Stomach exercises are very easy to do at home with no special equipment. They are a great alternative to the gym. However, to achieve your dream "six-pack", you need more than just exercises which will build your muscles. Another crucial thing is a diet with a calorie deficit which will allow you to get rid of an excessive fat tissue. It is worth remembering, that no workout burns the fat only selectively from the stomach. Which exercises for the stomach are worth doing? What other body parts can be trained at home without equipment? What can be done to get the desired effects while exercising at home?
Stomach exercises - how to begin?
The stomach is the most problematic part of the body to train. The most difficult part is getting rid of the belly fat, which can be a nightmare for many people trying to lose weight and set themselves fitness goals. Although sculpting the stomach muscles is a matter of systematic, well-chosen exercises, showing them to the world - bringing them out from under the layer of fat tissue – requires a combination of diet, full-body workout as well as exercising specifically for the stomach..
Flat stomach - diet + exercise
When starting to work on a flat stomach and sculpting it, don't ask how to lose weight from your belly. In fact, there is no such thing in physiology as localised fat burning. The fat tissue used as an energy source comes from different places in the body and is used proportionally. Unfortunately, not according to the proportions we would like and the one on the stomach is especially resistant. For this reason, in the first phase of getting rid of excess fat, focus primarily on a calorie deficit in your diet.. Combine it with training, but do not expect to start losing fat mainly from your belly. You will be losing it from your entire body, including your stomach.
So what's the point of belly exercises? You can start working on strong and sculpted abdominal muscles while they are still invisible or barely visible underneath the body fat. By training your stomach, you will ensure that when you reach the desired body fat level, your muscles and body will be shaped and strong. Consequently, the path to your dream 'six-pack' will be much shorter than if you started from the level of weight loss alone without abdominal strengthening training.
Best exercises for the stomach at home
Remember the days when the most commonly recommended stomach workout at home was... crunches? This is thankfully behind us now. Nowadays, workout specialists offer sets of exercises that simultaneously contribute to a daily calorie deficit, i.e. help burn more calories, and strengthen and sculpt muscles.
How to train the stomach?
Stomach training may be done successfully at home. It does not require any special equipment. However, to make it effective, it is worth following a few rules.
- Stomach muscles are sensitive. It is easy to overtrain them, so abdominal exercises should not be too frequent or too intense. Train your stomach 2-3 times a week.
- If you do only abdominal training on a given day or combine it with the training of small muscle groups (e.g. forearms, calves), do 5 exercises of 3-4 sets and 15-25 repetitions.
- If you combine abdominal training with training of large muscle groups, do 2-3 exercises of 3 series and 15-25 repetitions
- Start your training with exercises for the lower abdominal muscles, which need the most stimulation for development, then go higher - to the rectus and oblique muscles.
Recommended stomach exercises to do at home
- Pulling your knees to the chest
Lie on your back, stretch your legs out straight and place your arms along your body. Lift your feet and knees slightly off the ground, then on an inhalation draw your knees towards your chest, bending them and lifting your pelvis off the floor. At maximum abdominal muscle tension, exhale and return to the starting position.
- Leg raises
Lie on your back with your legs stretched out straight and your arms along your body. On the inhale, slowly raise your straightened legs to a vertical position and equally slowly, on the exhale, lower your legs back to the starting position.
Get into a plank position, hands under the shoulders, spine in one line. Draw your knees under your chest, one on your right and one on your left, alternately. The exercise can be performed at different tempos - slowly and precisely, feeling the movement of the abdominal muscles, or quickly, imitating a run. The knees can be drawn in a straight line under the chest or diagonally towards the elbows.
- Torso twists
Sit with your legs in front of you, bend them at the knees and lift them. Place your body weight entirely on your buttocks and catch your balance. Take a weight or water bottle in your hands and perform trunk twists alternately to the right and left side, without lowering your legs.
- Pelvic thrust
Lie on your side, resting on your forearm. Lift your whole body, resting on the back of your foot and hand flat at the end. Now push your pelvis up further. Hold. Return to the starting position.
Home exercise without equipment - not only for the stomach
Stomach exercise at home without equipment seems relatively simple, but how about other body parts? If you want to increase muscle mass as well as sculpt muscles, do you need a gym, machines and other equipment? No. Exercising at home can be very effective, even if it is based entirely on using your own body weight.
It may be thought that exercising at home without equipment is something new. Home workouts gained popularity after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic when gyms were closed and access to even outdoor areas was restricted. However, training based on using your own body weight is not something new. It was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans and is the basis of military training and exercises in physical education classes in schools. The name 'callisthenics' comes from Greek and is a combination of the words kállos and sthénos - beauty and strength. Callisthenics can easily be practised at home, sculpting the body and increasing muscle strength. The greatest physique effects of exercising at home without any equipment will be noticed by beginners, but callisthenics is a separate sport that is also trained by professionals, who achieve expanded muscles and increased strength.
Exercising at home without equipment allows you to train almost every muscle in your body. You just need to plan your activity in a proper way. Legs? There are many variations of squats, e.g. with legs straight, extended, 'chair'. Chest and arms? Push-ups, push-ups with legs higher, wall push-ups, inverted push-ups... These are just examples of exercises that may be performed if the aim of training without equipment is to gain muscle mass.
When exercising at home is supposed to lead to weight loss, it's even easier. The internet is full of ready-made workouts using cardio and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) elements to help burn body fat by exercising at home.
Training at home - why is it worth it?
Is home training for everyone? Some people need the motivation of exercising in a group or getting out of their own homes. Some need a personal trainer to lead the whole workout. Others need the support of a gym specialist to help them do the exercises properly. However, this does not change the fact that most people may benefit from home training as well as appreciate it. What are the advantages of training at home?
- You save the money you would have spent on membership.
- You don't have to invest in barbells, kettlebells, rubber bands or other accessories from the start. The vast majority of exercises can be done without any equipment.
- You don't waste time getting to the gym.
- If leaving the house often for a workout is not an option because you have a young child, for example, exercising at home can make it easier to combine your desire with responsibilities.
- If you're an introvert, you'll appreciate the comfort of working out in your own home, without thinking about whether someone is watching or judging you (although they probably aren't, being busy with their own exercise).
- You can exercise at a time that's perfect for you. Right when you get up? Right after you get home from work? Just before your evening shower?
- A properly done workout at home develops muscles, gives you strength, improves coordination, balance as well as agility and has a positive impact on your health.
- Training at home can be a good 'warm-up' before joining a gym.
What should you do to get the desired results by exercising at home without equipment?
Every change, especially one in the body shape, requires perseverance, patience and commitment. Don't expect spectacular results to come after a month of exercise. Be consistent with your training and diet.
Plan the number of workouts per week, the days and the times you train and stick to it. Don't give up just because you don't feel like it today. Start using an app that monitors your results. It boosts your motivation.
If you don't know where to start and how to plan your exercise at home, get help from specialists - a trainer and nutritionist - or ready-made schedules and videos available online. This is a huge help to get started, especially if you have no experience with training and diet. Remember to engage all muscles, including those at the back of the body, such as the back muscles and biceps femoris. Most ready-made workouts focus more on the muscles at the front of the body.
Be sure to perform your workouts technically correctly! Watch videos first that instruct you on how to perform each exercise. If possible, practise in front of a mirror to see how your body behaves.
Don't lower the standard for yourself because you already feel tired. If you want to notice the effect of exercise, it has to be at least a bit hard and exhausting. In a group it is easier to motivate yourself to work harder. Remember this and try to overcome your limits. Without that, there is no physical development.
Modify your training over time. Don't do the same programme over and over again. You will quickly get used to it and stop seeing progress. If you don't see progress despite changing your exercises, you may need to increase the load and get training bands for example.
Are you also interested in exercises for other parts of the body? Get inspired by our publications, among which we also describe other things.