The Only At-Home Core Workout You'll Ever Need, No Gear Required

woman doing the best at-home core workout at home
This 20-minute at-home core workout uses your own body weight for resistance.
Image Credit: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/GettyImages

Medicine balls, cable machines, sliders and resistance bands are all great tools for challenging your core. But all you really need to build well-rounded core strength is your own body weight — which is great news if you're into at-home core workouts.

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"Gravity is enough resistance for a lot of your muscles," Kate Galliett, CPT, a certified personal trainer and founder of Fit For Real Life, tells LIVESTRONG.com. "You just have to know how to use those muscles properly."

The key to getting the most out of a body-weight core workout is to use your breath, focusing on longer inhales and exhales to create tension through your entire core.

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"Our goal is to get the whole torso to work better, and in doing so, it gets stronger," she says.

And with that in mind, we present you with the best at-home core workout for a stronger, more functional you — no gear required. From Galliett, this all-levels-friendly ab routine will teach you how to use your breath, fire up your abdominals and get more out of every body-weight core workout. Do it 2 to 3 days per week for your healthiest core.

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Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here – we've got something for everyone.

Try This 20-Minute Body-Weight Core Workout

This at-home core workout contains five exercises. Do each one, then repeat for a total of three rounds. Try not to rest between exercises and only rest 30 to 60 seconds between rounds. (Though, if you need more rest to keep good form, take it!)

Move 1: Half Bird Dog

Reps 5
  1. Get into a quadruped position with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Tuck your tailbone under slightly and push your hands into the ground to pull your rib cage up between your shoulder blades.
  3. Inhale through your nose and lift one arm and opposite knee a few inches off the ground. Your elbow should be bent and your palm facing up.
  4. Hold while you exhale gently and fully through pursed lips.
  5. When you run out of air, place your hand and knee on the floor.
  6. On your next inhale, repeat the exercise by lifting the opposite arm and knee.
  7. That's 1 rep

Modifications and Progressions

To make the move easier, lift only one limb (arm or leg) at a time.

To make it harder, extend your arm and leg straight to come into a full bird dog.

Move 2: Reverse Plank Press

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Reps 8
  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your toes pointed. Place your palms on the ground about a foot behind your hips so your fingers face away from your body.
  2. Squeeze your legs together, brace your core and push your hands into the ground to help lift your hips as high as you can.
  3. Aim to create a straight line from your head to your toes.
  4. Hold briefly before lowering your hips to the floor.

Modifications and Progressions

For an easier variation, bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor and press up from there.

To make it more challenging, lift one leg once your hips are lifted. Then, switch and lift the other leg.

Move 3: Dead Bug With Reach

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Reps 10
  1. Lie face-up on the floor. Lift your feet off the floor and bend your legs to 90 degrees so your knees are directly over your hips.
  2. Let your right arm rest on the ground. Bring your left arm up and reach it across your body as if you’re trying to grab something beyond the outside of the right thigh.
  3. Slowly lower your right heel to tap the ground and raise the leg again. Repeat.
  4. Continue reaching past your right thigh until you’ve finished your set.
  5. Do all reps. Then switch sides.

Modifications and Progressions

To make this dead bug exercise variation easier, nix the reach and just focus on keeping a braced core as you lower your leg and raise it back up.

And if you want to make the move harder, straighten your knee so your leg reaches away from you instead of dropping your heel toward the floor with your knee bent.

Move 4: Knee Plank With Hand Lift

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Reps 8
  1. Get into a quadruped position with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Keep your hands under your shoulders and walk your knees backward until your body forms a modified push-up position.
  3. From a modified push-up position, tuck your butt under slightly and push your hands into the ground to press your rib cage up between your shoulder blades.
  4. Lift one arm and touch that hand to the opposite shoulder. Hold for 5 seconds before returning your hand to the floor. Repeat with the opposite arm.
  5. Try not to shift your body left or right as you touch your hand to your opposite shoulder and hold it there.
  6. Do 3 sets of 8 reps per arm.

Modifications and Progressions

To make it easier, don't lift your hand. Simply shift your weight to one hand and imagine lifting the other.

For a more advanced move, do it from a full plank position (legs extended and knees off the floor).

Move 5: Pelvic Rock

Reps 8
  1. Start by sitting with your knees bent and feet together, soles flat on the floor. Clasp your hands behind your knees with your arms bent slightly at the elbows.
  2. Lift your torso up from your pelvis as if pulling the top of your spine upward.
  3. To initiate the movement, lift your feet off the ground so your shins are parallel to the floor and you’re balanced on your pelvis.
  4. Allow yourself to roll backward on your pelvis ever so slightly.
  5. When you reach the point where you can’t roll further without falling over or losing your body position, roll forward on your pelvis. Repeat.

Modifications and Progressions

To make it easier, rock backward slowly. Once you can't hold the position any longer, just let yourself roll onto your back and completely relax. Sit up and reset to start rocking backward again.

To kick it up a notch, let go of your knees and rock back and forth.

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