Thursday, 25 July 2024

Ab Toners, Calisthenics, Fitness

411 On Calisthenics Ab Workouts

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calisthenic ab workouts

One of the main results of calisthenic ab workouts is their ability to increase your core and overall body strength. Improving your strength has many benefits, like decreasing your abdominal fat, creating a lean look, and enhancing your heart health and blood sugar level management.

Let’s dig deeper into the world of calisthenics ab workouts. We’ll look at the benefits, how you can measure your progress, and the various types of ab workouts to try out.

Best Calisthenics Ab Workout Exercises

The abdominal muscles, aka abs, are the paired muscle groups that form vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the human abdomen.

These muscles are found between the pelvis and ribs at the front of your body. Your abs support your trunk and keep your organs in the right place through the regulation of abdominal pressure.

If you’re gunning for killer abs and a solid core, try including the calisthenics ab exercises listed below into your home workout.

female doing calisthenics


Crunches are a great core calisthenics exercise. These don’t just target your core, but also your oblique muscles.

Oblique muscles are found in:

  • the pelvis

  • hips, and

  • lower back

Crunches can be tackled in both a beginner ab circuit and an advanced one.

A huge plus is that crunches can practically be performed anywhere. So, whether you’re a gym bunny or home workout fanatic, crunches are an essential exercise that can’t be overlooked.

Myotatic crunch

This is a current favourite amongst gym fanatics. It’s a variation of the basic crunch, but with a Bosu ball.

If you can pull off a strong crunch then a myotatic crunch won’t be a hassle.

Guide: How to do it

  • Start by laying on a Bosu ball. Position it comfortably under your lower back

  • Your head, neck, and back should remain aligned.

  • Keep your feet steady on the ground with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

  • With arms straight, stretch your arms as far as possible backwards over your head. Ensure that you feel the tension in your abdominals.

  • Push your shoulders forward whilst slowly contracting your abs.

  • At the top of the movement, contract your abs as tightly as possible while exhaling. Then, slowly lower yourself back onto the ball.

  • Repeat the same movement.

Please note, this process should feel manageable. If you feel pain, stop immediately. We recommend consulting a professional if you experience pain or have an injury.

myotatic crunches

Leg raises

Leg raises are simple and effective for your lower abs. This particular workout’s focus is to increase your flexibility, balance, and like any other calisthenics workout, your strength. 

Leg raises can help you in transforming your workouts from normal to explosive.

Guide: How to do it

  • Start on your back on a gym mat as your starting position.  
  • Place your arms by your side and legs straight on the mat. 
  • Raise your legs upwards and keep them as straight as possible. Direct them up towards the ceiling. Keep your toes pointed. 
  • Lower them back to the starting position.

Tip: You can place your hands under your glutes for additional support if needed. Remember to keep your core tensed throughout the exercise. 

The leg raise targets the lower abs, upper abs, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexors.


Planks, and plank variations, are excellent exercises to include in any core workout. These should be considered foundational exercises.

Guide: How to do it

Find a space in your room/gym where you have space to extend your entire body length. Place a mat on the floor that will support your knees and be comfortable for you while on all fours. 

You can choose to do the exercise using your hands or forearms depending on your comfort.

  • Begin by taking the plank position – face down with your toes and forearms (or hands) on the floor.
  • Tense your ab muscles. It should feel like you’re drawing your belly button towards your spine.
  • Keep your torso aligned. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your toes. 
  • Hold for 10 seconds then release and go onto all fours.

We recommend 10 seconds as a starting point. However, if this feels effortless, you can progress to 30, 60, 90 seconds and higher as your core muscle strength increases.

All these exercises can easily be included in home workouts along with other kinds of movements, such as bench dips.

man and woman stretching before workout

Oblique Calisthenics Exercises

The oblique muscles are a combination of two of the three layers that make up the abdominal walls. We have both internal and external obliques. The third layer is the transverse abdominis muscle.

Internal obliques exercises

Internal obliques form a layer along the sides of the abdomen. These are broad and thin. They are located between the external (outer) oblique muscle and the inner side transverse abdominis. 

Incline twisting crunches

  • Lie on an incline bench with hips bent, facing upwards. 
  • Place your hands behind your neck for support. 
  • Twist your waist to the right as you raise your upper torso from the bench. Engage your core.
  • Lower back onto the bench.
  • Repeat movement to the left.

Plank twists

  • Begin with the same starting position as a standard plank. 
  • Twist your torso and dip your right hip downwards towards the mat. Your hip should lightly touch the mat. 
  • Repeat with the opposite side. 

Lying leg twists

The form of this exercise is a variation of the leg raise. You just tweak it by twisting your torso to one side during each raise. 

External obliques exercises

The external oblique muscles form part of the outer abdominal muscles. These reach from the lower ribs down towards the pelvic area.

Side crunches

  • Starting position is the same as crunch. Lie on your back. Keep your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. 
  • Lower knees to one side on the mat. Your knees should be pressed together, on top of one another. 
  • Squeeze your side oblique muscle as you slowly raise your shoulders off the floor. Do not lift your lower back; keep it on the mat. 
  • Switch sides and repeat. 

Bicycle crunches

  • Place hands behind head and lay flat on a mat.
  • Raise your head off the floor and tense your abdominals.
  • Slowly lift your right elbow and left knee towards each other. 
  • Return to a straight position with head raised.
  • Repeat movement with left elbow and right knee this time.

Once you’ve achieved the right form, this movement will become fluid and feel like you are “cycling”.

Before You Begin Your Calisthenic Core Workout
good workout form

There are various factors that you need to consider before you start putting these calisthenic ab exercises to practice.


Losing excess fat is the best route to go to achieve visible 4-pack or six-pack abs. Ab exercises go a long way in helping you to achieve the body aesthetic you want.

You can add some cardio, running, or skipping to your workout plans to speed up fat loss.


Form can make or break your workout effectiveness. Incorrect form and alignment can place a lot of stress on your joints and muscles. This increases the risk of injury and bad posture.

If you’re concerned about your form or feeling discomfort while exercising, consult a professional personal trainer.

women doing calisthenic ab workouts

No equipment, no fuss

The fantastic thing about calisthenics abs workouts is that no equipment is needed. All you need is enthusiasm, dedication, your body, and perseverance.

If you are looking to increase the difficulty of these ab workouts, you can always perform these ab workouts with weighted vests.

Core Calisthenics Exercises Benefits
women showing muscles

  • Ab calisthenics workouts can be done anyway and everywhere… On holiday, in a forest, and at home.

  • You won’t need to sign up for a gym membership. It’s all free.

  • Calisthenics does target other muscle groups in the body. So, you’ll really get that full-body workout in.

  • Because these exercises have tons of variations, you can swiftly progress in flexibility, strength, stability, and fitness.

  • Anyone can join in, at a beginner or advanced level. Just remember your form and don’t push yourself too hard.

Core Calisthenics Exercises Cons

There is so much that your body can do and endure. One disadvantage with ab calisthenics workouts is the timely process of building a circuit.

Your strength and body weight is your equipment so the weight lifting fanatic may get a bit bored without their favored dumbbells and bars.

However, if you persevere and as you become stronger, you will be able to progress to more advanced exercises and variations that target the entire body. Think along the lines of one-handed handstands, pistol squats, and human flags.

As you progress, you can also add more spice to your workouts with calisthenics rigs, gymnastic rings, and weighted vests.

How to measure progress

With any workout, consistency is key and it’s no different with abdominal workouts. The aim is to get that strong and stable core.

But, how can you measure your core strength and ab progress? We’ll take a look at different methods here.

Measure yourself

A great and affordable place to start is with a measuring tape. Record your measurements at the beginning of your calisthenics journey.

Measure your waist every three-four weeks to capture your progress.

Seeing the inches melt away will encourage you to add more into your workout sessions and see even better results. Use body measurements to track success.

measurement of weight

Track your calisthenics core workout reps and sets

Reps are defined as the number of times you complete a particular exercise. To measure your progress, you can always increase your rep count. 

You’ll get those muscle groups moving and keep the end game in sight. You can also increase your sets and circuits within your workout. 

As you become stronger, you can add in more advanced ab exercise variations, such as hanging knee raises and hollow body crunches. As you go forward with the variations, you’ll see and be able to track your improvement. 

Take images of your progress

Capturing your progress with pictures is great motivation to keep going. Take an image of your first day and then take progress pictures every month. 

Save them in a folder on your phone so you can see them side by side.  Seeing your belly fat disappear and those abs come out is the greatest inspiration you can have. 

Core Muscles

The major and minor core muscles work together to reveal your desired toned abs. The core consists of muscles that balance and control the pelvis and spine. 

We’ll take a look at these muscles below. 

man doing push-ups

Transverse abdominis muscles

The transverse abdominis muscles are between the ribs and the pelvis, extending around the trunk from front to back. It is considered the deepest muscle across all the abdominal muscles.


These muscles are small and triangular in shape. They make up bundles located on either side of the spinal column.

Erector spinae

These run from the sacrum and go up the back vertically. These muscles are located on either side of the spinal column.


This muscle is located near the bottom of the lungs and separates the abs from the chest.

Pelvic floor muscles

The pelvic floor muscles help the human body to function optimally. These support the pelvic organs, including the:

  • Bladder

  • Urethra

  • Rectum

  • Anus

  • Prostate

  • Uterus

  • Cervix

  • Vagina, and

  • Intestines

Begin Your Calisthenic Ab Workouts

In the fitness world, defined ab muscles and a strong core are first prizes. An effective calisthenics ab workout can get you far as long as find the best exercises to complement you. 

If you want to build six-pack abs, you’ll need to put in the work. Use the tips we’ve given above and you’re well on your way to getting a strong and stable core.

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