Getting a stronger core doesn’t have to involve shunning carbs and spending hours in the gym. Enter a simpler way to tone and strengthen your stomach: bodyweight exercises.

After all, your abs exist for more reasons than looking good at the beach. Your core is composed of the oft-mentioned upper and lower abdominals as well as the side, back, psoas, and glutei muscles.

Your core provides a muscular framework that protects your internal organs, aids movement, and provides balance and stability to your whole body.

Proper nutrition plays a huge role in getting the results you want, so be sure to supplement your workouts with healthy meals and high-protein snacks.

Mix and match any of these exercises in the gym or at home. Also, try the 12-minute workout at the bottom of the page to train each abdominal muscle group and work on deep core strength.

1. Crunch

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Let’s start off with a classic. Lie faceup with knees bent and hands behind head. Inhale and, as you exhale, draw your belly button in toward your spine.

Press lower back into the floor and lift upper back off the floor and slightly forward. Lower to return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep.

2. Vertical leg crunch

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Lie faceup with lower back pressed into the floor. Place hands behind your head. Extend legs straight up, crossed at ankles with a slight bend in knees. Contract abdominal muscles by lifting torso toward knees.

Make sure to keep chin off your chest with each contraction. Exhale as you contract upward, and inhale as you return to the starting position.

3. V-up

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Lie faceup with legs and arms extended forward. Keeping knees and elbows locked, simultaneously raise upper body and lower body while trying to touch fingers to toes.

4. Raised knee-in

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Lie faceup, arms along sides, palms down and just under lower back and butt. Press the small of your back against the floor and extend legs, keeping heels about 3 inches above the floor.

Keeping your low back against the floor, lift left knee toward chest. Your right leg should remain hovering above the floor. Hold, then straighten left leg to return to the starting position. Repeat with right leg.

5. Reverse crunch

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Lie faceup with lower back pressed into the floor. Place hands behind head or extend them out alongside your body.

Keeping legs straight or crossing legs at ankles, lift feet up. Pull lower back off the floor as you contract abs. Reach legs toward the ceiling with each contraction.

6. Flutter kick

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Lie faceup with legs extended, toes pointed, and hands tucked under glutes to support lower back. Lift both legs a few inches off the floor and alternately kick legs up and down.

7. Scissor crunch

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Lie faceup with legs extended, feet together, and hands behind head with elbows wide. Raise right foot straight up toward the ceiling, keeping left leg extended and left foot a few inches off the floor.

Perform a standard crunch, then lower your upper body to about an inch from the floor and switch legs.

8. Toe tap

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Lie faceup and place hands behind ears. Lift legs to tabletop position (90-degree angle). Press lower back into the floor and crunch forward until shoulders are off the floor.

With toes pointed down, lower right foot as far as you can without lifting your back off the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat with left leg.

9. Side plank

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Lie on your side with lower arm bent at the elbow. Place lower elbow under shoulder and place upper hand on hip. Align ankles, hips, shoulders, and head.

Push your body toward the ceiling, balancing on the edge of your bottom shoe with one foot stacked on top of the other.

10. Lying side crunch

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Lie on your side with knees bent at a right angle and twisted to the left. Curl your upper body, lifting shoulders a few inches off the floor. Pause at the top of the contraction and slowly lower back down. Switch sides and repeat.

11. Oblique v-up

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Lie on your side, arms folded across chest. Keeping legs together, lift them off the floor as you raise top elbow toward hip. Place opposite hand on the floor for stability.

12. Russian twist

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Sit on the floor, knees bent and feet flat. Hold arms straight out in front of chest, with palms facing down.

Lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Twist to the right as far as you can, pause, then reverse the movement and twist to the left.

13. T-stabilization

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Start in a push-up position. Shift weight to left hand and rotate your body. Keeping feet stacked, raise right arm into the air so that arms and torso form a T. Hold for 3 seconds. Return to the starting position and switch to the other side.

14. Plank

Lie facedown on the floor with feet together and forearms on the floor. Draw abs in and tighten glutes.

Lift entire body off the floor until it forms a straight line from head to toe, resting on forearms and toes. Hold. Slowly return your body to the floor, keeping chin tucked and back flat.

Targets: Upper and lower abdominals, glutes

15. Bicycle kicks

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Lie faceup with legs extended and hands folded across chest. Pull right knee in toward chest while twisting left shoulder toward right knee. Return to the starting position and repeat with opposite knee and shoulder.

Targets: Obliques, lower abdominals

16. Plank jack

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Start in a modified plank position, balancing on forearms (elbows aligned under shoulders) and toes. Tighten abs so your body is straight from head to heels. Keeping torso tight, hop feet out wide. Hop feet back to the starting position and repeat.

Targets: Upper and lower abdominals

17. In-and-out crunch

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Lie faceup with feet together, legs extended, and hands behind head with elbows wide. Lift shoulder blades and feet off the floor, bending knees in toward chest and lifting upper body in a standard crunch.

Targets: Upper and lower abdominals

18. V-tuck

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Lie faceup with legs extended and arms along sides. Raise head a few inches. Lift legs off the floor, then slowly sit up, drawing knees to elbows directly over hips.

Hold, then slowly lower torso and extend legs, keeping head and feet slightly off the floor.

Targets: Upper and lower abdominals

19. Superman

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Lie facedown on the floor with arms extended in front of body, palms facing down. Draw navel in, tighten glutes, and pinch shoulder blades together.

Simultaneously lift arms, chest, and legs off the floor. Hold. Slowly return to the starting position, keeping chin tucked.

Targets: Glutes and back

20. Bird dog

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Start on your hands and knees. Engage core and pull belly button in toward spine. Lift right leg and extend it behind you.

When you feel stable, extend left arm out in front of you. Hold for 10–30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Targets: Upper and lower abdominals, glutes

21. Plank with alternating arm and leg raise

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Start in a push-up position. Lift your right arm and left leg at the same time without moving your torso. Hold. Return to the starting position, then repeat, lifting opposite leg and arm.

Targets: Upper and lower abdominals, glutes

We asked CrossFit coach Erica Giovinazzo to put together a quick workout to challenge your entire core. Keep track of how many reps you can do — as your core gets stronger, you’ll be able to increase the number of reps.

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Thanks to our friends at Lululemon for outfitting our model in the Wunder Under Pant *Full-On Luon and the Cool Racerback.