Equipment-free Core/Ab Workouts?

This may have been discussed before, but Ab is too short a search term. Does anyone have any core routines that don’t require equipment that can be done daily or a few times a week?

Are you looking to do workouts for your abs specifically, or your entire core? Note that core is a much bigger area than most people think. Also, are you looking to do workouts because of pain on the bike, general posture, etc?

Not sure how much applies to abs / core, but in case you didn’t see this thread, it may have some options:

Here’s one that starts off explaining how to structure your workouts:

its organized around key movement patterns that hit major muscles:

  • anterior chain
  • posterior chain
  • abs
  • upper body push
  • upper body pull
  • corrective

He has well designed plans.

Phil Gaimon put up a YT video from his yoga instructor with about 25 min of stretches and core work spefically targeted at cyclists.

Here’s the minimum routine I do every time I lift:

75 seated bicycles, passing a ball between your knees (eg soccer ball, weighted ball, etc)

25 heels to the sky (laying down on your back, raise your legs vertically keeping them straight, then push to the ceiling)

50 sec planks on each side and forward

50 mason twists (seated with legs slightly bent and feet off of the ground, alternate hands from one side to the other, touching the ground; add weight to increase difficulty)

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I suspect I have a weak core because I don’t really do anything other than riding. I do plan to do strength training 2 days a week doing squats, body weight exercises, deadlifts, etc, but was looking for something that I could do more frequently during the day, perhaps during the work day without having to get all dressed up for the heavy lifting.

I started doing yoga with Adriene from YouTube and a plank workout app for similar reasons. I’m not sure how much they’re helping but they do seem to.
I can now take my hands off the bars and not slump when fairly low. Didn’t used to be able to do that.


Have a look at ‘glute bridges’. They were fundamental for me in treating lower back pain (as directed by a physiotherapist) and my sister, who is a physiotherapist, raved about them too. They seem like they could be a very effective component of a core workout that you can do in ten minutes on a floor in jeans.

I did a lazy search and couldn’t find a decent reference for you sorry but there is loads of stuff on them on non-academic websites.

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Yoga. I do it 4x per week, 2 of which are flexibility focussed and 2 of which are general with an emphasis on core strength. Being bodyweight and a bit “hippy”, it might not pack the punch that the big gym machines do, but its deep stretches and long strength poses are absolutely ideal for cyclists and build fantastic strength. It won’t help your explosiveness much in the sprint, but it’ll do wonders for 99.999% of your riding and give you a rippling set of abs.
Plus, you don’t need to go to the gym. You just roll a mat out and get on it - IME a workout that’s easy to start is more effective in the long term than one that requires a bit of effort before your first lift, because you stick with it even when you’re not in the mood. Also, yoga is just “nice”. I have to ignore all of the spiritual stuff that seems eternally tied to yoga though.
As far as getting started goes, I really REALLY rate the Down Dog app. Other than Trainer Road, it’s the best bit of fitness tech I’ve used.

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The Core Advantage by Tom Danielson has done quite well for all sorts of problems for me. It has 50 equipment-free core/ab workouts and workout plans for all sorts of levels and problems. It also has a great introduction about core in general and functional workouts compared to what you normally see…
I believe Chad recommended it as well. I got it on Amazon for $9.

Glute bridges are excellent.

@russell.r.sage I’d add single leg deadlifts as well. If you have any kind of dumbbell or kettle bell all the better. Not exactly core focused but those full body exercises require a lot of core/ab engagement - great bang for your buck.

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This exercise has strengthened by back and glutes significantly. I try and complete it 2-3 times per week. Before, I was having low back pain and felt unstable, but it really fixed a lot of issues for me. Make sure to really stretch your body while you do it and follow exactly what he says. Many of the comments too are extremely positive.

As for other general workouts: slow mountain climbers, glute bridges (like mentioned above), side jackknives, sideplanks, overhand squats (arms extended above the head), plank - but have a towel under your forearms, and without moving your lower body or rocking hips, slowly slide your right forearm 3 inches forward while pulling your left forearm back 3 inches. repeat the other direction -, crossover squats, seated boat row… all those are some good options for workout free exercises

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I’ve started doing that foundation workout also, and by back is definitely feeling stronger about a month in.

Have you tried their full offering over at ?

I was thinking of giving it a go, but I’m on the fence about another subscription service.

I haven’t tried their full offering, so I can’t say too much about it. I’m partially in the same spot as you. I don’t want to pay for another subscription service. On top of that, if I get too involved with all these different training plans and programs, sooner or later I’d have no time to ride anymore (core, foundation, yoga, gym, etc). I’d rather keep my off the bike routine to a minimal, with the exception being in the off-season in the gym. I’ve found that the with the general core exercises I do, if I combine them with the foundation training 12min video, I feel really good and don’t feel it’s necessary to supplement anything else.

I could be missing out on something revolutionary, but as far as my training, posture, and fitness are concerned, I feel this works great for me.

With that being said, I do have a pdf of his book: Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence. I use it for reference and insight alongside other books like “Supple Leopard”, “Core Advantage”, “Cycling Anatomy”… and when I’m building workout plans for specific body areas or pain for myself or others, I will use some of the routines in the Foundation book. I think it gives some quality advice and has the positions to work on specific areas… all without the subscription fee.