Training: Intermediate Gym-Free Abs

Your intermediate ab circuit is here. Intensity will increase, building from our original Beginners Gym-Free Abs article and there are some new exercises added. As before, you can perform these core exercises at your local park, back garden and away from the gym.

We’re burning fat and focusing on developing a strong core, creating a strong foundation for all future exercise, and help you improve life in general.

For this session, aim for 40 seconds per exercise, followed by 20 seconds rest. This increases the intensity, without overload, forces change, but without the risk of burnout. During the rest periods try to keep moving to avoid cramp.

Before you continue, please remember that you need to warm up.

If are are unsure about some of the terms used in this article, it’s worth having a quick read through our Glossary of Terms before you get started with your workout.

Hanging Knee Raises. Click for full exercise


Hanging Knee Raises

Grab a beam, fence, tree or climbing frame, anything strong enough to support your weight, and raise your knees up to your chest whilst hanging. Keep your feet off the floor to ensure the muscles are always engaged, this will be a good test of your grip strength too!

Target: 10 knee raises (within 40 seconds)

Tip: to make it harder, try not to touch the floor when returning your legs after your knee raise.

Cross Crunch. Click for full exercise


Cross Crunch

Lying on your back bring your opposite hand and foot together across your body. Start in an X position and lift your head and chest off the floor during the crunch.

Target: 20 crunches per leg (within 40 seconds)

Weighted Squats. Click for full exercise


Weighted Squats

For this you can hold anything, as long as it’s challenging you, whether it is a bag of sugar or your brother! If you don’t know what to use get a backpack and fill it with stuff, that’ll add some weight. This is another exercise to work your entire body at the same time.

Target: 10 weighted squats (within 40 seconds)

Tip: to make it harder, simply add more weight.

Russian Twist. Click for full exercise


Russian Twist

You can do this without any weight to start off with, sit with your back straight and feet slightly off the floor, twist your spine around with your arms out in front, if that’s too easy grab a bag of sugar and do it.

Target: 10 twists per side (within 40 seconds)

Tip: to make it harder, you can perform this with a weight, such as a medicine ball, kettlebell, dumbbell or similar.

Leg Lifts. Click for full exercise


Leg Lifts

This one looks really simple, but it’s deceiving. Works your lower abdominal muscles by using the weight of your legs against you. Simply lye on your back and hold both legs together approximately 15-20cm off the floor.

Target: hold for the full 40 seconds

Floor Mountain Climbers. Click for full exercise


Floor Mountain Climbers

This time we go to the floor, just moving your legs but we can really hit your lower abs now. Keep moving the feet backwards and forwards as quick as possible.

Target: 25 per leg (within 40 seconds)

Tip: to make this tougher, simply go quicker!

Plank. Click for full exercise



Again keeping plank in as it’s such a good exercise. If this is too easy by now change it for a Star Plank, put your hands and feet as wide as possible, try and hold that!

Target: hold for the full 40 seconds

Bottoms Up. Click for full exercise


Bottoms Up

Another new one, lie flat on your back, keep your legs straight and contract (like a leg raise) and then at the top push your bum off the ground, this one is another good one to really work the lower abs!

Target: 10 bottoms up (within 40 seconds)

Once that’s done rest a minute and then repeat, three or four times.

Before you finish, remember that you should spend time cooling down.

If your still longing for more core workouts the third and final part, advanced, will be here soon.


About Author

Olly is the Short Motivation fitness and training advisor. He is a level-3 PT instructor, specialising in TRX and kettlebell instruction, and manages his own gym in the United Kingdom.