5 Of The Best Bodyweight Ab Exercises – Including Upside Down Sit Ups

Body weight training provides you with a highly efficient endurance and strength workout that's guaranteed to improve your fitness and core strength.

However, the movements in body weight ab workouts are far more challenging than the typical crunches.

These types of exercises, especially upside down sit ups, are capable of giving your abs size and definition, a surefire way to achieving that six-pack.

So, in this article, we will list down all of the body weight ab exercises you’ll need to gain more muscles in your midsection.


Body Weight Training Versus Weight Machines

One of the common culprits that keep people from weightlifting, especially women, is free from weight lifting. People are scared to get injured and often in too much of a hurry to rack and unrack a barbell.

They prefer weight machines and equipment, and in some cases, these may provide you with all the benefits as that of the bodyweight workouts.

They both build endurance and strength. However, with weight machines, you need to invest in purchasing them or sign up for the gym.

Also, a lot of people do not have any idea how to use them. That’s why they have to get a trainer to give them a crash course on using the equipment.

​A belief also points out that weight machines give off a narrow range of motion. Also, it only targets a particular muscle group. But, for bodyweight exercises, you can work on a couple of muscle groups simultaneously, in all directions you want.

​For beginners in strength training, bodyweight workouts are also very accessible, modifiable, and convenient.

They do not require any gym membership or machine to perform. What you need is just your body and enough room to move around. Moreover, these exercises are easy enough to execute, so a lot of people can do them with friends, instead of trainers.

​Bodyweight core workouts also lessen the risk of developing injuries. In comparison to using gym machines, utilizing your body also allows you to work the smaller, less commonly targeted muscles.

A lot of women are scared that weightlifting can alter their body composition in a manner that it makes them more muscular. They are afraid to bulk up when they focus more on strength training, instead of burning fat and calories.

But, it is just a myth. The female body becomes leaner, stronger, and more toned when adding weightlifting to a routine typically dominated by cardiovascular exercises. If you need further convincing, check out this article. 

Working your muscles will burn fat even after you have left the gym, while cardio does not.

You need your core for stability

For you to understand why some exercises are more worthy of your time and effort than others, you need to consider the purpose your abs serve in your body.

The primary purpose of your abs is to act as stabilizer muscles.

​In fact, they keep your torso in line while you walk, stand, lie down, or sit down. Think of your abdominal muscles as a link that binds your legs and your upper body.

​The best metaphor I can think off which describes a strong core is a well-built bridge. Do you feel secure and confident while crossing it?

Well, performing bodyweight ab workouts will provide you with a midsection that is as sturdy as a modern bridge.

Bodyweight Ab Exercises You Have To Try

Here is a list of the bodyweight ab workouts that are worthwhile to include in your exercise routine:


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The plank is an excellent exercise for newbies. But, for pros, it can be boring to lie on your elbows for minutes without moving. It is a shame because it can be a great foundation for the other workouts in your routine. (Plank can be very fun with the right plank equipment as shown above image. Or you can click here for more details including very positive reviews)

For instance, when you do a front lever or a dragon flag, you are activating the same core muscles which can be targeted with greater ease by doing the plank.

The workout starts off with you holding the initial position of a push-up. But, you place your weight on your elbows instead of your palms. You have to retain a horizontal position when you execute the plank.

That way, you will transfer the force to your abs to keep your body aligned properly. Although you have to hold the plank while balancing your toes and elbows, you can modify the exercise in various ways.

For beginners, you may begin on your knees instead of your toes. On the other hand, advanced athletes can lift up your leg or arm, or both.

So, for individuals who don’t have arm and shoulder strength, they may find it hard to hold the plank position. For people who lack core strength, the elbow plank can be quite challenging.

As the angle of your body gets near to becoming parallel with the floor, it also becomes tougher for your muscles to stabilize its form. Also, when you bend your elbows, it will stress your arms and shoulders.​

The plank is also the most important step for learning how to perform the "stir the pot exercise". This is an advanced ab exercise which we cover in detail in this post.

Upside Down Sit ups

The workout is usually known as the hanging leg raises. Experts often call this as the peak of ab fitness and training. What you have to do to perform upside down sit ups is to grab the bar and hang on there.

Then, dangle your feet and crunch as you draw your knees. Your hips should be close to your chest. You have to feel that you are burning calories as you move.

You have to presume that you are emphasizing a rock-hard abdomen. But, you are also working on your hip flexors.

​Additionally, you have to keep your body stable. Then, let your abdominal muscles do all of the work by lifting your legs when executing a hanging leg raise.

​But, you need to remember that the emphasis on your core is exhausting, especially when you grip hard enough on the bar. You have to include your hanging sit-ups to your complete core training routine.

​But, you do not have to depend on the workout as an ab exercise.

​To perform this movement, you have to begin with a bent-knee. Furthermore, you have to move toward straightening your legs slowly. Then, bring your toes all the way up to the bar eventually. Also, you should extend your knees completely.


For intermediate to pro level, they incorporate this to gymnastics frequently. Like the plank, you have to maintain a fixed position for a specified period. But, it is still possible to execute a plank with a severe form.

​But, by doing so, it is most likely to perform the L-sit in a wrong manner too. To perform the L-sit, you have to start by sitting on the floor.

​Then, extend your legs right in front of you. Put your palms on the ground right out of your hips. You have to clutch your abs as you lift your legs and hips off the ground as you push your hands.

​Moreover, you have to point your elbows behind you as you hug your triceps toward your lats. The movement work on not only your abs but also another group of muscles. You may begin by letting your knees bent.

Then, work towards straightening your legs fully. Newbies may find it easier to practice this workout while elevated on bars or handles. That way, they will support their body while lifting the legs in the initial position.​

Front Lever

The exercise is a more advanced way to work on your whole upper body. Also, it is a great workout for your abdominal muscles. The idea here is to hang your body from an overhead bar.

​Then, pull your legs and trunk into a horizontal position, so you are parallel to the floor. You should maintain a smooth movement. But, do not think that this is too easy for you.

​The first level is a goal you have to work on over time. That way, you will have a slow yet smooth progression.

Dragon Flag

It is a well-known mark of the modern martial artist Bruce Lee; the dragon flag has become a popular training method for athletes for a strong core. You have to perform the dragon flag lying face-up on the ground or a bench.

​Then, your hands should grab the sturdy object behind your head for assistance. The goal of this movement is to lift your whole body up, following a straight line. Then, you have to stack it vertically right over your shoulders.

​From that position, you have to lower down your body as you maintain a straight line from your trunks through your toes. Repeat the entire process up and down for the next reps.


Whether you are still a strength training beginner or an advanced trainee, there are always a few challenges to face to strengthen your core.

​But, you have to keep your workout routine fresh and fun by doing the exercises above. Remember that when you stabilize your torso, you are also working on your abs.

​It means that the progress you create on your abs training will be more efficient with the help of the list of workouts mentioned above.

They are pretty much everything you’ll ever need for strong abdominal muscles, and the six pack you have always wanted. For a more hardcore training, you can even experiment and modify each one of them for unique variations.

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