Developing a strong functional core should be the goal of any serious athlete. Oftentimes people just want a ripped midsection simply for the aesthetic aspect of it but because just about every movement we make requires the muscles of the core some degree, focusing on this area of the body is extremely important for the overall functioning and health of your entire body. With the multitude of products on the market for working out the core it can be easy to forget that the only thing you need to strengthen this area of the body is, your body.

Using only your body weight to stretch and strengthen your core may not seem as exciting as getting hooked up to the latest exercise gadget that promises you a ripped six-pack in no time at all, but the results are often much more impressive. Simply grabbing a space on the floor and using your body weight for some specific exercises can give you all the core workout you'll ever need.

One of the simplest and most effective body weight exercises for the core is the basic crunch. Just grab an empty space on the floor and lie down to knock out a few sets of this powerfully effective abdominal workout. By utilizing slight variations while doing crunches, you can twist or position your upper body to be able to hit all aspects of your abdominal muscles.

Another effective body weight exercise for your core is planks. The basic plank requires you to support yourself using your forearms while keeping your back straight all the way down to your toes which are also used to support your body as you stabilize yourself and stay rigid, just like a plank. Holding a plank position for even as little as a minute can make even the most hardened body builder begin to shake uncontrollably. Stabilizing your core muscles and keeping your spine rigid while continuing to breathe throughout this exercise provides an incredibly intense core workout. Variations of planks exist so that there will always be something new to help train your core as you progress and become stronger.

Lying leg lifts or scissors are another popular core exercise. These help to target the area of the upper thighs as well as the abdominals helping to strengthen a larger section of your core. These muscles will help to support your body through all types of functional movements and will give you increased strength in just about every exercise you perform.
The core is not just about your abdominals of course so let's not forget body weight exercises for your lower back like back extensions. One simple way to hit this area of your core is to lay down flat on your stomach with your legs extended and your fingers behind your head. Then, simply raise your shoulders and chest you inches above the ground and hold for a few seconds. This simple movement will work wonders for strengthening your lower back also tying in your glutes along with hamstrings and again help to develop a much stronger core using only your body weight.

The examples above make up just a few of the multitude of exercises that you can do using only your body weight to stretch and strengthen your core muscles. Take some time to investigate some of the other ones out there that will complete theses few and make sure to add them into your regular core training regimen for a more complete core blast!

Author's Bio:, aka Emile Jarreau, is a 31 year veteran fitness professional and co-owner of in Long Beach, California. Also having 19 years of bodybuilding and figure coaching experience, he specializes in fat loss and all its aspects and freely shares online resources to the world.