Ineffective VS Effective At-Home Ab Workouts

at-home ab workout

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If you’ve been looking for a no-fuss, at-home ab workout you can do without equipment, you’ve come to the right place.

A strong abdominal core is essential to remain balanced as we age. Many of us tend to gain weight around our mid-section as we get older, and this is understandable; our metabolisms slow down, and typically we aren’t as active as we were when we were younger.

However, not all ab exercises were created equally. In fact, many can be a waste of time if we’re looking for real results, and others can cause serious injury.

In this article, we’ll first show 5 ineffective ab workouts, and then 5 ab workouts that’ll take your fitness to the next level!

(Ineffective) Exercise #1. The simple crunch

Why: You may recognize this exercise from your elementary school gym class. (Anyone remember the yearly fitness drills they had us run?) Usually this exercise is more effective if you have someone hold or sit on your feet as you sit up, but…. The simple crunch is simply that — basic. Don’t waste hours on an exercise that will do very little to activate the muscles you’re trying to tone.

(Ineffective) Exercise #2. The ab rocker crunch

Why: The ab rocker is not much more effective than the normal crunch. It’s actually been shown to be up to 80% less effective. Yes, it’s super simple to try and do, but that’s why it’s mostly ineffective. By supporting your head, this tool really deactivates the muscles within the neck that might ordinarily support it. This could result in neck pain as your supporting muscles weaken.

Side note: We included a link to an ab rocker on Amazon since they are good for fitness enthusiasts with physical limitations who want to stay fit, but need additional help. (Please consult a professional if this is the case before using one of these machines).

(Ineffective) Exercise #3. The straight-leg stomach exercise

Why: This old-school exercise can be linked to several back problems. It puts an enormous strain on the lower back by requiring you to hurl your upper body forward in an effort to touch your toes. No thanks.

(Ineffective) Exercise #4. The rowing dumbbell bend

Why: This exercise isn’t a natural use of your abs and puts additional strain on your back. (How often do you actually bend straight forward at the hips to lift one thing up to your waist?) Also, many of us use the momentum that the dumbbells produce to then rock further forward, rather than properly using our muscles to stay upright. Avoid this exercise unless you wish to appear you’re rocking to the oldies.

(Ineffective) Exercise #5. The sitting twist

Why: sitting and twisting rotates your lower back far past the normal range of motion and may therefore result in injury. We’ve seen many beginners rotate right to left with some intense momentum — ouch!


And now… The 5 Best At-Home Ab Workout Exercises

Now that you’ve seen some less-than-stellar exercises, here are our promised best exercises to produce results. Remember as you are doing these exercises to breathe deeply, and focus on your fitness goals. Even without equipment, you have no excuse to excel with these exercises.

At-Home Ab Workout #1: The Plank

wolman doing a plank ab workouts

How: Balance yourself on your forearms or palms and also the balls of your feet. Hold your body in a straight line without letting your knees touch the ground.

Kick it up a notch: From the plank position, reach forward with your right arm, hold for a count, and slowly come back to the starting position. Switch arms and repeat.

Duration: 60 seconds

Rest: 1-1.5 minutes

At-Home Ab Workout #2: Side plank

Why: These planks don’t only work your obliques; they also stimulate and tone your glutes, quads, hamstrings, inner/outer thighs, and your upper body.

How: Lie on your side, resting on your forearm perpendicular to your body and one foot stacked over the opposite.

Duration: 30-60 seconds, then switch sides

At-Home Ab Workout #3: Bicycle Crunch


How: Lying on your back, bring one knee up to create a ninety-degree angle and keep your hands by your temples. Crunch up and twist across the body, touching your opposite elbow to your raised knee. Bring your other knee up in a bicycle motion and touch it with your other elbow.

Repeat for 20-30 reps total.

At-Home Ab Workout #4: Reverse Crunch

person doing ab workouts

How: Lie flat on your back with your hands tucked underneath your bum and your knees bent at a ninety-degree angle. Pull your knees in toward your chest, squeeze, and slowly lower them to the beginning position.

Duration: Four sets, 25 reps

Rest: Two minutes between sets

At-Home Ab Workout #5: Sitting Knee-ins

Directions: While sitting back at a slight angle, lift your legs straight out to balance. Crunch forward while pulling your knees in toward your chest, and return to your starting position.

Duration: 4 sets, 20 reps

Rest: 1-1.5 minutes



While you can definitely complete this at-home ab workout without a problem, the key to real results is to be consistent. No amount of intensity will really create lasting effects on your body unless you commit to a long-term goal. We hope this article helps you on that journey.

If you’re looking for equipment to work out your abs, check out this article. and this one.

If you’re looking for more ab exercises to do with dumbbells, check out this article.

Editor’s note:

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To your success,