12 Minute Calisthenics Core Workout For Beginners (At Home Routine)

12 minute calisthenics core workout for beginners. The top 10 core exercises without equipment also included. No pull up or dip bars needed. Enjoy.


12 Minute Calisthenics Core Workout For Beginners (HIIT)

With this 12 minute no equipment workout for beginners you will target your torso, burn extra calories, work on your cardio and build your abs. 

To complete this routine, you will have to perform a total of 5 calisthenics core exercises by working 30 seconds for each followed by 20 seconds of rest between.

A total of 3 rounds should be done. There are no big resting periods allowed which means that you will work and rest continuesly for 30/20 seconds during the whole workout. 

Here is your bodyweight core exercise list: 

1. Shoulder taps to knee and ankle taps. 

2. Cross body step to knee tap. 

3. 3 Way mountain climbers. 

4. Short side crawl to shoulder tap. 

5. Leg and arm raise (bird dog) 2 level plank. 

Why Core Strength Is So Important For The Fitness Beginner?

Why strengthening the core is important for the fitness beginners

Strengthening the core as a beginner is one of the mandatory things that you have to work on. The simple reason is that the core is responsible for multiple health and fitness aspects. Having stronger core will benefit to you by: 

1. Improving your strength in the limbs (arms and legs). 

2. Better balance, coordination and stability. 

3. Better posture and healthier spine. 

4. Improved breathing. 

5. Combine your calisthenics core workouts and exercises with good sleep and optimized diet if you want to get visible abs, smaller weist and better body composition. 

6. Overall you will feel better and improve your Fitness. 

The Top 10 Core Exercises Without Equipment (No Bars)

Top 10 Core Exercises Without Equipment (calisthenics)

The best or some of the best calisthenics core exercises (without pull up or dip bars) are:

1. Hollow body holds

2. Crawling variations 

3. Sit outs 

4. Mountain climbers

5. Stationary (Isometric) planks 

6. Dynamic planks

7. Body saw plank and foam roller plank 

8. L sit holds

9. Crunches with maximal ab muscle contraction

10. Roll outs

To put things simply, the core exercise list presented above will not include movements that will reqire a pull up bars or dip stations. This makes them highly convenient and practical so everyone can do these anywhere. 

Now let's look up closer to each of these 10 best calisthenics core exercise without equipment: 

1. Hollow Body Hold

top 10 core exercises without equipment - hollow body hold

The hollow body hold is a gymnastic core isometric exercise which requires a good amount of strength. It doesn't look fancy but if you do it the right way, the benefits will be many. 

Exercise Keypoint: low back must be always flat on the ground! If you are not following this, then you are not making this exercise as efficient as it should be.

You will find below 2 beginner hollow body exercises which any beginner can use in their core workouts. Also, you will find a video with the full body, hollow variation. In addition, to make this move as effective as possible, besides focusing on keeping your low back flat on the ground - make sure to create a maximal contraction in the abs. Imagine that someone will punch you in the abs! This way, you will recruit more ab muscles, hence your core workout will be a more productive one. 

Hollow Body Hold Beginner Variations 1 & 2

Full Hollow Body

Hollow Body Hold - Exemplary Beginner Core Workout: 

1. Set an interval timer app to 20/20 seconds of work/rest intervals. 

2. Pick 1 of the 3 hollow body hold variations (videos above). 

3. Perform a total of 10 sets by following 20/20 work/rest workout time frame. 

4. Perform this workout at least 2-3 times weekly for maximal results.

5. Modify the timer interval once you progress and get stronger core to 25/25, 30/30, 30/20, 30/15 etc. seconds of work/rest. 

2. Crawling 

top 10 core exercises without equipment - Crawling

Crawling is the most underrated bodyweight exercise. People are looking for fancy movements instead to focus on the basics, the foundations of our natural movement which crawling is. 

To put it simply, crawling will get you a stronger core and strengthen the whole body. Once you try one or a few variations, you will notice that crawling is not just an exercise for your core but for the whole body. And not just that, but due to the small angles and uncoventional position, the cardio and conditioning demand will be high which makes crawling an outstanding exercise for a whole body conditioning, weight loss and is great for including in your HIIT workouts

What are the benefits of crawling? 

1. Stronger core.

2. Stronger arms and legs.

3. Improved overall body's mobility.

4. Better cardio, conditioning and strength endurance.

5. Enhanced balance, coordination and reactions - your brain will teach itself how to move the limbs in a synchronized way so your torso can remain parallel to the ground or in the necessary position in order the movement to be done with the right technique and efficiency. 

6. Better posture.

7. You will become a better mover, get better control over your body and definitely feel more confident. Moving and crawling like different animals is an astonishing way to improve your fitness while moving and exploring your body in different - new ways. 

8. Fat burner - the normal nature of the crawling exercise is to be smooth, synchronised and well balanced. However, if you stack the crawling into a circuit or HIIT workout, then you can absolutely benefit by making it a HIIT exercise. Hence, such crawl sessions will help you burn lots of calories and will help you to shape your body faster because once you progress, you will start increasing the applied TUT (Time Under Tension) or to work for longer sets and that will lead to more muscle build and less fats in the body (if you eat normal and sleep well). 

Leopard Crawl 

Crab Crawl 

Side to Side Crawl 

Circle Bear Crawl

Circle Crab Crawl

Exemplary Beginner Core & Crawling Workout

1. Pick 2 crawling variations from the 5 presented above. 

2. You will have to perform these 2 in an alternating fashion (one after each other) while following 20/20 seconds of work/rest protocol. 

3. To complete this workout, you have to finish 20 total rounds (10 for each craw variation). 

4. You can use this session as a stand alone or include at the end of your resistance workouts or weight routines at the gym as a conditioning finisher. This will also accelerate your weight loss.  

 3. Sit Outs

top 10 core exercises without equipment - sit outs

Sit out is a great oblique, cardio, stability and hip + shoulder mobility core exercise. It's dynamic nature makes it a great addition to any HIIT routine. 

This move can be seen in the videos of many coaches that have specialized in bodyweight training and animal flows as well.  

Below you will find 2 sit out variations. First one is the basic and the second one has additional jump that will spice thing a bit.

If you like the russian twists, for your obliques, then this move will level up your core strength. The difference between the bodyweight russian twist and the sit out is that with the second one, you will engage way more muscles in the whole body which makes it a core HIIT exercise that will improve not just your core strength but cardio work as well. 

Sit Out

Jump Through Sit Out

4. Mountain Climber Variations

top 10 core exercises without equipment - mountain climbers

We all know the regular mountain climbers. But a few extra variations will be a good addition to your core training. The mountain climber is a highly cardiovascular exercise. In most cases, you will get fatigued early so spreading wisely your strength for the full interval or set is from high importance. 

The climbers will target your core in different angles (thanks to these variations below) which will result in more stress applied on the core muscles. This is what you should be aiming for - contraction of the abs and core muscles.

The mountain climber is another bodyweight core exercise that you will frequently see on the fitness YouTube channels. 

Find below 5 climber variations and after that, I will outline a great core and HIIT workout that will consist only with climber variations.  

Regular Mountain Climbers

Slow Mountain Climbers

Cross Body Mountain Climbers

Around The World Climbers

Sliding Mountain Climbers

Exemplary Mountain Climber Core & HIIT Workout You Can Try At Home

1. Pick 3 exercises at your choice from the 5 videos above. 

2. Here you will not use a timer. Instead, you will work for repetitions and a total workout volume. Here is how this goes: 

- Mountan climber variation 1 - 50 repetitions 

- 10 seconds rest 

- Mountain climber variation 2 - 50 repetitions 

- 10 seconds rest 

- Mountain climber variation 3 - 50 repetitions

Now you have performed one round. Rest for 2 minutes and repeat this for 4-6 times (rounds). 

5. Isometric Planks

top 10 core exercises without equipment - isometric one arm plank

The isometric or stationary plank is famous and good core strengthening exercise. In the category of isometric planks we will also include: 

1. High planks (stationary push up position hold). 

2. Low planks or regular planks. 

3. Side planks. 

4. One arm high plank

5. One arm low plank

6. All variations above can be performed with elevated feet (on a bench, chair, bed or sofa). This way, the intensity will increase and respectfully the exercises will be thougher. 

7. Weighted vest - this is a bit more fitness advanced approach, but adding weighted vest to your calisthenics core workouts is a really effective way to enhance the intensity of your sessions and get stronger. Much stronger.

6. Dynamic Planks

top 10 core exercises without equipment - dynamic planks

The dynamic planks are the modified plank variations which will absolutely change your core workouts to the next level. There is a point where you will stop feeling the regular and isometric planks in the right way (unless you use the one arm or more advanced variations), and this is where the dynamic planks take place. 

Another great thing is that with dynamic planks, you will have to work in more high intensity state compared to the isometric options. Hence, you will burn extra calories which is always a good thing. Also, if you get bored with normal planking, this is a great alternative to change your workouts and get this motivation back. 

Find below 10 dynamic plank variations that you can instantly try at home or anywhere you like. 

Exemplary Dynamic Plank Core Workout

First review the video above.Once done, this is how to proceed: 

1. Pick 3 dynamic plank exercises from the video. 

2. Set the interval timer app to 30/20 seconds of work/rest. 

3. Perform each plank variation after another. So this is a mini circuit plank workout. 

4. Once you move through the 3 planks, 1 round is completed. The total workout volume is to finish 6-8 rounds. 

5. Make sure to rest for 60-90 seconds between each round in order to recover your core muscles and so to have a good performance in the upcoming round.  

7. Body Saw Plank and Foam Roller Plank

These 2 plank variations has their own ranking status as these are highly challenging and brutally effective movements for your core strength. 

For the body saw plank you will only need a pair of towels and a sliding surface such as wooden floor or tiles. Basically any slippery surface that will allow two towels to slide will work for you. 

The body saw plank is similar (somehow) to the ab wheel rollout but here you will push away your whole body backwards and then turn it back. The difference with the ab wheel rollout exercise is that the arms, shoulder and whole upper body strength with the body saw plank will not be such limiting factor which makes the saw variation way more smart addition to the beginner workout plans. 

The foam roller plank is another beast. You will notice that only holding a regular plank on a foam roller is challenging. But when you start rolling forward and backward the roller, this is where the magic happens and your core gets a serious tension. 

The Body Saw Plank

The Foam Roller Plank

8. L Sit Holds

The L sit holds like the hollow body hold is a bodyweight core exercise that is used by the Gymnasts. And there is a reason for that. The L sit hold is not just core exercise but will also require some level of arm strength, shoulder stability and hip flexor mobility. You can find below 2 helpful videos that will show you how to progress with your L sit holds from beginner to the more advanced variations. 

The best thing about the L sit is that you can practically do it anywhere. On the ground, on chairs at home, and if you have access to a dip station or gymnastic rings, you can use these as well. But before you jump to the rings or dip station L sit holds, you can try first to progress on the ground and then scale the intensity once you progress with your core strength. 

9. Swiss Ball Crunch or Regular Crunch (With Maximal Contraction)

The only thing that you should be focused on when building your abs is your muscle contraction or what effort and angle you are going to use in order to recruit as many ab muscle fibers as possible. 

It is not about the exercise, it is about the muscle recruitment and the right ab exercise techhnique. Check out the following 2 videos by the legendary coach Christian Thibaudeau.

10. Ab Wheel Rollouts

Roll out is a very popular ab and core exercise. You will only need an ab wheel which you can find for a few bucks in any fitness shop. This article is for core exercises without equipment. However, the ab wheel is just a few bucks and worth the investment as this training tool will serve you well for years ahead. 

But before start doing your ab wheel rollouts, it is absolutely mandatory to watch the video below where the fitness legend coach Jeff Cavaliere will show you the proper and ONLY ab wheel rollout technique that you must use in order to target your core as efficiently as possible while sparing and minimizing the risks for your lower back (which is a frequent mistake that many people do). 


Strengthening the torso with core training is mandatory for every fitness beginner. The reason is that a stronger core will help you in numerous ways such as: more strength in your arms and legs, better posture, breathing, balance, coordination and generally, you will feel better. 

Today we have reviewed the top 10 core exercises without equipment. You have multiple core workouts to choose from. Make sure to review in detail all videos, descriptions and of course - the FREE beginner core workouts that I have given you below a few of these 10 core exercises.

How do you train your core? Comment below. 

Thanks for being here. 

To your FIT-ter self, 


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