and can burn more calories. Sadly, that doesn't mean chiseled abs overnight, but it'll certainly strengthen them. 

Despite twists being off the table for some, I recommend using them in your core routine if they work for you. Ab exercises like the lateral chop work your body through the transverse plane, working your oblique muscles that run down your waist and support various types of movement, like side flexion.

Looking for more ab workouts in the meantime? Check out some of our favorites below. 

More from Tom's Guide

Sam Hopes
Senior Staff Writer - Fitness

Sam Hopes is a level III fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and senior fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. She is also about to undertake her Yoga For Athletes training course. Having trained to work with mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and fitness, and their impact on performance. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and building sustainable training methods.  When she's not writing up her experiences with the latest fitness tech and workouts, you’ll find her writing about nutrition, sleep, recovery, and wellness.