Strength Exercises You Don’t Need Equipment For that People Swear By

Going to the gym feels like more than just a chore. It can feel like a form of punishment, and with the price of some memberships,… Trista - May 31, 2022

Going to the gym feels like more than just a chore. It can feel like a form of punishment, and with the price of some memberships, it can become much too expensive for people to afford. That’s part of the reason many people forego getting their exercise in because they believe that the only way to get fit is to go to the gym. The other alternative is that people build a gym at home, and that’s even more expensive. Luckily, there are plenty of exercises that you can do to get fit that doesn’t require gym equipment. In fact, you’ll get just as fit with these exercises as you would with some hardware set up in your garage. So to save you some time, here are 50 of the top strengthening exercises that you can do at home to build up your muscle strength.


50. Leg Cross Twists

Russian twists are great for working out your abdominal in a low-impact way, and that’s because you’re sitting on the ground so that there’s less strain on your back. The leg-cross twists are a great alternative that can also help you work out your hip joints. Sit upright on the ground with your knees bent. Twist to the right and cross your right calf over your left. Twist back to starting position and uncross your legs. Twist to the left and cross your left calf over your right. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps.


49. Side Plank Hip Dips

Side plank hip dips are a great way to help shape your waistline as well as tone your shoulders. It’s a low-impact exercise, so it’s great to use as part of your warm-up routine. Remember that you don’t have to rush these; you can take as much time as you need and go at your own pace. Start in a side plank position on your right side. Keep your left hand on your hip. Lower your hip towards the ground, taking care of your shoulder. Lift your body to return to starting position. Do at least 20 to 30 reps and then switch sides.

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48. Diamond Push-Ups

Diamond pushups are a great way to work those shoulder and back muscles if you aim for a well-defined back to show off in the summer. What makes them work so great is that you’re forcing them to work overtime by shifting your center of balance. You’re also putting more weight on your triceps, so this is an excellent workout for your arms. Start in the pushup/plank position. Instead of your hands being under your shoulders, shift them closer together to directly beneath your chest. Lower yourself to the ground so that your elbows form a diamond shape when bent. Then push off the floor and raise yourself back to starting position.

Whitney Thielman / Self

47. Forearm Plank Rocks

If you want an excellent way to work out your shoulders and strengthen your core, then the forearm plank rocks will help you get the job done. It requires a lot of concentration, but you can take your time performing these until you get used to how they feel. Start in a forearm plank on the ground. Your shoulders should be directly above your elbows. Slowly rock your entire body forward onto your forearms and then back. Keep your core tight this whole time in order to maintain your balance. Repeat this strength exercise 8 to 10 more times, or as many as you’re comfortable doing.

Whitney Thielman / Self

46. Elevated Plié Squat Pulses

Strengthening your thighs and glutes is the perfect way to help you maintain your balance when you’re doing other exercises. This strength exercise is also great to start your warm-up routine with, or you can use it as a cool-down exercise after a long run. Stand in a wide squat position and come on to the ball of your left foot. Bend your knees a few inches and squat slightly, remembering to keep your back straight instead of hinging at the hips like you would with a regular squat. Bounce 3 to 4 times and return to standing. Then repeat on the other foot.

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45. Single Straight Leg Stretch Exercises

Pilates is a great way to strengthen and tone your muscles so that it isn’t going to strain them to the point of injury. It’s all about focusing on the contraction of muscles rather than using weights to make them stronger. This strengthening exercise is beneficial if you don’t have gym equipment at home. Lay flat on your back and your legs extended towards the ceiling. Lift your upper body until only the tips of your shoulder blades are touching the ground. Grab your right ankle or knee (whatever you can reach) and stretch your left leg out at a 45-degree angle. Pull your right leg towards you while keeping it straight. Hold for a few seconds, and then switch legs.


44. Burpee Exercises

Burpees are a great exercise to help you burn calories. One goal to try to aim for is to do at least 20 burpees in a minute; extend that to 20 minutes, and you’ll end up burning as many as 250 calories. However, they are high-intensity, so they’re an exercise you need to work up to instead of starting as a beginner. Start in a squat position on the ground with knees bent. Lower your hands to the floor just in front of your feet and kick your feet back to land in a pushup position. Do one pushup, jump your feet back to your hands, then stand and reach your arms over your head as you jump. As soon as you land, go into the squat position again and repeat.

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43. Butt Kicks

Running in place is one thing, but butt kicks really help stretch out the muscles that run along the fronts of your thighs. You should start easy at first if you have a limited range of flexibility but aim for getting your heels higher and higher until you’re able to touch them to your butt. Run in place with your back straight. Kick your right heel as high as possible until it almost touches your right butt cheek. Repeat with your left heel; that is considered one rep. Keep running in place, doing about 20 reps, or however many you’re comfortable doing.


42. Lying Side Leg Raises

Side leg lifts are great at working out your abdominals, thigh muscles, and glutes to get a complete workout for your lower body. This exercise can help loosen up any tight muscles you have, so these also work well as a warm-up exercise before you start the more high-intensity exercises. Lie on your side and extend your legs out, stacked together. Raise both of your legs together while maintaining the stack; go as high as you can, hold it for about 2 to 3 seconds, and then bring them back to the ground. Repeat for about 5 to 10 reps, then switch to the other side.


41. Arm Circle Exercises

Although arm circles are pretty easy to do, they do a great job of working out the muscles in your shoulders. They’re a great warm-up exercise that you should add to any routine and help your shoulders and back remain limber while you go through your regular workout routine. Stand with your feet together and raise your arms up and out to the sides. Your body should make the letter T. Move your arms in small circles going forward, about 15 to 20 times. Then rotate in the other direction. To increase the difficulty, you can increase the size of the circles with your arms.

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40. Lateral Plank Walk

Those who are great at planks may want to start challenging themselves with the lateral plank walk. It forces you to tense up your core to maintain your balance and puts your hips and shoulders to good use. You can start this exercise with small steps and then work your way up to making wider movements to put your body to work. Start in a planking position. Then take a step to the right using both your right hand and right foot, followed by your left hand and left foot. Do this two to three more times to the right, then repeat in the opposite direction.


39. Walkout Plank Exercises

Before you can start exercising, especially if you’re planning to do planks, you must warm up first. Taking care of the muscles in your body means preparing them for any exercise you’re about to do. Performing the walkout plank prepares all of your muscles for the work they’re about to do. Stand at the edge of your mat with your arms stretched towards the ceiling. With your back straight, bend forward at the hips and bring your hands to the ground. Walk your hands forward to move into the plank position, taking your time so that you can properly stretch out your calves. Then walk your hands back to your feet and slowly roll your body back up into a standing position.


38. Modified Dead Bug

The modified dead bug is a low-key workout that will help you focus on your core without putting any strain on the muscles in your body. You’ll help strengthen the deep muscles in your body and help them stay in alignment for better posture. Start on your back with your arms and knees bent at 90-degree angles above you. Drop your left arm and bring your left hand towards your face. At the same time, drop your right foot to hover just above the ground. Bring your hand and knee back to starting position and then alternate with the other arm and leg.


37. Scissor Kicks

Scissor kicks are a great way to work on your thighs as well as your abdominal in a low-impact way. It takes a few minutes and an open floor space, and you’re ready to start scissor-kicking your way to a stronger core. You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by lowering your legs as close as you can get them to the floor. Lie on your back and place your hands under your butt for support. Keep your legs straight and lift them a few inches off the floor. Kick your legs to the sides and bring them back to the center; repeat this for about twenty seconds.


36. Corkscrew Exercises

The corkscrew is a great way to strengthen your abdominal and increase the difficulties of your workouts without putting even more strain on the rest of your body. This exercise does require a lot of practice and balance, so start slowly and ease your way into getting accustomed to the movement itself. Start in a planking position and then shift your weight onto your left hand. Rotate to the right and kick your left foot to the right. Touch your left foot with your right hand, return to starting position, and switch to the other side.


35. Long Jump with Jog Back

One great way to get some cardio into your day is with the long jump with jog back. This exercise will get your heart rate going as well as strengthen your core by putting your balance to the test. You will need a bit of floor space in your living room since some jumping is involved. Stand with your feet slightly apart, and your knees slightly bent. Bend your knees, swing your arms back, and jump as far forward with both feet. Aim to land on the balls of your feet to minimize knee strain. Then quickly jog backward back to your starting spot. Repeat as often as you’re able.


34. High Plank to Low Plank

Planks are great for building strength, especially in your shoulders and your stomach, and they do much better than just pushups. High planks to low planks are easy exercises to do that will really put your muscles to work since you’re supporting your entire body weight throughout the movement. Start in a planking position, upon the palms of your hands. Tighten up your core and drop yourself down into a forearm plank, one arm at a time. Hold it there for a few seconds, then push yourself back onto your palms. Tighten your abdominal the entire time.

Katie Thompson / Self

33. Tuck Jump Exercises

The tuck jump isn’t an exercise that beginners should perform, as it requires a lot of core strength and being aware of your body. It’s not an exercise that’s fit for people with knee or ankle issues, as it is very high-intensity as well as high-impact on those parts of your body. Stand with your feet slightly apart, with your arms slightly bent by your sides. Bend your knees until you’re almost in a squat, and then jump as high as you can while keeping your arms in place. The goal is to get your knees as close to your elbows as possible. Land with soft knees and sink back into a squat. Repeat as often as you feel comfortable.

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32. Split Squat Jump

The split squat jump is another high-impact exercise that you should wean into instead of using in a warm-up routine. It’s great at keeping your hip joints and knees strong, as well as toning your calves and abdominal. Start with small jumps and work your way up to higher ones, at your comfort level, of course. Step with your left foot forward until you’re in a lunge position. Make sure that your feet aren’t too far apart; your knees should be at 90-degree angles. Push up with your feet and jump into the air as high as possible, swinging your arms to help you gain momentum. While in the air, switch your right leg to the front and left leg behind you. Land softly back in the lunge position.


31. Glute Kickback Pulse Exercises

Working out your glutes is an essential part of a complete routine. After all, your glutes are what connect your upper body to your legs. Strong glutes help you to bend down to reach things low on the ground, as well as to help you maintain your overall balance. That’s why the glute kickback pulse can help you improve your derriere’s shape. Start on the ground on your hands and knees. Set your spine into a neutral position. Extend your right leg behind you and upwards until it creates a straight line with your spine. Hold for a few seconds and lower it back to the ground. Then switch to the next leg.


30. High Knees

Running in place is one thing, but the way to really get your heart going is to do high kicks. Think of it like running upstairs without there being any stairs. It’s a great way to get some cardio in if you don’t have any gym equipment in your home, so you’ll definitely feel the burn with this exercise. Run in place, but aim to bring your knees up to your hip level. That is until they’re almost at a 90-degree angle. Also, pump your arms like you’re sprinting, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. It’s good to start slow and then increase your pace to a comfortable speed.


29. Side Plank Leg Raise

This plank will help you work on your obliques, glutes, and abdominal for better balance. That’s because side planks for you to focus on your core to prevent yourself from falling over. If you want to start a little easier, you can do this exercise with your knee on the ground. Assume a side plank position on your left side with your right arm extended towards the ceiling. Lift your right leg as high as possible, then slowly place your right foot on the ground in front of you. Return to starting position and then put your right foot on the floor behind you. Repeat a few more times and then switch sides.


28. Dolphin Pose

The Dolphin Pose combines planking with back and leg strengthening exercises that still work your abs. This strength workout is definitely an exercise you should only complete after warming up properly. However, it’s also a lot easier to do than a plank so you can do these as a warm-up to planking. Start on the ground, resting your weight on the balls of your feet and your forearms. Your body should form an inverted V-shape, and you should clasp your hands together for added stability. Lower your body to the ground until your chin is above your hands. Hold for two seconds and then return to the starting position.


27. Back Extension Exercises

If you find that you’re suffering from back pain at the end of your day, you should probably stretch out your back muscles. Nothing is worse than trying to fall asleep and not being able to get comfortable because your back aches terribly. This back extension exercise is perfect for helping your back relax and not be all twisted up. Lie facedown on the ground with your arms by your sides. Allow your body to relax completely. Then, while exhaling, lift your upper body off the ground as high as possible without moving your legs. Hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly lower yourself back to the ground.


26. Frogger

Are you worried about your abs and glutes after not doing any exercise over the winter? The frogger should help you tone those back up in no time, and all you need is a few minutes of doing this exercise every day to help get them back into shape. Start in a pushup position, with your hands directly underneath your body. Your back should be perfectly straight. Jump your feet to the outsides of your hands so that you end up in a deep squat position. Then jump your feet back into the plank position to start again. Repeat as often as you’re able.


25. Plyometric Exercises

Plyometrics are not easy exercises and require a lot of experience and practice. It’s a high-impact exercise, so you should not take this specific workout lightly. You have to have a lot f upper body strength in order to complete these exercises correctly. Get into the plank position on your hands and the balls of your feet. Bend your elbows until your chest almost grazes the floor, and try as hard as you can to push your upper body and hands off of the ground. Land on the ground and bend your elbows to soften your landing.


24. Wide Pushup

Wide pushups are much more challenging to do than standard pushups, and this is because you have less support under your torso to help you stay upright. It’s an easy way to make pushups more difficult without taking any drastic steps or buying extra equipment. Start on your hands and feet on the ground as if you’re doing a pushup. Place your hands on the floor wider than your shoulders. Don’t go too far to the point that you can’t support yourself adequately. Lower your body to the ground, hold for a few seconds, and then return to starting position.


23. Donkey Kicks

Donkey kicks are a great way to work your glutes but without doing a ton of painful work. Not to say that exercising doesn’t work, but if you’re stuck at home with no gym equipment, it can be challenging to figure out what kind of exercises you can do. Start on your hands and knees on the ground. Your back should be flat. Engage your core and lift your right left while still keeping your knee bent at a right angle. Bring it back as far as you can, hold it for a few seconds, and return it to the ground. Switch to the other leg and repeat on both sides for about 30 seconds.


22. Plank Jack Exercises

You’re probably used to doing jumping jacks, but planking jacks are a lot different. It’s the combination of jumping jacks and planks simultaneously, so you’re definitely working out more of your body. You’ll feel it in your core, shoulders, and legs. Start in a planking position with your hands under your shoulders. Concentrating on your core, jump your feet apart and then jump back together again. Try to maintain level hips as you do so. You can increase the difficulty by increasing the width of your jumps.


21. Mountain Climber Twist

The mountain climber twist will not only work your legs and abs but also the side muscles of your torso as well. This strength exercise will increase your range of flexibility and help your muscles to stay limber so that you’re not experiencing any aches and pains from just going about your day. Start in a plank position on your hands and feet. Bring your left knee towards your right elbow and twist your lower body to the right. Go back to starting position and then switch legs. Try to alternate as quickly as possible without raising your hips, almost like you’re running in a plank position.

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

20. Walking Lunges

Walking lunges are an excellent way to target all of the large groups of muscles within the body, and all without any exercise equipment. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up, too, thereby increasing your endurance so that you can work out for much longer in the future. Stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Take a large step forward with your right foot and lower your body to a lunge, bending both knees. Extend your right knee to stand and then swing your left foot forward to take a step forward into another lunge. Continue for 10-15 more reps.


19. Perfect Forward Lunge Exercises

Lunges are single-leg exercises that help you build your lower body and endurance. It’s a great way to warm up your legs before you’re ready to engage in more high-intensity exercises. You’re preparing your hip joints and knees before you’re prepared to put them to work. Stand with your feet together and engage your core. Step forward with your right leg and lower your body until both knees are at a right angle. Refrain from letting your left knee touch the floor. Stand up and return to starting position, and then switch to the other leg.


18. Single-Leg Skater Jumps

You may believe that it’s impossible to do any kind of skating without an ice rink. However, for skater jumps, you don’t need any extra gear. All you need is some room and the gumption to give this exercise a try. It’s definitely going to help you burn some calories if you’re looking to lose a few pounds. Stand and shift your weight to your left leg. Bend your left knee and raise your right leg off of the ground. Push off your left leg and bound to your right side. Land on your right leg and cross your left leg behind you. Pause and then repeat the same movement in the other direction. Continue back and forth for 10 to 15 reps.

Ryan Kelly / Power Cardio / Daily Burn

17. Step Jack to Star Jumps

Step jacks make an excellent way to warm up before you get down to the nitty-gritty of your exercise routine. They’re easy to do, and you can increase the difficulty to help you burn even more calories. These warm-ups are ideal for your glutes, calves, and inner thighs. Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides, your palms facing forward. Raise both arms, keep them straight, and lift your right leg. Return to starting position, and then repeat with your left leg. If you want to increase the difficulty, jump with arms and legs spread wide like a jumping jack, but return them together before you land.

Ryan Kelly / Power Cardio / Daily Burn

16. Lunge to Plyo Lunge

Squats and lunges have always been a great way to get your legs and glutes warmed up for the day. Plyo lunges do a better job because you’re engaging more of your body. It’s all about pushing your body to its limits so that it can work harder in the future. Start by doing lunges: extend your right foot forward and lower your body, return to starting position and repeat on the other leg. To make a plyo lunge, just skip out the middle step. Switch your legs in midair instead of bringing them together in the starting position.


15. Curtsy Lunge Exercises

The curtsy lunge may sound like a silly name for an exercise, but it’s actually pretty good at working your quads and glutes in a low-intensity way. This strength exercise will increase your stability and balance so that you can engage in more challenging activities, as well as maintain your core as you age. Stand with your feet slightly apart and your arms at your sideStep back with your left foot like you’re doing a curtsy, and lower your body as you bend your knees. Raise your arms to help you balance, and then return to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat on the other side.

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14. Band Mountain Climber

Using a resistance band can help to make your workouts a lot more intense. It can provide you with the effects of weights without buying weights, and a resistance band can be folded up and stored in a drawer out of the way. So when you add a band to the mountain climber exercise, you’re definitely going to put your body to work. Hook your thumbs through a resistance band and loop it around your torso, behind your back. Go into the pushup position and, with your hands completely straight, lift your right foot, raising your knee to your chest. Return to starting position and repeat on the other leg.


13. Bird Dog Exercises

The bird dog is a simple exercise that works on your core and improves your stability. It’s low-impact, so it also works outstanding as a warm-up exercise or if you’re just interested in doing yoga. It’s also an exercise that’s great at relieving chronic lower back pain. Get on the floor on your hands and knees. Raise your right arm and your left leg, keeping them parallel to the floor. Hold it for a few seconds and return to starting position. Then switch to your left arm and right leg, hold, and return to starting position. Repeat 8 to 12 more times.


12. Single-Leg Squat

Doing squats works perfectly on your glutes, but you can intensify the exercise with single-leg squats. They require a lot of balance, so you’re also engaging your core in the process. But you can add a dumbbell or medicine ball to the mix to up the difficulty level. Stand on your right foot and lift your left leg straight out in front of you. Lower yourself into a squat position by bending your right knee. Aim for getting low enough so that your hips are parallel to the ground. Stand back up and repeat five more times, then switch to the left leg.

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11. Single-Leg Deadlift

The single-leg deadlift is a variation of a regular deadlift; only you’re doing it on one leg. The exercise forces you to be aware of your body as you try to maintain your balance. The goal is to keep your back as straight as possible to avoid injury from taking place. Start with your feet a little apart, with your hands at your sides. Slightly bend your right knee and extend your left knee out behind you while keeping it straight. Lean forward at the hips at the same time until you’re parallel with the floor. Return to starting position, switch legs, and repeat.


10. Single-Leg Bridge

Are you interested in working out your glutes and your hamstrings? They can get pretty tight and underutilized if you’re not putting them to work. The single-leg bridge will help sculpt and tone the muscles within so that you can have a fabulous booty that you’ll love to show off to the world. Lie on your back and place your hands on the floor for added stability. Bend your right leg and straighten your left leg towards the ceiling. Pressing the heel of your right foot into the floor, lift your pelvis off the floor as high as you can, keeping your upper body on the ground. Slowly lower to the floor and repeat about ten times before switching to the other side.


9. Squat Thrust Exercises

Squat thrusts are similar to burpees, except without the jumping part at the end. It’s not an exercise for a beginner, but it’s great at getting your heart rate up once you’ve warmed up properly. It focuses on your abdominal, legs, and glutes but is also good at toning your shoulders. Stand with your feet slightly together and lower your body into a squat position. Then, place your hands on the ground in front of your feet. Jump your feet backward until you’re in the pushup position. Jump again, bring your feet back to your hands, and then stand. Repeat the exercise a few more times.


8. Reverse Lunges to High Knee

If you find that your hamstrings and glute muscles are feeling a little tight, then reverse lunge to high knees is the perfect exercise to loosen them up. This exercise is excellent at getting your legs limber, especially if you plan on doing a lot of running. Stand with your feet apart and your hands on your hips. Lunge backward with your left foot until both knees are at 90 degrees. Bring the left foot forward as you straighten your right leg and bring your left knee as high as it can go. Repeat 8-10 times and then repeat on the other leg.


7. Wide-Narrow-Wide Squat Jumps

Your thighs and knees are definitely going to burn after performing a few wide-narrow-wide squat jumps. This exercise will strengthen the muscles in your hips as well, but it’s primarily designed to keep your legs toned and strong. Only do this exercise at a level you’re comfortable with so that you don’t risk injury. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands at chest level. Lower into a squat and then jump, bringing your feet together. Land with bent knees into a squat, then jump again and spread your feet again back into starting position.


6. Wall Squat Isometric

Keeping your hips limber is the key to maintaining your balance. Weak hips mean that you don’t have a lot to stop you from falling. Using a wall helps you to warm up to this exercise so that you can end up doing it on your own without the assistance of a wall. That’s why wall squat isometrics are important. Stand with your feet apart, as wide as your hips, and with a wall behind you. You should fold your arms should go over each other at chest level. Squat until your knees are at 90 degrees and your back comes into contact with the wall. Hold for a few seconds and stand back up to the starting position. Repeat as many times as you’re comfortable doing.


5. Air Squat Exercises

Air squats aren’t for the faint of heart. They’re mostly used in CrossFit because you’re using your own body weight to help your muscles work out, and you should do these strength training exercises after you’ve warmed up effectively. Keeping proper form is also crucial so that you don’t put any strain on your back. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and clasp your hands together. Squat like you’re sitting in a chair, but don’t lean too forward. Aim to get your knees at 90 degrees, and your thighs are parallel with the floor. Hold for a few seconds and then return to starting position.


4. Two-Point Touch Plank

Summer is the time to show off those abs, and you can definitely achieve that sic pack by adding these two-point touch planks to your everyday routine. It’s vital that you start slowly to get used to your sense of balance and how your body will react to the exercise. Don’t jump into them too quickly. Get into plank position. Bring your right knee up to your chest and bend your left elbow to try and touch your right knee. Then extend your right leg straight behind you and your left arm straight in front of you so that they form a straight line with your back. Return to plank position and switch to your left leg and right arm.


3. Glute March in Bridge

Performing a glute march in bridge is a great way to get that curvylicious booty you’ve always been aiming for to fill out that pair of jeans. It’s a great exercise to tone your glutes, work on your abs, and help you to stretch out the muscles in your back as well. Lie on your back with your arms out to your sides, palms up, for added balance. Bend your knees and lift your pelvis off the ground. Then perform a march, lifting your left leg first and then your right leg, keeping your pelvis off the ground the entire time.

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2. Alternating Toe Touch Crunch

Crunches are pretty easy to do, so it’s time to step up your game and take them to the next level with these alternating toe touch crunches. Don’t feel like you have to get these perfect the very first time. This is a flexibility test, so it’s essential that you work your way up to them over time. Lie on your back and extend your legs straight up towards the ceiling. Place your hands behind your head. Perform a crunch while keeping your legs straight, and try to touch your right foot with your left hand. Lower yourself back to the ground and repeat with the opposite hand. Repeat as often as is comfortable.

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1. Bicycle Crunch Exercises

Bicycle crunches are also a great way to work on your abdominal without putting a lot of strain on your back. Keeping your legs engaged during the exercise will help you burn more calories and help develop the muscles along your sides for improved balance. Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Place your hands behind your head and curl your shoulders off the floor. Twist your right elbow to touch your left knee while straightening your right leg. Then twist your left elbow to your right knee, straightening your left leg. Go at a slow pace and repeat 10 more reps.