Calisthenic Ab Workout – Best Core Exercises To Get Shredded Anywhere!

Never underestimate the power of a strong core.

Every single workout that I do, or that I put my clients through is centered around a strong core.

It’s very rare that I will get a client to do an exercise that doesn’t use their abdominal muscles.

One of the biggest causes of lower back pain is a weak core.

And a big portion of clients come to me with back pain.

I give my clients a lot of calisthenics exercises as part of their training.

But to be honest, any bodyweight exercise counts as a calisthenics movement so it’s not too tricky to do.

But when you do a lot of these calisthenics movements with the correct form you are working your deep core muscles.

And these are the best muscles to be training to improve posture and eventually rid you of lower back pain.

Now I’m not a big fan of core ab exercises like sit-ups and crunches.

Sure they have their place but they should not be the foundation of your core training.

Sit-ups and crunches are not only working your 6 pack or rectus abdominis but they overwork your hip flexors.

And your core is made up of more muscles than just your abs. So to avoid imbalances you need to work your whole core.

To get the best calisthenics core workout all you need is a pull-up bar.

My core workouts don’t look like a core workout. I do movements like push-ups and pull-ups as well.

These two exercises are great compound movements that require core strength to do correctly.

So that’s how I start my core workouts.

I then go into exercises like

  1. Hanging leg raises
  2. Hanging knee raises
  3. Dragon flag
  4. Windshield wipers

I have a full article here going over these exercises plus all my other favorite dynamic core exercises.

Also, I posted a video to youtube recently showing you just how easy it is to do a calisthenics abs workout with just a pull-up bar.

Check it out below

Is Calisthenics Good For Abs?

Calisthenics is great for your abs!

If we go back to push-ups and pull-ups these two compound exercises should also be considered core exercises.

Not only are they staple upper body exercises but when your keep your body in a straight line you will work your entire core through the movement.

By keeping your back straight you also bring in your lower back muscles as well.

So either of those would be the first exercise I would be doing.

But if visible abs are what you are chasing then you also need to get your diet right.

For your abs to be showing you need to maintain low body fat.

And unfortunately body fat comes off the entire body at the same time.

You can target fat burning, no matter how many infomercials say otherwise.

You need to get your diet right if you want to show off your abs at the beach this summer.

Here is an article I posted recently that gives you all my tips for getting your diet right.

Once you have your diet right you can easily build the body you want using just your own body weight.

Just by hanging from a pull-up bar, your core is working, to get more out of a dead hang just a simple leg lift is going to get you sweating.

You can either repeat for sets or try and hold straight legs up for as long as possible!

But one of the best ways to work your entire core is with an exercise made famous by Bruce Lee, the dragon flag.

This can be done by holding the base of a pullup bar or by setting it up on a bench. Try to do slow-controlled reps.

To begin with, you might not have the strength to lift yourself back up, that’s fine.

The first step is building up strength by focusing on lowering yourself as slow as possible until you can go through the full range of motion.

Can You Get A 6 Pack From Calisthenics?

You can get six-pack abs from any kind of training if you are eating right.

But instead of focusing on just the 6 pack, you should aim to work all the muscles in your core.

The transverse abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques are more important to be trained.

But also any bodyweight exercise that works your core, will work all four of the major muscles groups.

So your 6 pack will be getting a workout in as well.

It’s just like only doing bicep curls to build your arms.

If you do chin-ups you are working your whole back, your core, and your biceps.

You see you’ll still get nice big arms and biceps, but you’ll also get a big back.

So when you train your whole core you’ll focus on all the muscles in your core and work your abs as well.

As well as working your core for strength there are some great high-intensity movements you can be doing that not only work your core muscles but also get the heart rate up so you enter into the fat-burning zone!

The humble mountain climber is a great exercise for doing just that.

How Do Beginners Do Calisthenics?

If you’ve never done any sort of calisthenics training then a copy of my EBook won’t hurt.

It’s all about resistance bands and how you can use them anywhere.

It’ll give you the strength needed to start on your calisthenics journey.

You can also check out a few of my programs over here.

Again one is an all-around resistance band but the other one is a zero equipment program.

Failing that you just have a crack.

Push-ups, pull-ups, and squats are all great movements to try to get you started.

I’ll also pop a video here showing you how you can get more out of push-ups.

I even give you a few tips on how to get your very first push-up!

The key is to get started though, calisthenics after all is bodyweight training, so you really don’t have an excuse you can train calisthenics anywhere!

I do a big portion of my strength training with just bodyweight.

Sometimes with minimal equipment like a pull-up bar or with my favorite, the ab wheel.

Ab wheel rollout is one of those abs exercises you need to add to your routine if you’re chain washboard abs!

Is Calisthenics Better Than Gym?

Calisthenics is definitely growing in popularity, but it is debatable to say it’s better than the gym.

Weight training is tried and tested for over 100s of years now.

But calisthenics training has been around a long time as well.

But we’re yet to see a Mr. Universe that only trains calisthenics.

Weight training is probably still the best way to build mass and improve your strength.

But calisthenics you can do anywhere.

You can still build mass.

You can still get crazy strong.

In fact, some of the movements you can do in calisthenics will give you strength no amount of weight training will help you achieve.

To get really good at some of the hardest calisthenics movements, you have to train calisthenics.

Check out the ultimate home calisthenics station below!

Pro Maxima PLR495 Hip Flexion/Dip/Chin Up/Push Up
Pro Maxima PLR495 Hip Flexion/Dip/Chin Up/Push Up

Are Calisthenics Stronger Than Bodybuilders?

Honestly, bodybuilders are really known for their strength, more for their size.

So I would say there are plenty of calisthenics athletes that are much stronger than bodybuilders.

But there will always be an exception.

Bodybuilders like Ronnie Colemen were known for being crazy strong as well as huge.

But the general rule of them is calisthenics is a lot more about strength and the body comes with that, but it’s not as big of a physique as you see in bodybuilding.

It just wouldn’t be practical to try and do muscle-ups and handstand pushups at that size.

It all comes down to your goals.

Strongman competitors are always giant men, extremely strong. But not known for their six-packs.

Bodybuilders have the look but you never hear them talking 1RM (1 rep max)

Calisthenics for me has a good mix of everything.

You get crazy strong, you can train almost anywhere.

And if you eat and train like an athlete you’ll look and feel like an athlete.

And as you start getting better at calisthenics you see just how athletic it really is.

Here’s one more video showing the day I went and tried a high-intensity calisthenics workout!